How gin originated in Holland instead of Central Oregon is a drink history enigma. From the shoulders of the Cascade mountains, down to the high desert’s flatlands, the majority of the conifers you’ll see around Central Oregon are gnarled juniper trees. Juniper is often a classic, essential ingredient for making gin. Maybe it’s the juniper that’s drawn many notable distillers to the area…and inspired others to begin.
Today, a handful of craft distillers use those juniper berries and other regional ingredients to craft gin, vodka, and other outstanding spirits in every corner of Central Oregon. Wherever your next trip takes you in Central Oregon, you’re never far from an outstanding distillery. Best of all: These producers host tasting rooms that also offer signature craft cocktails to highlight the spirit of their spirits.
But first: decisions, decisions. There are countless distilleries you’ll need to “pour over”. Here’s a rundown of the top distilleries, tastings, and tours in Central Oregon.
Distilleries Located in Bend, Oregon
Central Oregon’s first still, Oregon Spirit Distillers in Bend, Oregon taps into local agriculture and boasts one of the largest whiskey barrel inventories in Oregon. Located in the true center of Bend, Oregon, this family-owned operation has expanded to offer what might be the region’s broadest selection of spirits, from award-winning whiskeys to limoncello liqueur. Open seven days a week, this distillery offers thoughtful tours and an inviting tasting room venue—which includes a large outdoor patio with fire pits.
Distilleries Located in Tumalo, Oregon
A must-stop is Crater Lake Spirits Distillery (of Bendistillery) outside of Tumalo, Oregon. The region’s oldest micro-distillery uses local ingredients whenever possible, including fresh berries in its fruity vodka and hand-picked, Central Oregon-grown juniper for its gin. Visitors can enjoy these world-class, award-winning spirits (and more) at two locations around Central Oregon.
Crater Lake Spirits’ massive distilling facility and onsite tasting room offers tours just 15 minutes from downtown Bend near the community of Tumalo; on a clear day, sit outside and revel in scenic views of nearby Cascade Range peaks. The distillery also serves tasty craft cocktails and flights at a cozy tasting room in downtown Bend; the selection includes whiskeys, vodkas, gins, and ever-changing selections of “Rare” spirits.
Distilleries Located in Sisters, Oregon
Cascade Street Distillery sits on (surprise!) Cascade St. in the heart of Sisters, Oregon, and the community’s lone distillery focuses exclusively on making outstanding potato vodka. Its Cascade Street Potato Vodka boasts a smooth finish, with earthy and slightly sweet tasting notes.
Its tasting room in Sisters offers samples of the acclaimed potato vodka, as well as other spirits that are part of the regionally based Cascade Spirits family of brands.
Distilleries Located in Redmond, Oregon
Gompers Distillery is the sole distillery in Redmond, Oregon. With a name evocative of and inspired by the Prohibition era, the Gompers tasting rooms feels as if you’ve been transported to a secret speakeasy. Small but mighty, this family-owned distillery has creative old-style and new style spirits with local ingredients—such as regionally grown corn and hand-picked juniper. Visitors can try those on tours, with tasting flights and through signature craft cocktails for sampling and sipping.
If you work up an appetite while tasting, learn more about the best restaurants in Redmond, Oregon. We’ve also put together a page on breweries and cideries in Redmond, Oregon, if you’d like to learn more about the city’s other outstanding craft beverage producers.
Distilleries Located in La Pine, Oregon
This small, creative craft distillery—just 30 minutes south of Bend and only 15 minutes from Sunriver—emphasizes unique flavor twists in several spirits. Each batch of its cucumber gin, for instance, is crafted with 500 pounds of locally sourced (and hand-peeled) cucumbers; its Wine Cask Vodka, meanwhile, is filtered through local spring water and lava rock—and is finished on oak wine barrels for a smooth finish. Visitors can try these unique spirits on their own or in creative cocktails.
An on-site bistro dishes light breakfast bites (such as bagels and yogurt parfait), lunch sandwiches, and creative salads.
While you’re in La Pine, make the quick trip up to the Newberry Caldera, in the heart of the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, for some awe-inspiring outdoor adventures.
Distilleries Located in Madras, Oregon
Located along Highway 26 at the northern edge of Madras, Oregon, the tasting room at New Basin Distillery boasts a homey watering-hole vibe—the perfect atmosphere for enjoying spirits grown on the distillery’s own farm. Gins, whiskeys, and more are available at the tasting room, as are 17 kinds of mixing vinegars, local ciders, and regional wines; wash it all done with food from on-site food carts.
Learn more about other fun things to do in Madras, Oregon.
Distilleries Located in Prineville, Oregon
Golden Coffee is a passionate craft coffee and whiskey maker in Prineville, Oregon—just a 45-minute drive from Bend. Its historic building hosts an industrial-inspired tasting room, complete with a roll-up garage door for when the sun shines. In the morning, sip coffees from Sisters Coffee Company (a regional roaster) and noshing on fresh-baked pastries; in the afternoon, sip on a cinnamon-tinged rye whiskey, smooth bourbon, and other spirits.
Learn more about other fun activities in Prineville, Oregon. And if you’re in the area, consider heading further east to check out the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument—one of the many national and state parks in Central Oregon.
Distillery Trails and Tours in Central Oregon
Whether you want to follow an established distillery “trail” to the best craft producers in Central Oregon or prefer a behind-the-scenes tour led by an established guide, you’ll find plenty of great options for exploring the region’s bustling spirits scene.
A good place to start for hardcore spirits fans is The Oregon Distillery Trail, made up of more than 50 distilleries throughout the state; in Central Oregon, you’ll find stops in Bend, Madras, and other communities.
And while Bend, Oregon, has become known as Beer Town, USA, the city’s reputation has grown as a fantastic distillery destination. To get you started on your own DIY tour of Bend distilleries, use the Bend Ale Trail map; its “Drinkable Diversions” section will steer you toward some of the area’s top producers.
If you’d rather someone else do the driving, consider a guided tour. Operated by Wanderlust Tours, Bend Brew Bus offers The Local Pour, a full-service craft beverage and distillery tour in Bend. Knowledgeable guides take guests to top distilleries while offering educational tidbits along the way. (For 10 or more people, you can book a private, customized tour.)
Drink responsibly, consider a drink tour…and have fun!
Explore Nature’s Beauty
From the sagebrush-covered plains of the high desert to the towering pines and majestic mountain peaks, discover the diverse landscape Central Oregon has to offer.