The distillers After toiling in the restaurant and bar business for the better part of fourteen years, owner John Ufford had tasted enough bland, mass-produced alcohol to know Portland deserved better. He started Indio in 2004.
The place The company is headquartered in Portland but distills in Cottage Grove, near Eugene. Ufford likes to point out that Indio’s Silver Edition vodka is triple-filtered via charcoal-activated coconut husks, which allows the rye to come through sweet and clean. Indio’s website features archived mixology segments hosted by portlandcookstv.com and local bartenders.
The philosophy Indio infuses its vodka not just with locally sourced flavors, but also with otherwise obscure (or unheard of) combinations like lemongrass-lime, for “a more authentic taste.”
The future The distillery is working on a batch of rum aged for three years. Indio is also starting to make cocktail mixes, including an all-natural concoction with red hibiscus. 7110 SW Fir Loop, Suite 240; call for tour and tasting information; 503-620-0313; indiospirits.com —BWB and KJ
The distillers Founders and longtime friends Kieran Sienkiewicz and Rich Phillips grew up together on the Sienkiewicz family’s Willamette Valley vineyard. Sienkiewicz became a distiller and brewer for Rogue Spirits before he and Phillips, then a manager at Uptown Liquor in Northwest Portland, formed Integrity in 2007. They were the second in the country to begin making absinthe after the hundred-year ban was lifted in 2007.
The place Integrity shares its Southeast Portland space with the Green Dragon brewpub. You just might catch a glimpse of Phillips or Sienkiewicz distilling the latest batch of 12 Bridges gin through one of the windows on the shared interior wall as you suck down a cocktail made with the stuff.
The philosophy “Ultimately, we’re looking to make something that you can drink just on its own,” says Phillips. “You don’t need a cocktail to mask the taste of the alcohol.” Integrity makes its small batches with high-quality ingredients and uses a handmade copper still crafted for them in Portugal. “We couldn’t call ourselves ‘Integrity’ if we didn’t do the best we could on each batch,” Phillips says.
The future Trillium Absinthe was served at an inauguration party for Barack Obama in Washington, DC, and a Phoenix bar recently ordered five cases. 909 SE Yamhill St; tours by appointment; 503-729-9794; integrityspirits.com —KC