The Iconic Spirits Blog

St. George Spirits: A Tale of Three Gins

April 10, 2013

Tags: st george spirits

Back in 1982, when Jörg Rupf founded St. George Spirits in Alameda, California, the craft distilling movement in this country didn’t exist. Like many other visionaries, Rupf was at least several decades ahead of the societal curve. To make matters more difficult, he decided to focus exclusively on eau de vie, a spirit practically unknown among American consumers.

As the years passed, Rupf became the Godfather of American craft distilling. He won numerous awards for his eau di vie, and trained the next generation of artisan distillers, men such as Steve McCarthy (Clear Creek), Randall Grahm (Bonny Doon) and Fritz Maytag (Anchor Distilling). However, the pivotal moment in the history of St. George was probably the day in 1996 when Lance Winters turned up to apply for a job, with a bottle of homemade whiskey in hand as his resume. (more…)

The Balvenie

April 3, 2013

Tags: the balvenie

The modern firm of William Grant and Sons is a large company that controls nearly two dozen major international alcohol brands, but the historical William Grant had humbler beginnings. Born in 1839 in Dufftown, a village in Scotland’s Speyside region, Grant did stints as a shoemaker, clerk and bookkeeper before deciding to learn the art of distilling. In 1886 he laid the cornerstone for his distillery in the shadow of Balvenie Castle, and remained active in the operation until his death in 1923.

Speyside today has more distilleries than any other region in Scotland, and produces over 40 different malts. These range from the most popular Scotch whiskies in the world (Glenlivet and Glenfiddich) to some of the most prized (The Macallan). Dufftown is located on the River Fiddich, and is home to six major distilleries; the town is fond of describing itself as “The Whisky Capital of the World,” although I can think of a few locales in Kentucky that might take issue with that. The most traditional of those distilleries is The Balvenie. (more…)