Beer industry veteran Drew Salmi and Smoke Show Hot Sauce owner Sam Kelly among new owners of upcoming AleFire Hot Sauce Shop
Since opening in May 2013, Tin Bucket bottleshop and beer bar on N. Williams in Portland, OR has developed a strong beer geek following. New Tin Bucket co-owner Drew Salmi is both a beer industry veteran and hot sauce megafan who hopes the regulars will stick with them under new concept – AleFire. Tin Bucket co-owner Jason Monge said in a statement that it’s time to move on but that, “I guarantee you will see the same regulars in the bar seats that have been there for years as well as some familiar bartenders.”
Salmi has a resume that includes stints at Corvallis Homebrew Supply, Saraveza, Labrewatory, Beer O’ Clock, Block 15 Brewing and is one of the co-founders/organizers of Corvallis Beer Week. Salmi is joined by his girlfriend Melissa Hale (Chefstable Group), programmer Dave Cole and Sam Kelly (owner of Smoke Show Hot Sauce.)
AleFire will replace much of the bottle coolers with a selection of hot sauce, leaving two coolers for beverages and keep the 20 draft lines. An awesome selection of beer will continue to rotate through AleFire with a diminished selection of bottles/cans to-go. But why hot sauce instead of beer?
“We are one of the few major cities without a hot sauce store,” says Salmi. Who argues the hot sauce could sell better than packaged beer. Salmi and Cole will be doing the hot sauce buying and want to grow to be the world’s best curated selection.
Not only will the taproom aspect be unique to a hot sauce shop, but Salmi and partners have much more in store like tasting, food and collabs.
“We will do one off collabs using Sam’s certified kitchen with breweries and chefs,” says Salmi.
That means you can expect brewers and chefs to be getting crazy with hot sauce recipes and vice versa. Will we get to see a hot sauce aged in a beer barrel and beer in a hot sauce barrel?
Salmi reports that they will have multiple bottles of hot sauce open every day for sampling and be able to produce their own special foods for sampling off site. They also plan to eventually add a larger bar and hard liquor.
Founder of The New School and most frequent contributor Ezra Johnson-Greenough has worked in the craft beer industry for almost 10 years, doing everything from illustrating beer labels to bartending at renowned beer bars and breweries like Belmont Station, Apex, Laurelwood and Upright Brewing. He has also had a hand in creating events like the Portland Fruit Beer Festival, Portland Beer Week, and the Brewing up Cocktails series. He is available for freelance consultation in marketing, events, graphic design and branding.