Image: David Emmite

Tom Burkleaux of New Deal

New Deal Distillery

The distillers Business partners Tom Burkleaux and Matthew VanWinkle have been making quality hooch since 2003; they were the first vodka distillers in Portland.

The place The free Saturday distillery tour is where it’s at, and not just because you get to sample all the New Deal stock. When Burkleaux gets excited (which is often), he’s liable to dig through his unmarked boxes of unreleased stash: a hyperdistilled brew he calls beer schnapps, or an ungodly shot combination called the “mole”—as in the spicy Mexican sauce. You can buy vodkas and Loft Organic Liqueurs there, too. The distillery hosts tastings every Friday at local liquor stores and lists each event on its website. For group tours, call the distillery.

The philosophy Like it says on the bottle: “Made by local folks for local folks. Of course, eventually we plan to rule the world.”
The future A chocolate-flavored vodka called Mud Puddle. 1311 SE Ninth Ave; Sat 12:30–5 p.m.; 503-234-2513; newdealdistillery.com BWB

Rogue Spirits

The distillers Looking to expand on the success of his award-winning ales, Jack Joyce, who cofounded Rogue’s Newport-based brewery in 1989, decided to install rum stills above the bar at Rogue’s Pearl District outpost in 2003. Nicknamed “Tin Man” and “Hank,” the fifty- and ninety-gallon stills were the first rum stills in the state. (“Hank” was installed in 2008.) “No one else was doing rum—we like to be different,” says distiller Mel Heim, who, incidentally, is thought to be one of only three female distillers in the country. Rogue has collected more than forty awards for its spirits.

The place Rogue’s rum distillery is located at Rogue Distillery & Public House, a three-story Pearl District building that once housed a milk plant and the 1980s-era Portland Brewing Company. The House of Spirits, the company’s Newport-based gin and whiskey distillery, operates from a converted bait-and-tackle shop overlooking the Yaquina Bay Bridge and the Pacific Ocean. At the Pearl location, climb the metal-plated stairs above the bar for a tour and a complimentary tasting.

The philosophy “We make products with a twist, a story, a reason to be,” says Gary Fleshman, Rogue’s general manager. “Hazelnut rum using Oregon nuts; spruce gin (we don’t have juniper on the coast); pink gin with color and taste, from being aged in Oregon pinot noir barrels.”
The future After the release of its Dead Guy Whiskey in December, Rogue has been staffing the Newport distillery around the clock to meet demand—about three hundred cases per month. Fleshman hints that the distillers have been experimenting with vodka distilled from wine. 1339 NW Flanders St; tours at 2 p.m., Monday–Friday; 503-222-5910; rogue.com BMB