Just as you can go to a brewery or an urban winery in Portland, Oregon, you can tour distillery tasting rooms where Portland’s spirits are made. A majority of the distilleries are located in inner Southeast, where distilleries first started popping up in the early 2000s. Many of the distilleries in SE Portland can be reached on foot and producers in this area have joined forces for events and marketing efforts as Distillery Row.
Northwest Portland, also referred to as the NW Distiller’s District, has three distilleries producing gin, brandy, whiskey, aged vodka, and more. While downtown and North are the outliers with just one distillery in each “quadrant,” you’ll still want to make a pit stop for mini craft cocktails and tasters. Some distilleries even give tours and offer whiskey making classes. Check out the best distillery tasting Portland has to offer.
BULL RUN DISTILLING COMPANY
This Northwest Portland-based company makes distinctive, regional-style whiskey, vodka, rum, and aquavit. Bull Run wants to be known as more than a distillery, though; its distillers regard themselves as culinary adventurers, always thinking about how food and drink can be paired, and how Bull Run’s spirits can hold up in any dining situation.
259 NW Quimby Street, (503) 224-3483, www.bullrundistillery.com
Wednesday – Sunday, 12 noon – 6 pm
CLEAR CREEK DISTILLERY
Clear Creek Distillery is the granddaddy maker of fruit-based liqueurs in Portland. It has been making eau de vie, grappa, fruit liqueurs, and whiskey since 1985. If you’re into food and drink, you better get to know Clear Creek. The fruity but not too sweet liqueurs and brandies are perfect for sipping, and even better mixed in cocktails. Tip: Don’t forget to try the pear brandy liqueur.
2389 NW Wilson Street, (503) 248-9470, www.clearcreekdistillery.com
Monday – Friday, 12 noon – 6 pm; Saturday, 10 am – 6 pm; Sunday, 12 noon – 6 pm
MARTIN RYAN DISTILLING COMPANY (ARIA GIN)
It’s all they do, and they do it well: dry gin. The Aria tasting room may be new to the scene, but the purveyors at Martin Ryan Distilling have been making spirits in Portland as far back as 2007. Don’t like gin? Make an exception and give the Aria Portland Dry Gin a try—you won’t be sorry. When a non-gin drinker falls hard for Aria, it’s the distillers’ most rewarding moment.
2304 NW Savier Street, www.ariagin.com
Wednesday – Sunday, 12 noon – 6 pm
Lenny Gotter, the founder and director of Eastside, has witnessed the Southeast Portland industrial area change dramatically since 1991. The SE 7th Avenue location was the distillery’s original location before it moved distilling operations to 1805 SE Martin Luther King Boulevard. You won’t be able to see where the science of booze happens in the tasting room-only spot now, but you can still content yourself with Eastside’s tasters and mini-cocktails at the bar. Try the Eastside Mule, a cocktail made with Below Deck Ginger Rum, Reed’s Ginger Beer, club soda, and lime. If you do get a chance, book a tour at the distillery to see where your bourbon was born.
1512 SE 7th Avenue, (503) 926-7060, www.eastsidedistilling.com
Monday – Sunday, 12 noon – 8 pm
HOUSE SPIRITS DISTILLERY
Founded in 2005, House Spirits is one of the older distilleries in town and has been a forerunner in gin and aquavit production, putting Portland on the map (and in magazines like Bon Appétit) for years with its products. Try award-winning, batch-distilled, and widely distributed spirits in House Spirits’s upscale tasting room located in the Central Eastside Industrial District of Portland, one of the grittier industrial parts of the city.
65 SE Washington Street, (503) 235-3174, www.housespirits.com
Daily, 12 noon – 6 pm
NEW DEAL DISTILLERY
Back when New Deal started in 2004, there were only ten small-batch distilleries in America. Considering how small the craft spirits market was, founders Tom Burkleaux and Matthew
VanWinkle began with a simple business plan: sell one bottle of vodka off a liquor store shelf to a stranger. Today, New Deal
boasts a solid portfolio of vodka spirits, craft cocktails, and bar supplies in its large and accommodating space. If there’s a limited release Distiller’s Workshop Series bottle available, be sure to check out that particular one-off; it’s one of the best things about New Deal.
