Returning to Portland for the conference this Spring feels like a homecoming for ADI. ADI Founder and President Bill Owens has been visiting Portland for more than 30 years, first for the Association of Microbrewers Conference and repeatedly during the 12 years he published American Brewer.
“Portland has it going on,” said Owens. “Coffee, beer, spirits and organic food are everywhere. Everything about the city is exciting because the city of Portland is all about ‘craft.’”
Over the years, ADI has visited Portland more than any other city, making trips to Bridgetown for the Great American Distillers Festival, hosting workshops and bringing the conference here for the first time in 2011, when we boasted an attendance of 450 people. This year we expect to draw more than 2,000.
During those years, a thriving craft scene developed following Steve McCarthy’s successful founding of Clear Creek Distillery. Other people saw what could be done. Soon McMenamins and Rogue were also distilling… and training up the next generation of Portland distillers. From their former employees, distilleries like House Spirits and Integrity Spirits were founded. With the addition of names like Sub Rosa Spirits, New Deal Distillery, Artisan Spirits, High Ball Distillery and Stone Barn Brandyworks, Portland established the new distilling movement’s first Distillery Row.
A trip to Portland this last June revealed many changes. Some distilleries are gone, some have expanded and more are popping up. Hood River Distilling has purchased the Clear Creek Distillery and is moving production up to Hood River. Lee Medoff came through McMenamins to House Spirits to found Bull Run Distilling and is already moving operations to the less-restricted countryside. House Spirits has undergone a multi-million-dollar relocation and expansion. And new names have popped up, like Thomas & Sons Distillery, while others are under construction, like Freeland Spirits.
In preparation for the blast that will be our conference, we thought it would be fun to go through some old pictures of Portland and pair them up with new images to see the changes.