I am just home from a three day trip to Portland which was quite and eye opener. The food scene was tremendous and the drinks scene has high hopes and a great attitude. Also, while they are seriously hampered by Oregon being a control state (all liquor comes from the State and his hampered by arcane and senseless restrictions,) they do have the advantage of a growing group of independent distillers who are poised to make the region as well known for it's Spirits as it is for it's Beer and Wine.
First, the producers:
Clear Creek Distillers (http://clearcreekdistillery.com/index.php)
Was actually a little bit of let down, but their range of bottlings is superior. I was unable to score a tour as they only schedule them for the weekends (being an actual bartender...that ain't ever gonna work). The next best was the tasting room which is open to the public. I was hoping to get a bottle of McCarthy's Oregon Single Malt Whiskey which I have tasted but never really have been able to study. Alas, they we sold out. There are worse problems I guess.
House Spirits: (http://www.medoyeff.com/)
Christiaan was very generous with his time and his enthusiasm for cocktails as well as spirits is beautiful to see. When I rolled into the distillery, I was surprised to find that fellow Bay Areans (Areites, Areaitos, Areaistas ?) Martin Cate (http://www.forbiddenislandalameda.com/fi/) and bride were there as well and halfway into a sample of Medoyeff Vodka. More details will follow, but I will say this was one of the best parts of the trip.