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About the Business

After announcing their plans back in October of 2023, the group behind Orange County’s wildly popular Smoke & Fire and Villains Brewing concepts are ready to unveil their distilling space, Broken Spirits Distillery. Taking over the former Portuguese Bend space in Downtown Long Beach, Broken Spirits opened in May of 2024.

When it was announced in October of 2023 that a crew of respected restaurant industry peeps—Isaias Hernandez, Josh Bentrem, and Juan Hernandez, along with master distiller Max Stecca—would be taking over the former Portuguese Bend space, there was a huge sigh of relief: Portuguese bend was then wrapped up in bankruptcy and drama following its abrupt closure in the beginning of 2023, marking the downfall of the city’s first formal distillery.

Portuguese Bend, which opened with a huge bang and much celebrated menu and cocktail porgram, shuttered after about two-and-a-half years of operation—a day that made us wonder within the food scene about many things: Portuguese Bend was the first to score a special license that allowed a distillery to have a restaurant on site—would it be the first distillery we got as well as the last? Could we revitalize that key space with another use, best another distillery? Or had we shot our shot and missed by scaring away potential future investment?

And given our spirit was a little broken from a small business and culinary perspective by the closure, the name of Broken Spirits Distillery seems even more prescient and relatable.

They now serve the city's best locally made spirits and some solid barbecue.

Written by Brian Addison. Photos by Brian Addison and courtesy of business. 



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