- Winters, shown here, is managing the botanical basket atop their fourth and largest still, originally manufactured for distilling absinthe. Now, they use it for making gin as well.
- While absinthe, in its bottled state, is a usually a faded, yellow-green color, here's what it looks like in its initial state: a bright, transparent green. The liquid gets its color from the natural chlorophyll, which eventually fades out over time.
- Winters stores distilled experiments in the green jugs on shelves he built himself. Some of the most interesting spirits are distilled from banana, kumquat and cucumber. He adds, “Anybody can make something to get you drunk and most can make something smo
- The 65,000 square-foot distillery has four German-imported stills, used for making all of St. George's craft spirits and liqueurs including whiskey, eau de vie, rum agrcole, absinthe, gin, and more.
- After operating a nuclear power plant during his 8-year term in the Navy, Master Distiller Lance Winters worked at various brew pubs and then began brewing and distilling at home. Soon enough, he had an aha moment, realizing brewing beer was half the way
- Any idea that Winters has begins creation in the two custom-built, hand-hammered German stills in his lab. Currently, he’s distilling bristlecone pine needles from a 4,000 year old tree for the Long Now Foundation. Originally, he was going to turn it into
- For the Bay Area Science Festival, Winters experimented with “popcorn bourbon,” which he's shown stirring here. According to him, popping corn instigates the same initial process of gelatinizing the corn starches as the traditional bourbon-distilling meth
- Instead of directly adding the juniper berries to the still, as most gin manufacturers do, he adds them to this botanical basket, which he says “allows us to get the elegant qualities of the juniper berries without the acrid qualities.” Winters adds, “I h
- They are about to release their 30th Anniversary Edition Single Malt Whiskey, composed of spirits from the oldest heritage barrels, and finished in a pear brandy barrel. With only 715 bottles produced, it will be their smallest single malt release yet.
Located inside a former military hangar, St. George Spirits has continued to pioneer the spirits world over its 30 years in existence, and their wide portfolio of products has recently received national applause from high-visibility types like Anthony Bourdain and GQ. Today Eater goes behind-the-scenes at the Alameda distillery, into the lab of the mad scientist behind it all, Lance Winters himself. Flip through the gallery above for a peek at the distillery's 30th ans. very limited whiskey, a look at pure, unadulterated absinthe, and the method behind Winters' "popcorn bourbon," which actually involves popping corn. Also: don't miss the list of ahead-of-the-curve spirits Winters is experimenting with now, below.
· Amaro: a multi-step infusion of herbs, spices, and natural substances including wormwood, cinchona bark, turkey rhubarb, and white turmeric, blended in varying proportions
· Japanese shochu: Using distilled Central California white rice that "smells like cashews, pistachio, and chocolate" and is flavored by koji, a mold that grows on the rice
· California Bourbon: composed entirely of organic California corn, rye, and barley
· California Rye: composed of all California, organic rye