4 Spirits Distillery has come a long way since owner Dawson Officer set up shop in a former Air Force installation in Adair Village back in 2011.
He started out making small batches of a single product, vodka, marketed under two different labels designed to appeal to lovers of college sports: SlapTail, aimed at fans of the Oregon State Beavers, and WebFoot, for backers of the Oregon Ducks.
In 2012 he introduced what has become the distillery’s signature product, 4 Spirits Bourbon Whiskey, intended as a tribute to four fallen comrades from Officer’s 2004 deployment to Iraq with the Oregon Army National Guard.
Since then he’s further expanded the product lineup with an American whiskey, a single-malt and four kinds of rum: silver, dark, spiced and a unique concoction infused with habanero peppers.
“Our rum collection, that’s probably what’s getting the most momentum right now,” he said.
Distribution has expanded to six states: Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Michigan.
And now Officer is working on expanding his production capacity with a new facility at 3405 SW Deschutes Ave., next door to the Block 15 brewery and taproom in the Corvallis Business Park, just north of the municipal airport.
At 6,000 square feet, the new space is more than four times the size of the original 4 Spirits Distillery in Adair Village.
“We’re going to be able to double our production,” Officer said.
He plans to add a new still and expand the product line yet again with the introduction of 4 Spirits’ first gin, some seasonal liqueurs and possibly a hard soda.
The new location will also give 4 Spirits a much larger public presence, including a tasting room with seating for up to 49 people, a large outdoor patio with views of Marys Peak and a small kitchen serving sandwiches, salads, pizza and desserts.
Construction on the $575,000 project started in August and is set to wrap up this spring, most likely in April or May. Officer’s brother, Jesse, is the general contractor on the job, and his parents and sister are both pitching in to help with the effort as well.
“I couldn’t do this without my family,” he said.
While not quite as isolated as the Adair Village site, the new location is a bit off the beaten track as well. Officer hopes having Block 15 for a neighbor will help create some synergy that will inspire customers to make the trek.
“When we bought this land, it was a gamble to think what the future holds because there’s nothing here,” he said.
“But people, I think, are looking for something that’s not downtown,” he added. “It’s just a different type of atmosphere.”
Adding a tasting room and kitchen is a bit of a gamble as well, but Officer is betting it will help 4 Spirits connect with customers and build its brand.
“There’s more distilleries popping up every day,” he said. “So what do you have to do? You diversify, do different things to survive.”