KROBĀR Craft Distillery
(at Barton Family Wines)
2174 Hwy 46 West
Paso Robles, CA 93446
Tasting hours: 11am-5:30pm Thurs-Mon and by appointment
Stephen Kroener and his partner Joe Barton hail from winemaking families. Kroener makes wines at Silver Horse Winery south of San Luis Obispo. Barton does the same at Grey Wolf Cellars in Paso Robles. After some marathon wine tasting, the pair decided in 2010 to team up and expand into distilling. They spent a month studying and sampling in Kentucky then another two years researching before launching KROBĀR (the name is a mash-up of their surnames). At their distillery behind the Barton family tasting room, the duo makes bitters, sweet and dry vermouths and gins. In an unusual move for the area, they’ve put a heavy focus on whiskey. “We love whiskey,” Kroener enthused. “We wanted to set ourselves apart from other SLO distillers, but the truth is that Joe and I really, really like rye.” Their zeal for grain is paying off. In 2018 KROBĀR won awards for rye and bourbon at ADI’s Annual Judging of Craft Spirits. Two of their gins (OG, their “original gin” and the barrel-rested version of the same spirit) also took home medals. Plans for the future include a micro-distillery in a nearby public market and a larger distillery for malt whiskeys in San Luis Obispo. Both should be open by May 2019. Until then, their tasting room at the winery is open.
Products:Bourbon and rye whiskeys. Gins: OG, barrel-rested; and pink gin aged on lees in red wine barrels, all from 100% grape distillate. Vermouth, bitters. Old Tom gin and additional whiskeys are in development.