I love beer. After now having visited over 585 different breweries, it’s fair to say I have sampled a lot of beer (follow me on Untappd). From post-race pints and run club meeting locations, to beer miles and relays, running and the kegged nectar seem to go hand-in-hand in Oregon. Our Kegs and Legs feature is where beer drinking runners like me can go to find some new favorite beverages.
After tackling the local beer and wine scene, we thought it would be fitting to start checking out some local distilleries. There are a surprising amount being created here in Oregon, and our inaugural feature is Divine Distillers in Salem.
Divine Distillers is a small craft distillery based in Salem. While the Capital city is an under the radar location for craft beers, as well as a prime spot for wine tasting, the distilleries are a little bit quiet here. Divine Distillers opened up not too long ago in a smallish spot near Vagabond Brewing at the 45th Parallel building, but quickly grew out of that and moved into the “Brewery District” near the Salem Airport not too long ago.
Divine Distillers makes spirits that aren’t necessarily the “popular” types (i.e. vodka, rum, gin), but instead specialize in those, perhaps, off the beaten path ones such as brandy and agave. They specialize in spirits made from locally sourced fruits and pride themselves in drawing out the flavors and complexity of the local ingredients. Here’s a little more about those behind Divine:
We are an international family. Jason grew up in Brazil and Mexico with most of his family in South Africa and Europe. Jennell grew up in the Midwest but fell in love with France and Brazil. We moved often living in England, Belgium, Canada, France, and Brazil. We love the long friendly meals of Latin American and Europe that often involve distilled spirits before and after courses. At the birth of our son, we struggled to find a name that would work in the many languages we spoke and the countries we had visited. We finally settled on Dante. Five years later we were fortunate enough to adopt our daughter Angelica from Guatemala. Divine Distillers is an homage to our children.
Our name comes from Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy. Dante was completely irreverent in his portrayal of authority figures of his time. Our spirits follow the journey of Dante through the nine circles of hell (Inferno), through purgatory, and eventually into paradise. Join us as we guide you through this epic journey.
We use Jason’s exceptional ability to find just the right timing of distillation and mixing to create the most smooth alcohols.
And while they may be new, their stuff is gaining significant traction. They started selling in August of 2018 and sold out by the end of the month. As a result, they have actually continued growing into larger spaces due to an increased demand. And on top of that, they have won tons of awards at significant spirit competitions so they are doing something right.
You can order all of their products online, but they also have a rotating cocktail menu if you make the trek to the distillery. They have covered outdoor seating and there is a wing-based restaurant nearby, so there is really little keeping you from making a day of things and heading to Salem for a day of fun and run. The outdoor area is is much nicer than the picture below showcases as it was taken in the middle of a stinking monsoon. On a “typical” wet Oregon day (or even in the summer), the spot is great and will be even better once finished.
Once their new taproom is done they expect to have 16-24 taps serving many of their spirits, as well as mocktails for kids and designated drivers. They also hope to have, in a post-COVID world, about 100 spirits to choose from.
We recently went through a tasting, which includes 4 .5 oz shots and 1 cocktail, as well as learning everything you would ever want to know about the distillery and spirit-making in general. I seriously left the tasting with WAY more knowledge than going in.
While this area of Salem isn’t a runner’s paradise, you can actually get in some pretty decent (and very quiet!) sidewalk runs. It’s a short mile run to the entrance of the Fairview Industrial Park. and, while I realize running in industrial areas is not always the most fun, there are a variety of quiet Strava routes in this area – including a little loop on a Wetland Nature Trail.
While we are featuring the distillery in this post, this area is actually home to a handful of breweries as well. In fact, I am proposing the Run Oregon Salem Brewery District 4-miler – a loop that starts and ends at Divine and runs to each of the five nearby breweries – Bine Valley, Sparky’s, Santiam, Ratchet (Salem to-go only location), and Gilgamesh – all of which (besides Ratchet) have outdoor seating currently. The outdoor space at Divine is a perfect spot for culminating a run!
Overall, this is a location that is very solid as it’s currently laid out (and worth the trip!), but will be even better once the weather turns nicer, their indoor area is finished, and COVID is mostly behind us. But regardless of when you come, expect some award-winning spirits, amazing cocktails, and a fun experience.
Distillery: Divine Distillers
- 2475 25th St. SE, Salem, OR 97302
- Tuesday-Saturday: 11am-8pm