Ginning up biz: Union distillery opens Portland tasting room

Posted Feb. 03, 2014, at 6:20 a.m.
Last modified Feb. 03, 2014, at 7:12 a.m.

Cranberry gin, apple brandy, blueberry bitters …  it’s getting hard out here for a teetotaler.

Sweetgrass Farm Winery and Distillery in Union are the latest alcohol alchemists to set up shop in Portland.

Known for fruit wines and spirits, owners Constance and Keith Bodine are opening a gin tasting room on Fore Street next week. Their urban outpost will showcase up to 19 creations, sampled and sold.

“We found that Union is a bit far for our southern Maine customers,” said Constance.

In the heart of Maine’s wine country, their tasting room has become a tourist attraction, albeit seasonal. They use their own apples and berries for wine, gin, brandy, bitters, port and smashes. We’ll drink to that!

Opening on Valentine’s Day two blocks from Fore Street Restaurant is a smart move.

Couples, singletons and cupid’s misfires can be the first to sip these potent potables. Three Crow Rum, Maple brandy and Black River Rum made with Maine blueberries and sea air, will be in heavy rotation.

Located diagonally across from Vena’s Fizz House, will Boothby Square become a mixologist magnet?

Across town Maine Craft Distilling opened last fall with Blueshine, carrot gin and Queequeg Spiced Rum. No doubt Sweetgrass will add to the spirit of the city.

And may evoke a new refrain for the Port City, where “the rum is fine any time of year.”

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