In the Coastal Spirit
By Beth Wise
Published: 03/04/2015  Updated: 09/12/2017
Photo by Gary Hayes

From north to south, craft distillers along the Oregon Coast offer visitors more than just spirits. In the tradition of artisan craftsmanship, you will find these masters on hand during tastings to explain the distilling process and share their passion for the craft.

Craft distilling is certainly not a new industry, but it is experiencing revitalization everywhere and the Oregon Coast is no exception. Here, you can enjoy small batch spirits in some of the most beautiful settings around. Watch boats come and go next to the Yaquina Bay Bridge. Wander through a beautiful coastal village that is just steps from Haystack Rock. From well established to up and coming, these distillers have made a huge mark and are waiting to serve you their best offerings.

Pilot House Distilling
1270 Duane St., Astoria
(503) 884-7175

Located in the Liberty Theater Building in historic downtown Astoria, this young distillery and tasting room is remarkably the first 'legit' distillery in Astoria, according to records. Owners Larry and Christina Cary offer vodkas, gins and rums. Their delicious flavor-infused vodkas include Jalapeno Lime and Cucumber, which both won awards at the 2014 Great American Distillers Festival. Rumor has it they are also developing absinthe and bourbon. Stop in to see them and taste not only their award-winning vodkas, but also vinegars and other 'shrubs' that they offer through their Grumpy Dog Shrub Co.

Cannon Beach Distillery
1315 S Hemlock,
Cannon Beach (503) 436-0301

In quiet Cannon Beach, you'll find long-time resident Mike Selberg happily working away at his passion: craft distilling. For about three years, he – along with his still, 'Bernie' – has been honing spirits here. With degrees in sciences and the heart of a teacher, he not only enjoys sharing his love for the craft with visitors but he also has what it takes to make the process understandable for everyone he talks with. Stop by for a delicious tasting flight of his gins, agave spirits and award-winning rums; you'll receive the added bonus of coming away with a fun introduction to the distilling process, as well.

Rogue Spirits
2122 Marine Science Drive, Newport
(541) 867-3673

For over 25 years, Rogue has been making a name for themselves in the local – and beyond - brewpub scene. In 2003, they made a successful foray into the distilled spirit world and haven't looked back since. As a matter of fact, they were named 2014 Distiller of the Year at the World Beverage Competition in Geneva, Switzerland. With an array of whiskeys, vodkas, gins, rums and flavor-infused spirits, some of which are award-winning, they bring a depth of flavor from their local farms that can't be missed. Visit their bright tasting room with views of the Yaquina Bay Bridge, marina and Pacific Ocean to sip and savor.

Stillwagon Distillery
63848 Seven Devils Road, Charleston
(253) 732-8458

In a refurbished boathouse just a stone's throw from Shore Acres State Park, you'll find former cabinetmaker Rick Stillwagon skillfully concocting his amazing rums. It's no surprise to find such delicious flavors being developed by a guy who followed his fascination into the craft distillery arena from an interest in koi pond mechanics. You'll have to ask him for that full story! Meantime, have a few tantalizing tastes at the remarkable bar table that he, of course, made himself and ask about his fermenter, which was made from an old dairy milk cooler. Don't forget to get a tour, while you're there!

Superfly Martini Bar & Grill
623 Memory Lane, Brookings
(503) 520-8005

At Superfly Martini Bar & Grill in Brookings, you can check out what owner Ryan Webster describes as "the world's finest potato vodka." With a focus on quality and affordability, each bottle takes ten whole pounds of Russets to make. Hang out and try their vast assortment of martinis and bloody marys, along with some great and affordable bar food and burgers. With a strong focus on hand making, bottling and labeling, Superfly takes craft distilling to a great new level.
In the Coastal Spirit