5 Bay Area Distilleries That Lift Our Spirits
St. George Spirits' distillery in Alameda. (Courtesy of St. George)

5 Bay Area Distilleries That Lift Our Spirits


As cocktail connoisseurs explore the Bay Area's beverage bounty and continue to reach for the ever-more unconventional libation, local creators of spirits feel the demand for innovation.

Unfortunately for our livers, distillers have risen to the occasion, experimenting with new techniques and ingredients in a never-ending hustle to secure a coveted spot at the bar, where we can't help but order them over some obnoxiously large orb of ice.

These days distilleries are putting twists on millennia-old traditions because a GNS (grain neutral spirit) is one thing, but what one does with it before it goes into the bottle is where the real artistry comes into play.

Here are five of our favorite Bay Area craft distilleries pushing the elixir envelope right now. Pay them a visit and collect some spirit-sipping tips and tidbits about the hooch Smitty's been mixing into your fancy cocktails—specifically the ones that take forever to make. So what are you waiting for? We've got lots of drinking, we mean research, to do.

Anchor Distilling Company

(Courtesy of alesunlimited.com)

Anchor Brewery is well known and loved for its beers and sold-out brewery tours, but while our very own craft-beer pioneer was recently purchased by Japan's Sapporo Holdings Ltd. for $85 million, the lesser known Anchor Distilling Co. is still very much alive and well.

Situated atop the brewery, the Anchor Distilling tasting room and garden is finally open to the public after 23 years of operating in the shadow of its big beer brother. An hour-long tasting ($35) begins with a multi-sensory tour of the edible garden, laden with the lush botanicals that flavor Anchor's lineup of iconic vodkas, gin and whiskey. After you've taken in the fabulous views of downtown and the Bay Bridge (and had the epiphany that raw herbs often smell better than they taste), grab a seat in the intimate Barbary Coast–inspired tasting room and let one of Anchor's beverage experts regale you with stories from the brand's history. Did you know Anchor was previously owned by Fritz Maytag, the washing machine guy? Yep, Maytag and his team secretly distilled America's first 100 percent rye whiskey and craft gin.

// 1705 Mariposa Street (Potrero Hill), anchordistilling.com

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