St. George Single Malt Named Craft Whiskey of the Year
December 2014 | Whisky Advocate has named St. George Single Malt Whiskey as Craft Whiskey of the Year. In bestowing this award, Lew Bryson write: “Delicate fruit, nuts, and sweet malt combine like a perfect pastry in the nose. Add a bit of unsweetened chocolate on the palate, finishing with a lingering reminiscence of every bit of flavor, and you have a beautifully integrated whiskey that is unmistakably St. George.”
A huge honor! For more, see here.
St. George named Craft Whiskey Producer of the Year
September 2014 | Whisky Magazine’s 2015 Icons of Whisky America awards have selected St. George Spirits as the Craft Whiskey Producer of the Year. For more information about the awards, as well as a full list of nominees and winners, see here.
Lot 14 of St. George Single Malt Whiskey now shipping
September 2014 | At last, Lot 14 of our single malt is on its way out of the distillery! Our California distributor just picked up its NorCal order today, which means that bottles should start showing up with select local spirits shops, restaurants, and bars soon. Shipments are also en route to Southern California, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Louisiana, Nevada, and Wisconsin, with other states to follow shortly.
Local folks: We’ve gotten word from Heads, Hearts & Tails (the store located here at the distillery) that they already sold their entire allocation of Lot 14 (which was quite limited) to pre-orders, which means they will not have any more bottles available to purchase. We haven’t heard of any other retailers accepting pre-orders, so we wish you luck finding a bottle as inventory starts to land on local shelves.
Please remember, this spirit is extraordinarily limited and precious—just over 3,000 bottles to share with you and every other whiskey freak on the planet! If you’re able to land a bottle, we hope you’ll enjoy every sip.
Updates on upcoming new releases: aged California apple brandy, aged California agricole rum, St. George vodka
September 2014 | Our new releases of St. George California Reserve Apple Brandy and California Reserve Agricole Rum are in the home stretch. We’ll be bottling both spirits before the month is out, which means they should start showing up locally sometime in October, and in other states thereafter. If you missed the last newsletter or need a refresher on these spirits, you can find details here. As always, when we have more specifics on release dates, we’ll share the info via our Facebook page and Twitter feed; if you want to be among the first to know, please follow us online!
In the meantime, our team is still hard at work developing our new line of St. George vodkas, which we hope to have in your glass before Thanksgiving. Stay tuned…
Breaking & Entering Bourbon on hold
September 2014 | Sad news for bourbon fans: For the foreseeable future, we will not be bottling any more Breaking & Entering Bourbon.
As we’ve stated from the get-go, B&E is a product of barrels we “stole” from some of the most esteemed bourbon distilleries in Kentucky and blended back here at our distillery in Alameda. In the three years since we began the B&E project, our costs for buying bourbon to blend into B&E have skyrocketed. We accepted lower margins because we saw B&E as a contribution to the category worthy of the St. George name and we wanted to be able to keep producing a spirit we love to drink—and share.
Unfortunately, the bourbons that we want to blend into B&E are no longer for sale at any price.
We believe that we’ll see those choicest barrels on the market again, but in the meantime the bourbon that we want simply doesn’t exist.
We’re proud of B&E—a sourced and blended bourbon worthy of our legacy as America’s oldest craft distillery. We’re proud of our team that has shaped B&E into a relevant brand that customers care about and call for by name. While we’re disappointed that we don’t currently hold the casks to blend more B&E, we made the call not to compromise the integrity of what we put into B&E—even if that meant discontinuing the brand in the short term.
Breaking & Entering didn’t exist a few years ago and we’re guessing that the bottles that remain on the market will get snapped up by bourbon lovers as passionate about B&E as you are. If you’re lucky enough to have a bottle at home or to spot some on the shelf of a spirits shop near you, please savor it—and know that when we get back to barrel thievin’, you’ll be the first to know.
St. George Spirits inducted into Spirit Journal Hall of Fame
September 2014 | Wow! We are hugely honored to have been inducted into the Spirit Journal Hall of Fame, along with fellow inductees Charbay Winery & Distillery, Germain-Robin, and Clear Creek Distillery.
In the September issue of Spirit Journal, Paul Pacult writes: “These four home-grown distilleries proved to be the pioneering first generation, the trailblazing entities that persevered through the early years of artisanal distilling during the 1980s and early 1990s, when acceptance and recognition for non-mainstream spirits were spotty, at best.
In 2014, 450 to 500 craft distillers are honing their skills across all 50 of the United States. This remarkable fact alone affirms the notion that (these four distilleries) provided the necessary platform and shone the beacons that guided this vigorous grassroots movement to its current place of influence and impact. The craft distilleries that followed… might not have started up at all weren’t for the legacy of the four new Hall of Fame inductees.”
