Barrelflag Rum Now Available!

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We have rolled out batch 0001 of Navy Strength Rum and here is a list of spots you can find it as of today!

*Recent Additions:
On-Premise: Quartyard (East Village), Jose’s Courtroom (La Jolla)
Off-Premise: Krisp (Downtown & Golden Hill)

Liquor Stores

  • Krisp / Best Damn Beer Shop (Downtown)
  • Krisp (Golden Hill)

Bars & Restaurants

  • Quartyard (East Village)
  • Jose’s Courtroom (La Jolla)

MaiTai

Ingredients

Evaporated Cane Juice, Demerara Sugar, Premium Grad Molasses & Brewer’s Yeast.

Tasting notes

With a nose of crème brûlée, vanilla and coconut that contrast background shades of grassy vegetation. This 114 proof rum does a great job of staying easy sipping while packing a distinctive flavor. On the palate you get a deep caramel and honey body, followed up by complex dark molasses notes of baking spice, butter and lightly roasted coffee with lingering hints of tropical fruit and pepper spice.

History Lesson

The term “Navy Strength” comes from the days when sailors underway were given two “tots” of rum per day. In order to assure the sailors that they were not being gipped out of alcohol the rum was proofed at 114 or above, the strength at which gunpowder would still ignite when soaked with spirit. Proving the quartermaster was above board with their rum ration.

Recommended Cocktails

Even at 57% ABV this rum can be subtle & delicious in a classic daiquiri (2 oz Barrelflag, ¾ oz Lime, ½ oz Cane Syrup) or take you to new levels in more “tiki” oriented drinks: Zombie, Navy Grog (obviously), or Mai Tai. It really shines in a Ti’ Punch or a straight-forward Mojito.

 

San Miguel Available in San Diego!

San Miguel SD Skyline

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We alfave rolled out batch 0005 of San Miguel Southwestern Gin and here is a list of spots you can find it as of today!

*Recent Additions:
On-Premise: True North, Jimmy’s Famous, Cowboy Star.
Off-Premise: Holiday Wine Cellar, PW Market, Village Spirit Shoppe.

Liquor Stores  *online purchases*

  • Keg n Bottle #2 (College Area)  *BUY IT ONLINE*
  • Krisp / Best Damn Beer Shop (Downtown)
  • Grapes & Hops (Downtown)
  • Wine Bank (Downtown)
  • Logan Market (East Village)
  • Golden Hill Market (Golden Hill)
  • City Liquor (Banker’s Hill)
  • Newport Farms (Ocean Beach)
  • OB Quick Stop (Ocean Beach)
  • Sea Trader (Ocean Beach)
  • Stars & Stripes (Point Loma)
  • Sand n Sea (Point Loma)
  • Riviera (Point Loma)
  • Baron’s Market (Point Loma)
  • Boulevard Liquor (City Heights)
  • Pacific Liquor (North Park)
  • Glenn’s Market (North Park)
  • Parkside Market (North Park)
  • Fatboy’s Deli (North Park)
  • Handy Liquor (Normal Heights)
  • Quality Spirits (Normal Heights) *BUY IT ONLINE*
  • Boulevard Wine & Spirits (City Heights)
  • California Liquor (South Park)
  • Park Place Liquor (Coronado)
  • High Tide Bottle Shop (Coronado)
  • Central Liquor (Coronado)
  • Krisp (Golden Hill)
  • Falcon Liquor (Mission Hills)

  • Mission Hills Liquor (Mission Hills)
  • Sunshine Liquor (Point Loma)
  • Riviera Liquor (Point Loma)
  • Chip’s Liquor (Mission Beach)
  • Keg n Bottle # 9 (La Mesa) *BUY IT ONLINE*
  • Palm Springs Liquor (La Mesa)
  • Linda Liquor (Linda Vista)
  • Par Liquor (Clairemont Mesa)
  • Old Town Liquor (Old Town) *BUY IT ONLINE*
  • K&L Liquor (BayHo)
  • Plaza Wine & Spirits (Mira Mesa)
  • Convoy Liquor (Kearny Mesa)
  • Mesa Liquor (Kerney Mesa)
  • Wine Time (La Jolla)
  • Spirits of St. Germain (La Jolla)
  • WHOLE FOODS MARKET (Encinitas)
  • Village Spirit Shoppe (Encintas)
  • Leucadia Liquor (Encinitas)
  • Royal Liquor (Encinitas)
  • Mar Vista (Cardiff by the Sea)
  • Albertson’s (Rancho Penasquitos)
  • Baron’s (Rancho Penasquitos)
  • Holiday Wine Cellar (Escondido) *BUY IT ONLINE*
  • Distiller’s Outlet (Poway)
  • PW Market (Poway)
  • Baron’s (Alpine)
  • Big Ben Market (National City)
  • Daniel’s Apple Market (Bonsall)

