The Legacy of Meemaw Freeland
Meemaw Freeland (That’s what they call grandmas in Texas) was founder Jill Kuehler’s grandmother and the inspiration behind Freeland Spirits. A fiercely independent woman, Meemaw didn’t care much for limits—or shortcuts. Ironically, she didn’t care much for booze either.
Meemaw’s Words of Wisdom
1. All good things come from scratch.
Meemaw Freeland figured that if you’re going to do a thing, you might as well take the time to do it right.
We couldn’t agree more. Our process doesn’t start in the distillery—it starts in the farms and forests of Oregon, where we source the freshest ingredients nature has to offer.
Just as Meemaw loved preserving the harvest from her abundant garden each season, we do the same with our spirits, capturing the essence of each botanical when it’s at its peak of flavor.
2. Women can do—and be—any damn thing they want.
Yeah, craft distilling is a male-dominated industry. But we’re not about to let that stop us.
As one of the very few women-owned and run distilleries in history, we’re kicking ass and taking names one bottle at a time.
Bucking tradition clearly runs in the family—back when women weren’t supposed to be the primary breadwinner, Meemaw built a thriving career. By staking our claim in a male-dominated industry, we’re just following her lead.
Thanks to founder Jill Kuehler, Meemaw’s Commitment to Craft Lives On.
You might be wondering: how did the granddaughter of a teetotaler come to name a distillery after her? It all comes back to their shared love of the land. In fact, Jill’s favorite childhood memories were running wild in Meemaw’s garden, playing in the dirt and helping her shell peas on the porch.
That’s when agriculture first became her passion—in the years that followed, Jill helped plant community gardens in Guatemala, worked on a farm in Port Angeles, then moved to Portland to run a nonprofit farm. It was fulfilling work, but Jill was eager to build something of her own. Something that connected to agriculture—and her love of whiskey. (See where we’re going with this?)
One fateful evening in 2016, Jill was throwing back whiskey with her good friend Cory Carman, who raises grass-fed beef in Eastern Oregon. When Jill shared her dream of starting a distillery, her friend confided that she’d always wanted to produce grain on the ranch. If you make it, I’ll grow it, Cory said. And with that, Freeland Spirits was born.
Today, Jill continues to honor her grandmother’s memory by incorporating Oregon’s rich bounty of grains and produce into our handcrafted spirits. And just like Meemaw, she continues to blaze her own trail.
MEET MOLLY AND JILL
Learn more about the inspiring women who dared to dream big and make Freeland Spirits a reality.
Crafted, Grown and Sourced by Our Team of Northwest Women.
From the gals who grow the grain to those who run the still, our entire supply chain is dedicated to women of the craft.
Freeland Spirits Diversity Statement
At Freeland Spirits, we welcome all by recognizing that diversity through lived experience and perspective not only generates the most impactful ideas, it also deepens our connection to our community both inside and outside of our tasting room and distillery walls. Through our passion to make a positive difference, we strive to celebrate a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion by:
1) Supporting the Freeland team through recruitment, onboarding and development led with values of DEI.
2) Supporting the community beyond our walls by listening and learning in order to make an intentional impact.