Note to reader: If you haven't read Part 1 of our adventure in Portland, click here before reading below!
Hanging out at the Aviation Gin distillery felt a lot like being at our own headquarters. We arrived a little bit early but were quickly greeted by Kelly and Adrian who took their time showing us around and answering our rookie questions about production and process. They spoke about Aviation and gin making like they were talking about a favorite hobby. Both were eager to share their insights and talk about even the most minute details.
And the details here are important. That being said, I want to correct any potential preconceived notions about their operation. The production space that Aviation Gin is made in, bottled in and boxed in, is relatively small - maybe 8,000 square feet. Every single bottle of gin is handcrafted in one room, in the form of small 100-case batches. And each step is carefully executed by one of their in-house master distillers. Every bottle is then labeled, double-checked and boxed by hand. And these hands belong to a handful of Portlanders who seem more like kin than coworkers - far from the army of robots and lab coats I’d imagined.
As we wait for the production team to finish their first break of the day, I noticed a collection of polaroid photos taped up on the wall. Staring at the crooked little gallery of portraits reminded me of our Lazy Dog team. It was at this point I realized that working here wasn’t just a job for them, it was a home away from home – a family. It felt like everyone involved in the production of Aviation really loved what they were doing and were proud of what they were creating.
Instrumental jazz played loud as a team of four started to bottle and label Lazy Dog’s batch of Old Tom (more on that later). The mood was relaxed but they moved fast – all falling in to the rhythm of the beat – it was like John Coltrane himself, was there orchestrating the whole operation.
Now I’ll have you know; I consider myself an avid gin drinker. And I’m embarrassed to admit I was baffled when I learned how gin was made. I assumed it had its own special grain and a very distinct process all its own. NOPE. To put it simply, gin is made the same way, and with the same base, used to make vodka. I mean, I can’t be the only one who didn’t know that…and I am admitting this in the hopes that there are others out there, whose minds are as equally blown as mine was. That being said, this is probably a good time to review the basics and make sure we are all on the same page…
To be continued…stay tuned for part 3… where things (literally) start to heat up.
Words + Photos by Rebecca Simms, Creative Director // Questions? Comments? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org