Tom Burkleaux: New Deal Distillery

Spirits as a Journey without a Map: Rediscovering Craft without Guidance, Musing of a Cranky Distiller

Website: New Deal Distillery

What does it means to discover a lost craft? Does it matter how we do things, or just the result?

A question answered in three parts:
1. What is an artisanal company? 
2. Learning a new craft in the wilderness
3. Working with spirits

Tom Burkleaux became interested in spirits as a consumer in the 1990's, when it was simply the 90's, not yet a dream. In 2001, he wondered why couldn't spirits be made here? In an attempt to answer this question, and driven by the joy of making things, he started New Deal Distillery. Licensed in 2004, New Deal was an early pioneer in craft distilling. It wasn't until 2007, that other distilleries began to appear and help create what is now South East Portland's Distillery Row. Now, in the last few years, the rest of the world has taken notice of Oregon as a center of artisan, small-batch spirits. Beside being a distiller, he's been a few other things including student, machinist, postal worker, cook, soldier, ship yard worker, academic, barista, and programmer.