BRIEFLY: Joseph’s Stein Distillery wins double gold for whiskey blend

By Observer staff April 02, 2014 07:24 am

Joseph’s Stein Distillery wins double gold for whiskey blend

A local business won recognition this spring, raising its profile internationally.

Stein Distillery of Joseph distinguished itself with its Big Buck Blend, winning double gold for its two year-old whiskey at the World Whiskey awards. The competition is sponsored by Whiskey Magazine, said General Manager Dan Stein. The magazine is out of Norwich, England.

Big Buck, said Stein, is a made from Wallowa County rye and barley and blended with Hermiston corn. Already well known for their rye and bourbon, Stein said the blend is “smoother than both.”

The distillery has only been open for three years, but already gained attention nationally last year with its rye whiskey and raspberry and huckleberry cordials winning bronze medals at the Washington Cup held in Washington, D.C.

Heather and Austin Stein, the owners of the distillery, raised the bar this year and released their newest concoction on the international stage.

Big Buck Blend can be purchased at Stein Distillery’s tasting room in downtown Joseph or at most Oregon state liquor stores. Steins is also available in Washington, California, Montana and Georgia.

From the early days of vodka and cordial production, Stein has expanded to offering both light and dark rum and makes an all-wheat whiskey under the Hamley’s label for the famous Pendleton restaurant. 

Tree School East unfolds at Baker High School April 26

Tree School East is coming April 26 to the Baker High School campus. This OSU Extension Service mini-college is offering 24 classes on a wide variety of topics. The daylong event will offer classroom and field sessions taught by OSU Extension educators, professional land managers, attorneys and other specialists. Classes will vary in length from one hour and 20 minutes to three hours and one can participate in up to four classes over the course of the day. 

Classes will cover a wide range of forestry topics, such as:

• What do you want your forest to look like when it grows up

•Construction and maintenance of ponds

• Reforestation basics

• Using Google Earth to explore one’s property

• Wolves in the Blue Mountains

• Geology of Northeast Oregon

• Chainsaw maintenance and operation

• Water, timber and easements

• Understanding and protecting property rights

For a brochure and registration information, contact the OSU Extension Office in La Grande (541-963-1010) or Baker City (541-523-6418) or visit the website

 Registration deadline is April 11. The registration fee is $50 per person or $20 per youth (18 and younger) when attending with an adult family member.

Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative announces online outage map

 Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative is offering a near real time outage information with its new outage map. The interactive map is available on OTEC’s website ( and is also accessible on smart phones and tablets. It displays both individual outages and outage summary information by county. The map provides users with details about outages including number of members affected, and during business hours, the estimated restoration time. The map shows the location of the outage, not the homes and businesses directly affected by the outage. 

If members experience a power outage they should report it by calling 1-866-430-4265.