This is a tremendous honor from one of the most respected spirits publications in the world. We are humbled and grateful.
RELEASE NEWS: SINGLE MALT, AGED RUM & AGED APPLE BRANDY
July 2014 | Over the next few months, we’ll be releasing three very special spirits—each distilled, barrel-aged, and bottled by us here at our distillery in Alameda:
St. George Single Malt Whiskey, Lot 14
Ours is one of the oldest single malts among American labels—and a real point of pride for the distillery. (1001 Whiskies You Must Taste Before You Die goes so far as to say it “might just be the best U.S. single malt available today.”) Lot 14, our 14th bottling, will contain one of the oldest barrels in our whiskey library—distilled and barreled by Lance Winters in 1999. Dave Smith has blended that 15-year-old beauty with other barrels from our reserves to create an elegant sipping whiskey. As with previous releases of our single malt, ethereal notes of stone fruit, chocolate, and roasted nuts form the backbone of this release’s flavor/aromatic signature. Estimated release: early autumn, about 3,000 bottles.
St. George California Reserve Agricole Rum
A barrel-aged expression of our wildly aromatic California agricole rum, but four years in French oak have tempered some of the funk and swagger of the fresh California sugarcane. Enough unmistakable wildness and grassy character remains to be provocative, but it’s balanced by just enough sweetness and spice to make this an approachable sipping rum. Estimated release: mid-autumn, about 2,700 bottles.
St. George California Reserve Apple Brandy
We partnered with Eleven Madison Park a couple years back on an unaged apple brandy made exclusively for them and are now getting ready for a national release of a barrel-aged expression (albeit in very limited quantities). Made from a field blend of 15 varieties of Northern California apples, this is a lovely sipping spirit with full apple flavor and soft spice notes derived from two to three years spent in French and American oak. Estimated release: mid-autumn, about 1,500 bottles.
So… how can you get your hands on these spirits? We’ll let you know when we bottle and start shipping them to our distribution partners in various states. (Watch your inbox, our Twitter feed, and our Facebook page for more info on that—our social media is the best way to stay up on our latest release news.) But please remember that we’re a distillery, not a retailer, and have absolutely no say in what happens to our spirits once they leave the distillery. (Unlike laws in many other states, California state law does not permit distilleries to sell spirits directly to consumers. The onsite store here at the distillery? Nope, not ours. It’s a separate business under independent ownership/management: Head, Hearts & Tails, 510-220-4823.)
Once we’ve let you know we’ve started shipping, we’d be happy to pass along any information we receive from distributors or retailers—but our hands are tied when it comes to when bottles will become available with individual retailers, whether you’ll be able to pre-order, whether there’ll be bottle limits per customer, etc. We wish we could do more to help everyone who wants a bottle (or six), but heck, we just make the stuff… and are very, very grateful that you’re so interested in drinking it!
In the works: St. George vodka
July 2014 | Now that we’ve officially parted ways with Hangar One Vodka (see post below for details), we’re hard at work creating some new vodkas under the St. George banner. For now, that means R&D with fresh California fruit and produce. We’re hoping to release three new vodkas by the end of the year and should have lots more news to share soon.
Farewell to Hangar One
April 2014 | Twelve years ago, we created Hangar One Vodka. Four years ago, we sold the brand to Proximo Spirits, but agreed to continue producing Hangar One—for four years. With us so far? Okay then… (Spoiler alert!)
Yup, our Hangar One production contract has run its course. The time has come for us to bid a bittersweet farewell to Hangar One and a big THANK YOU to all the Hangar One fans out there who have supported us these last 12 years.
If you’re interested in what’s next for Hangar One Vodka, www.hangarone.com is your go-to.
As for us? Our St. George family of gins, absinthe, brandies, liqueurs, and other spirits is keeping us busier than ever. Plus, we have a few new barrel-aged spirits we’re super excited to share with you: St. George Apple Brandy and a barrel-aged expression of our St. George California Agricole Rum should be in your glass by the fall.
But what about vodka? Will St. George ever make vodka again? Yes. We’re looking forward to the day we can mix Vespers with our own vodka and gin, Black Russians with our own vodka and coffee liqueur, and pear martinis with our own vodka and pear brandy. That delicious day isn’t here yet, but when it finally arrives, trust us, you’ll be the first to know.
ANOTHER JAMES BEARD NOMINATION FOR FOUNDER Jörg Rupf
February 2014 | For the fifth year running, St. George founder Jörg Rupf has been honored by the James Beard Foundation with a nomination for Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Professional. Deemed “the Oscars of the food world” by Time magazine, the James Beard Awards are widely considered to be the highest accolade in American culinary circles—and we’re honored and proud to see Jörg recognized again for his pioneering role in the American craft distilling movement.
For more on the awards and the full list of 2014 semifinalists, see here.