Posted by Elly Blue (Columnist) on February 26th, 2009 at 11:02 am
Portland-based New Deal Distillery will unveil a new label for their signature Portland 88 vodka next month.
The label features an illustration of a woman standing valiantly astride a fat-tired cruiser bicycle, sporting striped kneesocks, a flowing dress, and a playing card in the spokes. Think of her as Portlandia (Portland’s patron saint that adorns the City of Portland building downtown) on wheels.
Hoping to learn more about New Deal, I headed over to the distillery one sunny day (it’s right across the street from our office) to check out their operation and see the new label.
That happened to be during the Worst Day of the Year Ride, and the distillery had opened its doors to invite ride participants in for tastings. I chatted briefly with founders and co-owners Tom Burkleaux and Matthew Van Winkle before a bunch of costumed riders came in to sample the lemongrass vodka.
I asked Tom some more questions over email. Why put a bike on your label? He wrote (emphasis mine),
Both Matthew and I have been in Portland for most of our lives and we love this city. We wanted to celebrate what we think is great about this place. If Portlandia got off her pedestal and rode a bike, I imagine this is what she’d look like. She’d be DIY, a bit punk (and clearly she wouldn’t be in a car!).
The illustration came from a many months long collaboration with Bob Thompson of Dangerr Creative. Thompson used to work out of the ActivSpace building where New Deal was also located before it moved across the street.
Their Portland 88 Vodka is New Deal’s attempt to make a good, affordable, basic vodka, inspired by the founders’ experience as young Portlanders in the 80s. Bottles with the new label will be available in stores in about a month, or, “As soon as we can afford to print it!”, said Burkleaux.
The New Deal tasting room at SE 9th and Main is open most Saturdays from noon until 4pm.