Bars & Restaurants  *on menu*

  • Bottega Americano (East Village) *MENU*
  • Monkey Paw Brewing & Pub (East Village)
  • Cowboy Star (East Village)
  • Rare Form & Fairweather (East Village) *MENU*
  • Comun (East Village)
  • Halcyon Coffee (East Village) *MENU*
  • Stella Public House (East Village) *MENU*
  • East Village Tavern & Bowl (East Village)
  • Half Door Brewing Co (East Village)
  • Basic Pizza (East Village)
  • Neighborhood (East Village) *MENU*
  • Noble Experiment (East Village)
  • El Dorado (East Village) *MENU*
  • Quartyard (East Village)
  • The Nectar Room / Hive (East Village) *MENU*
  • Magnolia Tap & Kitchen (East Village)
  • Dradon’s Den Sushi (East Village)
  • Panama 66 (Balboa Park) *MENU*
  • Ironside Fish & Oyster (Little Italy) *MENU*
  • Kettner Exchange (Little Italy)
  • Juniper & Ivy (Little Italy) *MENU*
  • Davanti Enoteca (Little Italy) *MENU*
  • Don Chido (Downtown)
  • La Puerta (Downtown)
  • Whiskey Girl (Downtown)
  • Henry’s Pub (Downtown) *MENU*
  • Lion’s Share (Downtown) *MENU*
  • Ciro’s Pizza (Downtown)
  • Prohibition (Downtown)
  • JSix (Downtown)
  • Stone Brewing Airport (Airpot Terminal 1)
  • Banker’s Hill Airport (Airport Terminal 2)
  • Artisan Marker (Airport Terminal 2)

  • Sycamore Den (Normal Heights)
  • URBN Pizza (North Park) *MENU*
  • Polite Provisions (North Park)
  • Jayne’s Gastropub (North Park) *MENU*
  • Cantina Mayahuel (North Park)
  • Lafayette Hotel (North Park)
  • Coin-Op (North Park) *MENU*
  • Seven Grand (North Park)
  • The Office (North Park)
  • Heat Bar & Kitchen (North Park) *MENU*
  • True North (North Park)
  • Park & Rec (University Heights) *MENU*
  • S&M Sausage & Meat *MENU*
  • Counterpoint (South Park) *MENU*
  • Whistle Stop (Southpark)
  • Salt & Cleaver (Hillcrest)
  • Local Habit (Hillcrest)
  • Starlite (Mission Hills)
  • Home & Away (Old Town)
  • Sidecar (Bay Ho)
  • Coronado Golf Course (Coronado)
  • Session’s Public (Point Loma)
  • Jimmy’s Famous (Point Loma)
  • Harbor Town (Point Loma)
  • Raglan Public House (Ocean Beach)
  • The Duck Dive (Pacific Beach) *MENU*
  • The Local PB (Pacific Beach) 
  • Pillbox Tavern (Solana Beach) *MENU*
  • Beaumont’s (La Jolla) *MENU*
  • Jose’s Courtroom (La Jolla) *MENU*
  • The Biergardern (Encinitas) *MENU*
  • Manhattan (Chula Vista)
  • La Tequila (Chula Vista)
  • The Compass (Carlsbad)

We are constantly updating this list. Stay tuned!

If your local watering hole or favorite independent liquor store is not on this list PLEASE ask them to pick up a bottle or a case of San Miguel Southwestern Gin. It honestly makes a difference. They can email info@oldharbordistilling.com if they have any questions about pricing or availability.

Our plan is to start only in San Diego at the beginning to work out the kinks of the distribution game, then slowly creep our way up the coast and eventually out of the state and maybe someday out of the country. We are big believers in slow growth and the Japanese business philosophy of kaizen, which means “good change,” in which we are constantly striving to improve our business practices and products from the production floor to the board room.

San Miguel SD Skyline

 

Tours Now Available!

Still Photo Tours

The Old Harbor Distilling Company Tour!

Still Photo Tours

You can now visit the Old Harbor Distilling Company warehouse, experience our spirits in person and be disappointed when we tell you that, “No, you cannot buy bottles directly from us, and you will have to wait like everyone else for our distributor to get them to your local liquor store or bar.” We are working diligently to get our product to market, but this is a way for you to experience it before everyone else!

