You Probably Didn’t Contemplate Becoming a Moonshiner in Retirement. Maybe You Should …

Dec 05, 2009

Artisan Moonshining may be a great, perfectly legal encore career for retirees. You can get started for about $75k, the business requires little staff, and participants typically are consumed with a passion for their work.


Absinthe in Mendocino: Germain-Robin clarifies the Green Fairy

Jul 28, 2009

Once again, the masters who work for and with Craft Distillers, producers of the world-class Germain-Robin brandies produced in Ukiah, have created another singular product. Germain-Robin Absinthe Superieure will be released on August 1. The historic spirit has experienced a revival in the United States following its return to legal status in 2007.


Dowd On Drinks: Addressing The State Of Our Whiskey

Jun 20, 2009

On the surface, America’s distillers are waging a heated competition for the favor of consumers.

Below the surface, their representatives are waging an even more heated battle against moves by numerous states to bring in more revenue to offset shortages caused by the current economic malaise.


Moonshine: More Than A Hobby

Jun 20, 2009

In March, Appalachian moonshiner Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton, 62, received notice to report to prison to serve 18 months for illegally producing distilled spirits. Days before he was to start doing time, Sutton’s body was discovered in his car, dead from an apparent suicide.

Sutton, who favored a long, unkempt beard and overalls, typified the American moonshiner. Devoted to his hobby and fiercely opposed to the law that prohibits it, Sutton produced high-proof spirits at home. Until he got caught.


Spokane Distillery has Plenty of Volunteers

Jun 04, 2009

Don Poffenroth and Kent Fleischmann get plenty of help at Dry Fly Distilling once their gin and vodka is ready for release. That help comes each Saturday at Dry Fly’s Spokane distillery, where groups of volunteers work three-hour shifts bottling and packing the products for shipping. For most volunteers, it’s more fun than work. They […]


Spirits take Root in Finger Lakes Micro-Distilleries

Jun 03, 2009

In the mid-1990s, two Finger Lakes wineries took possession of identical, onion-shaped copper stills delivered from Europe. Using them, Swedish Hill and Knapp turned small amounts of their primary product, wine, into distilled spirits or hard liquor – in this case, brandy. Spirits became a small niche for these boutique farm wineries.

Those two wineries are still distilling, but suddenly they have a lot of company.



Los Angeles International Wine and Spirits Competition Results Announced

Jun 01, 2009

2009 marked the 70th anniversary of the Los Angeles International Wine and Spirits Competition and the third year of judging spirits. 2009 was the first year that all spirits categories were included and as a result the number of spirits entries jumped to 199, 36 received gold medals. New categories such as flavored vodka and Agave spirits were included, but the greatest response was 55 entries in the category of 100% Blue Agave Tequila.


Tito’s Handmade Vodka Wins Prestigious ‘Hot Brand’ Award

May 27, 2009

Fifth Generation’s Tito’s Handmade Vodka recently was named a 2008 “Hot Brand” in the April issue of Impact Global Newsletter published by M. Shanken Communications, Inc., which also publishes Wine Spectator, Cigar Aficionado, Food Arts and Market Watch. Impact is the one source for information on the worldwide drinks market and the leading magazine for top spirits executives in more than 50 countries.


First Barrels Of Nashoba Single Malt will be Tapped in August

May 25, 2009

The rolling hills lined with fruit trees beside an elegant restaurant in a restored New England farmhouse are in stark contrast to the usual whiskey-making operation. There are no backwoods tubs filled with sour mash, À la Jack Daniel’s. Nor is this the heather-carpeted hills of Scotland, the only locale where a single-malt whiskey can legally be called scotch.

Nevertheless, Nashoba Valley Winery will roll out its new single malt in August. Roll out, literally, as the first bottles have been aging in former wine barrels for the last five years.


Local Foods Go Drinking

May 15, 2009

Don’t look now, but the local foods movement has elbowed its way through the crowd and sidled up next to your seat at the bar. It aims to seduce by slipping organic citrus zests and small-batch brandy from Soquel into your grizzled workhorse well drink. Although the Bay Area’s cup runneth over with educated eaters who demand seasonal, organic, and artisan foods, the Alice Waters revolution has been surprisingly slow to transform the stuff that sloshes in our cocktail glasses. We decry trans fats and corn syrup, and spend Saturday mornings cross-examining farmers, but throw a couple of Bacardi and Cokes our way, and all of a sudden we become pretty cheap dates. United by an affection for antique recipes and methods, a new breed of bar geeks is making it easier to drink mindfully — no, that’s not an oxymoron — by conjuring up cocktails that showcase craft spirits, local produce, and handmade ingredients at a handful of Oakland restaurants.