The state of California is often thought of as the incubator of new ideas, spreading their innovations to the rest of world. Brothers Spirits Distillery, in the heart of Santa Barbara County, exemplifies this ideal. Their “laboratory”, as they call it, strives to push the boundaries of the art of crafting spirits.
A different kind of vodka
In the middle of wine country, Jay, the founder and head distiller of the Brothers Spirits Distillery, produces a Vodka made out of local wine that’s aged in new American oak barrels. Is your mouth watering yet? Wait until it hits your tongue and transports your palate to another spirits universe. The sweetness of the Brothers Vodka, filtered through coconut shell charcoal, tricks you into thinking you’re tasting a Bourbon. The same Vodka is also used to make both the Brothers G7 Gin and the Brothers Limancello, giving them the perfect smooth base.
History and traditions of spirits
However inventive their spirits become, there is always a respect and keeping with tradition. Their distillery’s aesthetic doesn’t stray too far from their roots either; the tasting area will remind you of a saloon out of an old Western movie, with some modern touches and local art for flare. Jay also offers an impressive history lesson: from the Persian roots of distilling essential oils that led to the art of distilling spirits today, to the American Whiskey Rebellion that took place in 1791 when the newly elected American federal government decided for the first time in history to tax a domestic product, spirits.
The company’s dedication to marrying tradition with innovation led to their Agave Azul, a true Californian Tequila. The Mexican influence on the state’s general way of life and the abundance of wine are the two main players in this recipe: The 100% certified organic agave tequilana is grown in Mexico, where it is also cooked and squeezed into a juice that Jay receives in Buellton. He then ferments it, distills it three times, and ages it in red wine barrels to give it a one-of-a-kind finish.
Word of mouth
The entrepreneur has owned all kinds of businesses from popcorn production to athletic clubs, always dealing with at least some competition in that particular market. However, he admits there is no competition among the various microdistilleries since they each have such distinct products: “we each have our own input and try to bring new things to the table.” Choosing instead to trust in his unique product, he hasn’t invested too much in expensive marketing and relies more on word of mouth with the help of online-review platforms.
So far, he seems to be doing just fine as locals and tourists from all over gather in his tasting room to try his newest invention. His key value: making smooth products so that they can be consumed on their own. His products are sold locally so everyone across the valley can enjoy.