A handful of innovative small distilleries are making handcrafted, locally distilled spirits available for the first time since prohibition. The heart of this movement lies in an inconspicuous neighborhood of small warehouses and light industrial buildings in Southeast Portland, known as the Lower East Side Industrial District where eight independent distilleries have begun producing over 80 unique spirits. They make everything from vodkas and gins, rums and whiskeys, to more specialized spirits such as absinthe, aquavit, and flavored liqueurs.
Portlanders are witnessing these pioneering distillers as they put the city and state into the national spotlight, just as Oregon winemakers defined the Willamette Valley as a world-class wine region in the late 1970’s, and the small breweries of the 1980’s put Portland at the forefront of the craft brewing movement. No longer must we turn to the handful of multi-national giants that currently dominate the liquor industry for premium spirits. We now have truly local, handcrafted, small-batch alternatives.