PORTLAND, Oregon — Eastside Distilling, a consumer-focused beverage company, today announced its partnership with American Forests, the nation’s oldest conservation organization, to help protect and restore the Oregon white oak (Quercus Garryana) habitat in the Willamette Valley. Eastside and American Forests will plant 5,000 oak trees in the Willamette Valley to help protect and restore the threatened oak territory in the Pacific NW. Eastside uses barrels made from the Valley’s fallen oak trees to age its Burnside Whiskeys, imparting a profound effect on its unique flavor profile.
Oregon white oaks found in the Willamette Valley are one of the most imperiled ecosystems in the United States. Today, 95% of the white oaks are gone, compared to 150 years ago, due to land conversion, changes in land management and population growth, leaving little space for oak habitats. Given that there are no regulatory policies to save Oregon oaks, a voluntary conservation initiative, called the Oak Accord, was started by private landowners who own most of the remaining oak woodlands to protect and restore Willamette Valley’s fragile oak habitat. “There is a growing movement in the northwest to protect what oak we have left, but restoring oak through planting and natural regeneration is also a key part of bringing this species back,” said Brian Kittler, Senior Director of Forest Restoration at American Forests.
“Oregon white oak trees have been an important part of the sustainability, values, and aesthetics of the state for hundreds of years and we are committed to helping Oregonians protect existing trees while growing the next generation of oaks,” said Janet Oak, Chief Brand Officer.
According to Jason Ericson, Eastside’s Head Distiller, “Oregon oak imparts a deep vanilla and clove flavor that American white oak can’t match. Quercus Garryana has high tannin levels requiring a minimum three-year seasoning period to ensure the bitter and astringent qualities of tannins don’t over-influence our whiskey. The longer the staves are seasoned, the more the tannins break down, creating a darker, sweeter and fruitier flavor than whiskey aged in American oak barrels.”
In addition to planting 5,000 Oregon white oak trees in Willamette Valley, Eastside Distilling will also run an in-store promotion where an Oregon white oak tree will be planted for every bottle of Burnside whiskey purchased.
About Eastside Distilling
Eastside Distilling, Inc. (NASDAQ: EAST) has been producing high-quality, award-winning craft spirits in Portland, Oregon since 2008. The company’s distinguished product lineup includes its newly released Eastside limited-edition spirits portfolio, Azuñia Tequilas®, Burnside Whiskeys®, Hue-Hue Coffee Rum®, and Portland Potato Vodkas®. Eastside is widely recognized for its expertise in blending, aging, and finishing distillates hand-selected from the finest spirit producers worldwide and using locally grown ingredients and pure Oregon water for superior taste and quality. For more information, visit www.eastsidedistilling.com, or follow the company on Instagram and Facebook.
About American Forests
American Forests is the oldest national conservation organization in the country. The organization has more than 1,000 forest restoration projects in every state in the nation, planted nearly 65 million trees, and helped expand tree canopy in dozens of major cities and urban areas. Today, American Forests continues to be a leading advocate for forest conservation in the United States, and believes trees are a solution to two major current crises: climate change and social inequity.