We visited St. George Spirits Distillery in Alameda, Calif. (just 30 minutes across the bay from San Francisco), for one primary reason – their Terroir Gin is our absolute favorite. Their Botanivore gin is a close second.
What we learned in a fantastic tour with distiller Dave Smith, is that they are super creative and experimental with things like – wait for it – oysters and foie gras. WHAT?! Yeah. They distill strange things just to see what happens and learn from it so they can make all of their booze unique and craftily inspired.
- The distillery was founded in 1982 by Jörg Rupf, who is often referred to as having laid the groundwork for the modern American artisan distillation movement and American eau de vie (fruit brandy).
- Master distiller Lance Winters came to St. George Spirits in 1996 after working as a U.S. Navy nuclear engineer and brewer.
- Dave Smith (who gave us our tour and is featured in the video below) is many things to the distillery, not least of which is being the chief custodian and guiding hand behind the St. George whiskey program. In other words, we like him. A lot.
- St. George was originally a distillery dedicated to eau de vie. They now make Gin, Vodka, Brandy, Bourbon, and a whole lot more.
- St. George Spirits is now located in a 65,000-square-foot hangar, complete with a beautiful tasting room, full laboratory, some of the most beautiful copper stills we’ve ever seen.
- They came to fame with their Hangar One vodka series. But, have since sold it, although they still make it.
- Tastings are $15 and includes all six of their spirits—all of which are made onsite.