CS&D Podcast Episode 8: Clear Creek Master Distiller Caitlin Bartlemay Thrives on the Challenges of Fruit Brandy and American Single Malt

Distilling fruit brandies from whole fruit is a technical and logistical challenge, but for Caitlin Bartlemay, it’s nowhere near as difficult as educating consumers about the process, ingredients, and history of this storied spirit.

Molly Troupe Jun 11, 2024 - 3 min read

CS&D Podcast Episode 8: Clear Creek Master Distiller Caitlin Bartlemay Thrives on the Challenges of Fruit Brandy and American Single Malt Primary Image

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Fourteen years into her career at Clear Creek in Hood River, Oregon, Caitlin Bartlemay recently became master distiller at the respected craft producer. There, she continues to lead a small, hands-on team through seasons of distilling an array of whole-fruit brandies as well as McCarthy’s Oregon Single Malt—the first American craft single-malt whiskey.

In this week’s episode, Bartlemay joins host Molly Troupe for a wide-ranging discussion that includes:

  • managing public expectations around the master distiller role
  • the impact of Prohibition on smaller family-run distilleries
  • the significant challenge in making great fruit brandies
  • managing the logistics of whole-fruit fermentations
  • the impact of tank time and cask residence on various brandies
  • mash consistency’s effects on fermentation and distillation
  • distilling American single-malt on a single-pass hybrid brandy still
  • aging spirits in Oregon oak casks

And more.

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With a Bachelor degree in Chemistry (with an emphasis in forensics) and a Master degree in Brewing and Distilling from the legendary Heriot Watt University, Molly Troupe uses her education and experience to create products focused on localized ingredients and masterful flavor combinations. As Master Distiller and Partner at Freeland Spirits in Portland, Oregon, she has released six different products ranging from gin to whiskey to canned cocktails.