Profile: St. George Spirits, July 20, 2012
St. George Spirits had been on our radars for a while. A great small-batch artisanal distiller located on the edge of the San Francisco Bay at Alameda Point, St. George had first made news with its Hangar One vodka, and then with its Absinthe Verte. (St. George was the first American distillery to bring a legal absinthe to market since the U.S. ban on absinthe was instated in 1912.) Instinctively drawn to whatever company would bring back this storied bad boy of the spirits world, I’d always looked forward to what they’d come up with next.
Let’s start with the physical. Alameda Point is a rough, slightly desolate place, where the hulks of WWII and Cold War-era hangars and buildings have been reborn as sports centers, wood shops, small-scale manufacturing facilities and yes, distilleries. The Point inspires catch-your-breath awe. Is it the sheer space and volume of the structures, or is it the wind-swept beauty of the Bay? It’s probably the juxtaposition of the two. A big tick goes in the exhilaration box and that’s just the parking lot.
The distillery is housed in one of those cavernous old hangars (one that housed a company of attack squadron pilots) and you get the sense that St. George has been infused with the essence of the people who used to work there: with testosterone, (appropriately channeled), with a can-do spirit and an urge to push the envelope, with the passion to do the unexpected, the impossible.