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Friday Fishwrap: Random Jottings at Week's End
St. George Spirits

By Stephen Eliot

I have long thought that those who ferment, brew and distill at the artisan level were among the more passionate and fascinating folk that I know. The best of them might be described as “crazy smart” whose remarkable art is born equally of meticulous craftsmanship and a compulsive need to play outside the lines, and, a recent afternoon with our friends over at St. Georges Spirits in Alameda made me more comfortable yet in my beliefs. We dropped by to witness the birth of the latest Firelit Coffee Liqueur and watched, glass in hand, as distiller Dave Smith began a cold brew of 300 pounds of specially selected aged Mocha Java from Weaver Coffee that will soon be distilled with Chardonnay brandy into the third incarnation of what is without question the finest coffee liqueur ever made.

Now, Firelit is only one of a host of remarkable small-batch spirits made by remarkable people at St. George, and, if asked to come up with a motto for the place, I might lobby for “Hmmm, I wonder if I can distill that?” They say of themselves “we can’t write like Neruda, paint like Cézanne, or dance like Jennifer Beals, but we can express ourselves through distillation. It’s our art form, our passion, and our way of making the world just a little more beautiful. It’s not that we have a short attention span. We just love distilling.” Well, we love what they do and are glad that they do it. Some crazy poets shake their fists at the sky, some, it turns out, make magical spirits.

St. George Spirits was founded in 1982 and has, since 2004, called a hangar in the old Alameda Naval Air Station home. They are open to the public for tours, tastings and emotional support (their words, not mine) and both the place and the people make St. George Spirits a must visit for any who harbor even a glimmer of interest in high-proof art. They welcome guests Wednesday through Saturday from noon to 7:00 PM each day and Sunday from noon until 5:00. The tasting room affords a terrific view of the San Francisco skyline, and they offer a variety of tasting options that run the gamut from their extraordinary Aqua Perfecta Eau-de-Vies to flavored Vodkas, a Single Malt Whiskey, Qi Tea Liqueur and Absinthe. In addition, they will provide privates “classes” in Cocktail Education for larger groups, and, if you ask very nicely, they will host after-hours cocktail parties for up to 75 people. And, if you so choose, they will keep you informed via e-mail of special events and new releases.

If you have not been, it is time to go…and if you have, well, you never know what their band of mad-scientist distillers (their words, not mine) might have new up their sleeves. Give them a call at (510) 864-0635, and you can read their defense at


great tour
by j hutchinson
Posted on:12/22/2015 12:44:38 PM

Vodkas are mode from California pears. Amazing good and presentation at distllery enjoyable.  Location at Alameda is a little sketchy but go during daylight hours.

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