What's All The Craft Distillery Tasting Room Buzz?

What’s All That Craft Distillery Tasting Room Buzz?

Have you noticed there’s been some buzz in the news about craft distillery tasting rooms lately? Well, we wanted to take the opportunity to talk about our tasting room throughout the years, how different regulations have affected us, and let you know that we now offer cocktail flights!

Wine and beer tasting rooms are so common in the bay area, this coverage may seem like nothing new. In fact, it’s only been in the last five years or so that some of the most challenging laws to craft distillers’ success, leftover from prohibition and the development of the three-tier system, have  been called into question here in California. These changes have included laws that also most definitely make the experience better and more complete for the consumer in craft distillery tasting rooms.

Here at Spirit Works Distillery, since day one, we have had a tasting room and pour tastes of our spirits (some of you OG fans may remember our now Head Distiller, Lauren Patz, running the show in there). Our goal with our tasting room (now run by the inimitable Amanda Graziano and her team) has always been to offer full transparency into our grain to glass process with views into our entire production area, sips of splendidly distilled spirits, interaction with educated staff, and comprehensive tours. Yet for our first year, we couldn’t legally charge for those educational tastings. Even more challenging, was that we were legally prohibited from selling any of our spirits to all the awesome people who came in and fell in love with our spirits. Weird huh?

Well, luckily, with help from Representative Skinner and Levine as well as the California Artisan Distillers Guild, restrictions began to loosen on how craft spirits can be sold. In 2013 AB 933 passed into law which allowed craft distilleries to begin to charge for their tastings. This probably seems like a no-brainer, but was a big win for the small guys like us! Then, at the end of 2015, with our very own Timo Marshall as President of the California Artisan Distillers Guild, further legislation was passed that allowed distilleries to…wait for it…sell our spirits directly to the consumers from our tasting room! I can’t tell you the amount of people we had to let down over the years and send them away without a bottle in hand before this change. Finally, SB1164 was also passed just recently this year to allow craft distilleries, among a few other things, to sell spirits to consumers directly, even if they haven’t had a ‘educational tasting’. Yay — to all of this!

What else would we really like to see change? We would LOVE the ability to ship our spirits to consumers directly — one can always dream…Right? Can you imagine how cool our Spirits Club would become and how many more of you could have our spirits wherever and whenever you want!?!

Anyway, in all this reflecting, we got really in the spirit to further improve our tasting room experience for our customers and fans and we now offer delicious cocktail flights!

Join us in the tasting room for a cocktail menu designed to highlight our seasonal spirits, tasting room exclusives, and core favorites. We offer cocktail flights for $18 or you can just grab one cocktail for $9!

To check out some of the news mentioned above read –

The Sonoma Magazine piece here and The San Francisco Chronicle piece here.

Cheers to you and the coming holiday season!



Cocktails, craft distillery, legislation, SB1164, Tasting Room