When you open the doors to Freeland Spirits’ tasting room, you quickly get the sense that something special is growing. Stylish art deco wallpaper depicts spikes of grain, and in the window, vibrant plants partake in the sunlight — fittingly, you’re also there to drink up.
Distillery tours at the Northwest Portland production facility are offered every Friday and Sunday at 3 p.m. For $30, guests are given a behind-the-scenes look at how Freeland Spirits crafts its small-batch gins + whiskeys, and are treated to “The Whole Line Up” tasting flight.
PDXtoday recently joined the fun, but we won’t spoil the whole experience. Here’s just a skosh to sip on.
- Freeland Spirits is named after founder Jill Kuehler’s meemaw (that’s “grandma” in Texas) — a woman who never touched a drop of liquor in her life, but knew the value of building things from scratch and forging one’s own path. The logo is an homage to her independent soul.
- Flavor is paramount for master distiller Molly Troupe. Although many components can be heat distilled, a rotary evaporator is used to cold distill fresh ingredients like cucumber, mint, rosemary, and thyme, extracting a more pure essence. “We’re the only distillery in the world that we know of that uses a combo of the two processes,” Jill says.
- Less than 2% of distilleries in the world are owned + operated by women like Freeland Spirits.
- Most production goes through a 500-gallon still from Germany, humorously nicknamed “Hell Bitch” after a wild horse from the old Western show “Lonesome Dove.”
- The London-style dry gin leans into the (legally required) juniper berries, plus citrus peel and mulled spices. It’s also Navy Strength, a reference to when booze was historically used to help light ships’ cannons. At a potent 57% ABV, it will certainly blow you away.
- The signature, custom-made bottle was designed by Dando Projects, as both a literal take on the PNW rain + reverent tribute to the Pearl District’s Teardrop Lounge, an early testing ground for the product.
Click the link for some libation inspiration — we’re big fans of the lavender gimlet.