900 SE Salmon Street, (503) 234-2513, www.newdealdistillery.com
Wednesday – Sunday, 12 noon – 6 pm
ROLLING RIVER SPIRITS
It’s a family affair at Rolling River Spirits, where the father, mother, son, and daughter-operated distillery produces some of Portland’s best craft spirits. Using water from the Bull Run Watershed (located twenty-six miles from downtown Portland in the Sandy River basin near Mt. Hood National Forest), Rolling River creates ten-times distilled vodka, gin, aquavit, and liqueur. The bar resembles a Viking ship rolling down a river; the “Admiral of Distilling” Tim Rickard built it by hand.
1215 SE 8th Avenue, Suite H, (503) 236-3912, www.rollingriverspirits.com
Friday – Sunday, 12 noon – 5 pm
STONE BARN BRANDYWORKS
While Stone Barn Brandyworks may be known for its regional and seasonal fruit brandies and brandy-based liqueurs, the team keeps distilling year-round with its rye whiskey. The rye whiskey is the perfect starter for a day of beer tastings within reach of the distillery tasting room in Inner Southeast Portland.
3315 SE 19th Avenue, Suite B, (503) 341-2227, www.stonebarnbrandyworks.com
Friday – Monday, 12 noon – 6 pm; Tuesday – Thursday, by appointment only
THOMAS & SONS DISTILLERY
Thomas & Sons Distillery is run by the same people who created Townshend’s Tea and Brew Dr. Kombucha. All three brands give Portlanders excellent tea-based beverages. The tasting room for Thomas & Sons Distillery is located inside the main area for distilling and bottling operations, sharing space with the tea distributor’s other brand, Brew Dr. Kombucha. The liqueurs offered in this hidden, stylish, speakeasy-style tasting room are robust and flavorful. Thomas & Sons will give you a taste of unique flavors not found anywhere else with offerings like Smoke Tea, Bluebird Alpine Liqueur, and Townshend’s White Rose. After your tasting, your tour can move toward Inner Southeast Portland for more Distillery Row distilleries or breweries in the area.
4211 SE Milwaukie Avenue, (503) 477-6137, www.thomasandsonsdistillery.com
Thursday – Friday, 4 pm – 7 pm; Saturday – Sunday, 2 pm – 7 pm
At Vinn you can try baijiu (pronounced BYE-joe), which roughly translates to “white liquor”—though its other monikers of “Fire Water” and “White Devil” are more accurate. This higher proof alcohol (40 ABV) is produced from rice and sorghum and is traditionally aged in terra-cotta barrels. While baijiu is as old as Eastern civilization itself, the liquor is regarded as the most widely imbibed spirit around today. In particular, Vinn’s baijiu makes the history books as the only maker of the rice spirit in the U.S. Sip Vinn Baijiu along with all the distillery’s other spirits, including its rice-based vodka and whiskey.
222 SE 8th Avenue, (503) 807-3826, www.vinndistillery.com
Thursday – Friday, 1 pm – 4 pm; Saturday, 12 noon – 5 pm; Sunday,
1 pm – 5 pm
INDUSTRIAL ROW DISTILLERY (DYSTOPIA VODKA)
Tucked back off of Interstate Avenue, Industrial Row Distillery is the only operating distillery in North Portland. It’s also conveniently located, just off of the MAX Yellow Line. Try Industrial Row’s Dystopia Vodka in its intriguing artsy-meets-classy tasting room.
645 N Tillamook Street, #3, (503) 893-4730, www.irdistillery.com
Saturday, 1 pm – 5 pm
WILD ROOTS VODKA
From its Inner Northeast Portland tasting room, try five-times distilled and filtered grain-based vodka infused with over a pound of all-natural Northwest-grown fruit. Mini cocktails are available, and you can purchase a bottle for the road. Note: Wild Roots Vodka is a member of Distillery Row, located on the other side of Burnside from the other distilleries in SE Portland.
135 NE 6th Avenue, (971) 254-4617, www.wildrootsvodka.com
Thursday – Sunday, 12 noon – 5 pm
Indio Spirits has been distilling vodkas, rums and speciality spirits in Portland since 2004. Spirits production has been in located in Tigard for much of that time until the distillery opened a tasting room in downtown Portland. Unique spirits include Red Island Finger Lime Rum, Barrel Room Curacao Liqueur, Indio Hopka Liqueur, and more.
1111 SW Alder Street, (503) 620-0313, www.indiospirits.com
Wednesday – Saturday: 12-8 pm, Sunday: 12-4 pm
Want to learn even more about distilleries and Oregon-made spirits? “High-Proof PDX” will be available for pre-order this summer!