Aria Portland Dry Gin
Portland , OR

Aria Portland Dry Gin in Portland, Oregon is a distillery with a single product and its makers are not bashful about it.  Head distiller, Ryan Csanky, surmises that having one product is “nice” because that way he and his partners can focus all of their time and energy on making a perfect gin.  As a veteran of craft distilling, now working on his second project, Ryan is focusing on delivering one top-notch craft product while relying on community, contacts, and experience.  

Photo Courtesy of Aria Portland Dry Gin

In a unique twist to the classic craft distillery tale, Aria is a new distillery with an established product.  In starting a new distillery, Ryan wanted to avoid the immense up-front costs associated with a new spirits enterprise.  Luckily, Portland is home to dozens of craft distilleries and excess distilling capacity.  Aria spent its first two years sharing space at the established Bull Run Distillery on the north side of Portland.  Working with a large operation gave Aria several benefits.  First, Bull Run had equipment that could create a month’s worth of Aria in only two days of distilling.  This allowed the Aria team to focus on marketing, creating new accounts, and promoting their product as opposed to distilling 7 days a week on smaller equipment.  Second, they could use the existing tasting room to promote their product.  Since Bull Run was focused on whiskeys and other brown spirits, Aria was welcomed into the tasting lineup as a high-end clear liquor.  There was no competition between the companies.  Third, by focusing on building customers and brand recognition, when the time came to open their own distillery, the founders of Aria were able to finance a high-end visitor experience to match their gin’s quality.  Years of sales, detailed growth projections, and an established brand made obtaining financing much easier.  Finally, working with another distillery meant solidifying a professional bond between the two producers, a connection that continues today.  

Aria Portland Dry Gin is really two projects in one: the development of a high quality spirit and another step in the revitalization of the distillery’s new home.  As a gin, it is a traditional London Dry style.  Ryan has over a decade of bartending and managing experience.  He was impressed by the New World style gins that other craft makers were producing.  However, he felt that the new styles did not work well with classic cocktails.  He wanted to make a local gin that was designed for martinis, gimlets, and all the other libations that were popularized when the bar term “cocktail” was originally conceived.  To make that perfect London Dry flavor, Ryan used his wealth of connections in the bartending world.  While he trusted his own palette and his own vision for Aria, he knew it would be a mistake to ignore all of the trained bartenders who could give him their insight into what a perfect cocktail gin should taste like.  Lending credence to this decision is Portland’s standing as one of the more adventurous drinking cities in the United States.  Ryan estimates that hundreds of well-trained pallets contributed to the final taste of Aria.

Photo Courtesy of Aria Portland Dry Gin

The new business of Aria Portland Dry Gin extends beyond the bottle.  As Ryan envisions it, his new distillery is going to be an anchor tenant in the revitalization of Portland’s north side.  This vision is where the community of distillers comes into play.  Aria is moving only a few block away from the Bull Run Distillery where it was born.  There’s a third distillery within easy walking distance as well.  Add in the new bars and breweries opening in the area and Ryan is contributing to bringing more foot traffic and commerce to an area in need of both.  Ryan’s investment in the neighborhood is personal, since he lives close by.

There is a great story behind Aria, there’s a great product in the bottle, and there’s a beautiful visitor’s space waiting for new customers.  However, Ryan knows that it will take more to make Aria a success.  He wants to make a product that can fit into every bar in Portland and, eventually, the entire country.  He focusses on three key factors to deliver consistent quality in his sole product: depth, complexity, and balance.  Depth is the multiple layers of flavor in each sip, complexity is the varied citrus notes, and balance explains how no one flavor overpowers the others.  Ryan, together with all the founders of Aria, knows that there are many high-quality, classic gins on the market.  Aria is designed to be the best.  Ryan understands the stakes, because, as he says, Aria is not a spirit designed to finance a barrel program, it is the entire company.  

For more information on Aria Portland Dry Gin visit its website at