Photos courtesy of Cheryl van Grunsven.
I first visited Eastside Distilling in September 2011 when they were called Deco Distilling and all they had to offer was rum. It was fine rum and they made some tasty cocktails, but it was a day of dudes strolling Portland’s Distillery Row and it was the 4th place we visited. Things got murky that day.
A few months later, they re-christened themselves as Eastside Distilling and have been growing since. After their Belize-style Below Deck Rums (silver, coffee, ginger and spiced), they created Portland Potato Vodka, Burnside bourbon, Cherry Bomb whiskey, Marionberry whiskey and a set of holiday liqueurs. Production and sales have increased from 400 cases a year to 6400 cases annually.
I met with Eastside’s master distiller Melissa Heim. Having previously learned her craft as rum distiller at Rogue Spirits, she came to Eastside 3 years ago and recently signed a contract extension through 2020. With all of the talk of women in whiskey these days, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Heim is the only female master distiller west of the Mississippi. Continue Reading →