We are offering “soft opened” tours of the Old Harbor facility on Fridays and Saturdays at 5PM & 6PM.

You can schedule them here: Tour Reservation Page

This form is for reservations only. Pay in advance of showing up or we will not be there.
Please sign up and try not to show up unannounced

We are currently in “Softly Opened” mode!

Tasting Glass

For the “soft opening” we only have our San Miguel Southwestern Gin on hand, but we are working on the rest of our line up everyday! San Miguel is distilled with the freshest botanicals available via local farms and should please both gin-enthusiasts and gin-newcomers alike. You will get a full tour of the facility, six 1/4 ounce tastes and a take home tasting glass!

We are discounting the tour by $5 until we add more spirits and finish the buildout out the facility. So only come if you are truly eager to see what we have been up to!

Christening The Still

The Belefonte

Champagne

September 28th, 2014

We had our soft opening this past Sunday at Old Harbor Distilling Company. Many of our friends and family came out to support our endeavor. My good friend Matt Lyons of Tribute Pizza came out to sling the best pies in all the seven seas. It has been 108 weeks of hard work to get to this point. For the last nine months my good friend and VP of Operations, Ricky Warner, has been helping me out a ton. Over the last few weeks I have had an outpouring of support from friends: Mikey, Jeff, Gareth, Cody, Greg, Kevin, Kaylie, Jason, Dieter, and I am sure many more who I am forgetting. My Mom & Dad and Grandparents have supported me through it all as well. It takes a village they say.

The date September 28th was very important for me, it has been a goal of mine to open on this day because it has some real historical significance, not only for San Diego but California. Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo landed on our shores on this day in 1542. He went on to christen the port, San Miguel, after the saint whose feast had taken place the day before. We also released our Southwestern Gin, which is aptly titled San Miguel, this day. So in a way that makes it historical for us too!

Naming the Still

Like any good ship, we decided that it would be appropriate for our still to have a proper name. Something nautical, classic, perhaps not too serious. The choices were from epic tales: Moby Dick, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou & 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

The Pequod

The Pequod

A Nantucket Whaler, she has seen many years of use and it is apparent. She has three masts, all of which are replacements due to a typhoon off the coast of Japan. Many parts have been replaced by whale bones. It is weathered and rough, but has a certain nobility to it. The “cursed” ship of Captain Ahab, he stopped at nothing to capture his white whale, we would not have stopped at anything to catch our White Whale either… damn tasty craft spirits!

The Belefonte

The Belafonte

She was a long range sub-hunter during the second world war, which was bought from the US Government for 900,000 Dollars. The sauna was designed by an engineer from the Chinese Space Program & they keep a Swedish masseuse on staff. It has a top notch research library, including a complete original set of the Life Aquatic Companion Series. There are two Albano scouts that swim with the ship, they are supposedly very intelligent, but have never seen any hints of it.

The Natilus

The Nautilus

Designed and fabricated by Captain Nemo himself. The Nautilus is a ship of unimaginable capabilities. Double hulled with further separated internal compartments, she can obtain speeds up to 50 knots. The submarine has a pointed ramming rod that it uses for attacks. It is not with out many luxuries however: a library with boxed collections of valuable oceanic specimens that are unknown to science at the time, expensive paintings, and several collections of jewels. It’s parts are built to order around the world then brought to a desert island to be fabricated by Nemo’s men. In some way’s our distillery was fashioned in the same manner.

The Winner

THE BELAFONTE!!!

That means that our fermentors will be named for it’s crew: Ned “Kingsley” Zissou, Klaus Daimler & Pele dos Santos. We will add more crew members in the near future.

Old Harbor Warehouse

Warehouse BWThe Old Harbor Warehouse is a clear span building much like an aeroplane hangar. It is located on 17th & K Street in the East Village of San Diego, California. We came to decision that this was the space for us for a number of reasons:  Location.  Size.  Layout &  Materials.

East Village

Location

East Village is in our eyes, the next frontier for development in San Diego. When you look at the above photo there is a clear difference in height between the Gaslamp Quarter/Marina/Civic Core/Columbia and East Village. There are about 13 new high rises going into EV over the next few years along with lots of new businesses and restaurants. We want to be a catalyst for the area by bringing some local flavors to our hood. Beyond that we are a few blocks from the San Diego Harbor from which we take our name.

Size

Spanning one hundred by seventy-five feet for a total of 7,500 square feet this space is considerably larger than any start up distillery would need. However we are in this for the long haul and intend to be able to add additional still capacity while having room for all the barrels and infrastructure needed to support producing a goodly sum of whiskey, rum, gin and the like.

