Born in the Great Northwest, Pendleton®’s story is of a town, a rodeo, and a whisky whose popularity has grown far beyond its territory of origin. It’s a legend handed down through generations – a community united in celebrating western traditions – a heritage that inspires us to live boldly, drink well, and savor the moment.
This is the Pendleton® Whisky story:
Once a stop along the Oregon Trail and home to western pioneers, the northwest town can trace its roots back to the mid-1800s.
A European-American commercial center emerged on the land when a trading post was built near the Umatilla River. The area continued its transformation with the construction of a post office and courthouse in 1868, and in 1880, the city was named Pendleton – after George H. Pendleton, an 1864 Vice Presidential candidate whose ticket was defeated by Abraham Lincoln.
By the early 1900’s the city was notorious for attracting the wildest of the region, even a few outlaws, earning the nickname, ‘The Real West’. Thanks to the construction of the Oregon Railway, the city would become one of the principal wool-shipping centers in the Northwest for companies like Pendleton® Woolen Mills. But Pendleton’s claim to fame would take shape in a different arena – a quintessential western event that breathed new life into the city.
The Pendleton Round-Up is one of North America’s largest rodeos, held at the city’s Round-Up Arena, attracting 50,000 people every September.
In 1910, the rodeo began as an exhibition of traditional frontier culture, showcasing rituals and competitions like bareback bronc riding, steer wrestling, calf roping, horse racing, and bull riding. The founders of the rodeo were some of Pendleton’s leading young professionals, who wanted to put the city on the map and celebrate its western roots.
The Pendleton Round-Up is a member of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and the ProRodeo Hall of Fame – but most importantly, it’s the inspiration for our classic whisky.
Established in 2003 to celebrate the spirit of American cowboys & cowgirls, and honor the Pendleton Round-Up, Pendleton® Whisky was born in the Pacific Northwest and is steeped in True Western Tradition. Quickly gaining traction in the region, our whisky has broadened its reach across the US over the last two decades.
Pendleton® Whisky is crafted to achieve a premium taste and aroma profile that can be found throughout our collection. Starting with precise barrel-aging in hearty American Oak and finishing with glacier-fed waters from Mt. Hood, whisky enthusiasts can savor the easy drinking style that cowboys have loved for years.
Our portfolio features a collection of four unique types of whisky: Pendleton® Whisky Original, Pendleton® Whisky Midnight, Pendleton® Whisky 1910 Rye, Pendleton® Whisky Directors’ Reserve, and you can enjoy our original expression while supporting our armed forces with a Pendleton® Whisky Military Edition bottle.
You may be asking yourself: ‘why whisky vs. whiskey?’. Technically, there’s no wrong way to spell it, but depending on where the whisky is from, the spelling will change. Because Pendleton® Whisky has some distilling roots in Canada, we derived our spelling from our neighbors to the north.
Pendleton® Whisky is a modern celebration of a century old tradition with a flavor as rich as the culture that inspired it. Today, our whisky carries with its name a call to live life to its fullest – savoring adventure, camaraderie, and the moments we keep as memories.
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