While the Bay Area craft brewery boom has been the talk of the town in the past year, there's also a growing movement in craft distilleries, spearheaded by industry pioneers St. George Spirits, Anchor, and Germain-Robin and reinforced by newcomers like Seven Stills. The latest distiller to join this growing group is Falcon Spirits, the brainchild of Farid Dormishian, a former biochemist who developed a passion for distillation while working in a lab that studied ethanol production during his grad-school years at UC Berkeley. He's secured a small space in Richmond, where he's producing his first spirit, a gin called Botanica Spiritvs.
A native of Iran, Dormishian grew up with his Russian grandmother making sour-cherry and apricot brandy in her basement. Over the course of his career as a research scientist in the pharmacological industry, he pursued distillation on the side, bartending, taking classes in distilling, essential oils, and perfumery, and starting a small winery, Catalpa Creek, with friends. Two years ago, he decided to devote himself to spirits full-time, and Falcon was born shortly thereafter.
The Botanica Spiritvs ($40 retail) is the result of years of research, over the course of which Dormishian individually distilled more than 50 herbs and spices and 600 pounds of local bergamot, Meyer lemon, and grapefruit to ascertain the best combination. The components are added to a neutral spirit and left to rest for about three weeks, after which it's brought down to proof with distilled water frozen with macerated fresh cucumber. The resulting gin has been popular with East Bay bars in particular, and can be found at Plum, A Coté, Duende, Pican, and Bar Dogwood, among others. In SF, it's carried by Jardiniére, Foreign Cinema, The Slanted Door, Nopa, and Aziza. Though only 1,500 bottles were initially made, Dormishian also has put a small number of bottles up for sale at retail, with K&L Wine Merchants, Cask, and the Jug Shop carrying the product.
Dormishian already has a second product ready to go: a raspberry liqueur made with fresh local raspberries, which he's planning to sell later this year. Other projects he's working on include a rum and a vapor-infused whiskey with rosemary and angelica root; he'd also like to expand on his original gin by creating an Old Tom gin with no added sugar. The distillery space is small, leaving Dormishian currently without space for a tasting room, but he says he may consider adding one in the future if demand is high. He's also producing liquor for others, including the most recent batch of Firelit coffee liqueur (initially distilled at St. George), and a couple of under-wraps projects, including a take on Fernet from a notable name.
· Falcon Spirits [Official website]