Meet Your Maker
Cornelius Pass Distillery
Bart Hance is Head Distiller in charge of operating the magnificent Alembic Still at the Cornelius Pass Roadhouse. He started as a brewer in 1989. During his 24-year career with McMenamins, his journey has included roles as a brewer, brewery manager, bartender and distiller, in more than 15 different locations in the company. A man always willing to share a story, Bart is a well-known personality amongst many McMenamins customers.
Before he joined our ranks, he spent his youth building custom picture frames at his family's business. Then after a stint in the navy, he had a few electronic production jobs before his roommate at the time tried one of Bart's homebrews and suggested he join McMenamins.
Bart finds inspiration in every aspect of life. Good food, good music, and adventuring through wilderness have all played the role of muse in his career. He is an avid camper and scavenger, taking annual trips to the Redwoods. If he is not out in the wild, he is working on his old Harley Davidson Shovelhead. Being a lover of all music, you may have seen him at any show within 200 miles. His fondness of music helped create the memory of his first McMenamins experience. After a suggestion from Fred Eckardt at his homebrew shop, Bart went to find the Hillsdale Pub and Brewery. He walked into a scene that could have been out of his dreams. Grateful Dead playing on the speakers, a few patrons at the bar, an intense game of broom hockey being played in front of the bar, conversations filled with motorcycles, beer and music; Bart Hance had found his beervana.
Everything started for Bart with his love of beer. His time with the navy had opened his mind to a variety of styles. When he got out, he couldn't afford to buy beer, so he made it himself. The magic and science of brewing led him to the next level of wonder--distilling. He is excited for his release of Gable's Gin, a formula that took a year to create. He spent a lot of time on the research and development of the flavorful botanicals that create its flavor. Bart suggests reading every book, learning all the science and tasting everything you can. Once you've done that, throw it all way and use the knowledge you have gained, apply it to your situation and draw your own conclusions. Instructional books don't use the same yeast nor do they have the same equipment as you do.
He also emphasizes back safety, as it was a cause of an early end to his brewing career. He was once told, "Gravity can be your friend or your worst enemy. Use it to your advantage whenever possible. Gravity will never let you down."
Did you know we have another distillery? Visit the Edgefield Distillery, our first in the company, founded in 1998.