Gompers distillery

Location: 611 NE Jackpine Court Hours: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday; noon-7 p.m. Saturday Website: gompersdistillery.com

While Redmond has its share of breweries, wineries and even a hard cider maker, spirits had eluded the city. But a new craft distillery is bringing Redmond forward in that regard, while making a nod to the past.

Gompers Distillery opened its 6,832-square-foot Redmond tasting room and production facility to the public April 26. It is the third adult beverage maker in an industrial park at 611 NE Jackpine Court, joining Porter Brewing and Dry Fields Cider, which opened last year.

“I like being on the east side,” said Gompers co-owner Michael Hart. “With the brewery and the cider place, I think this is going to become a destination in Redmond.”

Gompers has been selling its gin for five years, making it in facilities in Bend and Sisters. They sell it all over Oregon, as well as in Texas. According to oregonliquorsearch.com, Gompers is available at two Redmond liquor stores, retailing for $32.95 a bottle for its traditional clear gin and $44.95 for its darker Old Tom dry gin.

Hart said having their own distillery allows more flexibility, as well as a place for the public to try their products.

“This is really exciting because it allows us to do what we want to do,” he said. “We’re so excited to be the first distillery in Redmond.”

Michael Hart owns the business with his wife, Jessica Hart, and her father, Jerry Gompers. It’s named for Jessica’s grandparents, who were Holocaust survivors from The Netherlands.

The tasting room has several reminders of Herman and Deborah Gompers, including Herman’s autographed photo of soccer legend Pele, who used to stay at Herman’s house, Michael said. Herman ran a bakery in Los Angeles that made cakes for numerous celebrities, ranging from John Wayne to David Bowie.

“He was a really good guy who loved life and family and gin,” Michael Hart said.

The tasting room features a 1920s speakeasy feel, with wallpaper, art and woodwork designed to look like a prohibition-era hideout, Michael Hart said.

“It’s such a unique place,” he said. “If you go to other distilleries, it’s pretty industrial. Not many places make the tasting room itself the destination.”

The Roaring ‘20s theme takes an unexpected turn when Michael lifts up what appears to be a group of books on a bookshelf, revealing a keypad. After entering a code, the bookshelf opens. The secret door leads into a room for members of the distillery’s Founder’s Club. They pay a one-time fee of $575 that allows several perks, such as first dibs on new products and free tours and tastings at the distillery.

Lisa Sipe of Bend, one of the attendees at the distillery’s April 26-27 opening events, has been drinking Gompers gin since last year.

“I like that I can drink it neat or on the rocks, and it still tastes great,” she said. “I don’t get ‘gin-faced,’ and it has that unique flavor, too, that I don’t get from other gins.”

The Harts, as well as some of their guests, came in 1920s costumes, like gangsters or flappers. The events even included a jazz band.

The production area includes a computerized Dutch still, which Michael said is the only one of its kind in Oregon. He said the still lasts longer than a copper one and allows him to make a wider variety of products.

“It’s going to let us make liquor that other people can’t make,” he said. “It’s going to give us a lot of opportunities you can’t really do at a traditional distillery.”

— Reporter: 541-548-2186, gfolsom@redmondspokesman.com