First bourbon barreled in Florida since Prohibition goes on sale in St. Augustine

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- There's a new product coming to the Sunshine State, and it's being made right here on the First Coast.

The St. Augustine Distillery has unveiled its Florida Double Cask Bourbon; the first bourbon to be barreled in Florida since Prohibition.

The project has been several years in the making and required the help of some well-known experts to make the release possible.  Jake Norris, founding distiller of Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey, developed the mash bill. Dave Pickerell, former master distiller of Maker's Mark, designed the production facility and managed the final blending.

The bourbon has been aging in large wood oak barrels since December 2013, four months before the distillery officially opened up to the public.

"The challenge to making whiskey is you have to make it today, but you can't sell it for several years. That why we produced vodka, and gin, and rum, because we wanted something that we could create a customer base, but also generate some money while these aged," said Philip McDaniel, co-owner of the distillery.

Located in what was the historic Florida Power & Light Company ice plant, the distillery has become a go-to spot for locals and people taking a trip to the historic city.

Trip Advisor currently has it ranked #1 for 'things to do in St. Augustine'.

McDaniel said they've invested close to $3 million to bring their distillery dream to life. The facility was designed with an open concept in mind, giving people the chance to take a free tour and watch as various spirits are mixed, mashed, booked, and distilled.

"We wanted to create an experience and show people from the farm to the bottle, how spirits are made," McDaniel said.

Head distiller Lucas Smith has been involved in the bourbon-making process from start to finish. 
The spirits in the first bourbon release range from 16 to 28 months, and he's excited for customers to have their first taste.

"It's got a spicy note to it that comes from our barley, the malted barley. That's going to give it that spice. Some people perceive it as cinnamon."

But, don't expect this bourbon to taste like other brands made out of state. Florida's heat and humidity has created some unique flavors that can't be duplicated anywhere else.

"Our barrels don't get cool. They don't necessarily rest, so we get a lot of the wood, the color, and extraction much faster than they do in other states, which makes for richer, complex flavors," McDaniel said.

Florida Double Cask Bourbon will officially go on-sale Friday morning inside the distillery's gift shop at 8 a.m. and costs $50 per bottle.

Customers interested in getting a bottle a day early have until 8 p.m. Thursday to go to the distillery and give the password '93.8 PROOF' to the cashier.

Click here to learn more about the St. Augustine Distillery.


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