Old Harbor Layout

Layout

This was a clear span warehouse. Which means we could pretty much do anything we wanted inside. This allowed us to design the space to our specifications. The only existing structure in the warehouse was the top right room, which unfortunately was not up to current code, so we got to tear it out and replace it with a fire-code friendly room while expanding the restroom to meet current ADA standards. We also added the tasting room, entrance, two offices, proofing room, bottling room, finished product storage room, sump pump room & a brand new emergency exit!

Walls

Materials

We believe that whiskey is greatly altered by the environment in which it ages. Specifically temperature and humidity will effect the evaporation rates of water and ethanol out of the barrel. It’s a complicated subject that we will get into later, but ideally there will be fairly wide temperature swings over short-ish periods of time. Our building is made out of concrete & corrugated steel. We have seen some dramatic temperature changes inside thanks to the huge metal roof that absorbs the suns energy and radiates it into our warehouse while the large concrete floor and open air expanse of the warehouse will allow it to cool drastically during the night.

Distilling: Legal History – Pt. 1

MoonshineWhat is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word—  Distillation? 

  • Moonshine
  • Prohibition
  • Kentucky
  • Scotland
  • Tequila
  • Rum
  • San Diego?

Well, not the last one, but probably a few of those. Generally when someone speaks about distillation the first thoughts that come to mind are going to be speakeasies, backwood stills, bourbon, Scotch, rum, tequila… probably one of the last things that anyone would ever think is San Diego. That makes sense, and I have no intentions to change that… just thought I’d throw it out there.

The question is WHY do these terms come to mind? In our humble opinion; Johnny Law. Revenuers. Taxes. $$$.

Alexander HamiltonAfter the American Revolution the US Federal Government had a pretty big tab left behind. Alexander Hamilton being a moderate drinker himself (three glasses of wine a day max per his doctor’s order) saw the benefit of prescribing a tax upon an article of consumption. If the cost of drinking was too high, a consumer would slow consumption thus demising drunkenness, simultaneously, they could tax alcohol fairly high as most folks are willing to spend a shilling or two per gallon to have a nice drink. This would benefit both the federal government AND the populace… or so he thought.

REBELLION!!!

The Whiskey Tax of 1791 did not make for a happy farmer/distiller, in fact, it sparked a rebellion. The first real test of George Washington’s new democracy. Five hundred Western Pennsylvanian farmers took to arms and stormed the fortified house of federal tax collector, General John Neville, and burned it to the ground. What was these farmer’s beef? Taxation without representation.  A familiar tune to what started the American Revolution. Anyways, if this newly minted government was to survive they could not let a few farmer’s run around willy-nilly opposing taxes. So GW sent a force of 13,000 men to suppress the rebellion. The first real act of our Federal Government showing a willingness to stop violent resistance. Between that rebellion and about 1919 it was moderately smooth sailing, until…

Vote Dry

VOLSTEAD!!!

Alcohol has always had a bit of stigma, in fact as early as 1657 in Massachusetts, there have been laws prohibiting the sale of alcohol and to this day 33 of 50 states still have dry counties. In fact, by 1850 the American Temperance Movement has 1,500,000 members and was growing quickly, but the Civil War kind of put a damper on their movement.  By the election of 1916 there were strong factions in both the Republican and Democratic parties favoring both dry and wet legislation… so like any good Presidential Incumbent Woodrow Wilson ignored the issue, as did his rival. Germany and WWI inadvertently lead to a quicker passage of the 18th Amendment for two reasons: 1- German-Americans were one of the strongest opponents of the law and 2- with lessened agricultural demand we could focus on our supply-chain on the war effort. Somewhat ironically the war ended before the 18th Amendment was even ratified, but it did and on January 17th, 1920 prohibition began.

Gangster

GANGSTERS!!!

Boy, did that go badly. It was estimated that during prohibition 80% of congressmen and senators drank, all the while passing dry bills. How could they not? Prohibition was extremely profitable for those on the take. Organized crime received a major boost from the prohibition of alcohol. Moonshining, racketeering, bootlegging, it was madness. Since alcohol has uses in many industrial processes the Feds ordered that all industrial alcohol be poisoned and when the gangsters figured out how to denature that process they ordered even stronger poisons added! Unfortunately that did not deter everyone from drinking the poisoned hooch and as result an estimated 10,000 would die drinking methanol tainted alcohol before prohibition ended. If one positive effect arose out of prohibition it is that prior to the volstead act drinking was mostly a singularly male activity at saloons. During prohibition drinking became a co-ed event. So there is that, but one thing didn’t stop even after the passage of the 21st Amendment…

SHINERS!!!

