Small distillers from around the country come to offer samples of spirits and share schwag in the form of buttons, stickers, and brochures. Once again the festival also features the Portland Cocktail Invitational, a competition sponsored by the Oregon Bartenders Guild and Imbibe Magazine. Two dozen star bartenders from across the country compete for the $1000 grand prize.
A one day pass, which includes 3 taster tickets, is only $10. $16 gets you in both days. Additional taster tickets can be purchased of course. The list of participating distilleries is impressive; it includes all the well known locals (except Clear Creek – why doesn’t my favorite pear brandy purveyor participate in these events?!), plus distilleries from as far away as Vermont (Vermont Spirits), New York (Tuthilltown Spirits), and Central America (Ilegal Mezcal).
Heather, our friend Diane, and I attended the festival last year, and enjoyed quite a few samples of interesting distillations, including several absinthes, New Deal‘s newly OLCC approved (at the time) Mud Puddle Chocolate Vodka, and Bend Distillery‘s Cofia Hazelnut Espresso Vodka, which would have been great on top of ice cream!