Moonshine is still very much alive and well in this country. Turn on the television and you are likely to run into a well-bearded pack of hillbillies making fools of themselves somewhere (No, not Duck Dynasty) but seriously, if your family has been making ‘likker’ for the better part of our county’s history chances are you are not going to stop because some tax-man says so. It is still prevalent in the Appalachians and Southeastern United States and some say it even lead to the invention of stock car racing, but you’ll have to ask Junior Johnson about that one…

Next Issue:

Legal History: Part 2 — Names & Places

Distilling: Legal History – Pt. 2

World Map - OLDLast post we talked about a little US history with regards to production of spiritus alcohol. Today we are going to delve into a broader history, specifically where naming conventions come from and what they mean legally.

WHISKEY!

Water of Life –> Aqua Vitae –> Uisge Beatha, which is pronounced “ooshka bay-ha” and eventually evolved in the the word whiskey or whisky which we are familiar with today. What is whiskey? Any cereal grain that has been fermented and distilled. Various locations have their own CFRs (Codes for Recognition) such as Scotland where Scotch Single Malt Whisky (sans the ‘e’) must be made with 100% malted barley and made in SCOTLAND or Bourbon which adhere to a number of strict guidelines; 51% corn & new barrels (among other requirements) and made in the USA. See where this is going?

agaveTEQUILA!

Which is a more specific type of Mezcal, was created after the Spanish arrived and ran out of brandy. They decided to try turning the indigenous drink of pulque, which is fermented agave juice, into something a little stronger using techniques learned in the old country. Tequila (which means ‘the rock that cuts’) can only be produced around the town of Tequila in the state of JALISCO. Mezcal can be made anywhere in OAXACA, but not anywhere outside of Mexico technically.

BRANDY!

Derived from the Dutch word for ‘burnt wine’ — brandewijn and it is pretty much what it sounds like, cooked or burnt wine. Essentially any fruit sugar that is fermented in distilled. There are number of brandies that have names with controlled designations of origin. Cognac can only be produced in the areas surround COGNAC, France. Calvados is apple brandy that is made in NORMANDY, France, this would be called Applejack in the USA. The list of types of brandy goes on and on: slivovitz, armagnac, pisco, metaxa, kirschwasser, but essentially they are all Eau de Vie created from sugars derived from fruit. We will go into further detail about some of these spirits at a later date.

sugarcaneRUM!

The history of rum is a pretty complex one and it will get it’s own post. In essence it is any hard liquor derived from sugar cane or it’s byproducts. There are a few regional varieties: Cachaça which is made from sugar cane juice, not molasses and can only be made in BRAZIL. Rhum Agricole Martinique may only be produced on the island of MARTINIQUE. Aguardiente is a little more loosely defined, but generally it is made from a sugar-must and can have additional flavors added.

GIN!

Originating in France as genièvre, or jenever in Holland, but both mean Juniper, which broadly speaking is what makes gin, GIN. There a number of location based names for Jenever you recognized in the European Union. There are a really two “distinct” varieties of gin recognized: Compound Gin–which is simply adding flavors or essences of botanicals to distilled spirits. Distilled Gin–which is actually introducing juniper and other botanicals via distillation. Genièvre can be very similar to your typical gin and that would be classified as a Jonge (or young) Jenever because it uses a neutral grain spirit as the base or there is the Oude (or old) style that uses something that would be more closely associated with a white whiskey as a base or more grain forward flavored with botanicals. They both can have sugar added to sweeten them up as well.

Industrial Column StillVODKA!

Vodka comes from the Slavic word meaning “little water” which makes sense since there is only a little water (less than 5%) left in the distillate. The main legal definition is that vodka must be distilled to 190 proof / 95% ABV and be neutral in flavor and aroma. It can be made from any of the  sources above: grain, fruit, sugar, honey, potatoes, really anything that can be converted into a fermentable sugar.

So…

Now you know a little bit about the various types of spiritus alcohol. As a Distilled Spirit Producer there a number of limitations as to what I can name my spirits. If I want to make a Mezcal it would have to be called “Agave Spirit” SEXY! If I want to make a Genièvre it would be designated “Genever-style” HIP! If I want to create a Cachaça it would go by the title “Agricultural Rum” FANCY! That doesn’t mean we cannot make any type of spirit we want, it just limits us from a nomenclature standpoint.

Why do all these various locations have protected names for their alcohol? To protect the profit for the producers and the taxes for the country of origin.

NEXT ISSUE:

Legal Environment Today: Part 1.