Sonoma County’s new artisans filling bottles with hard liquor
Drive through Sonoma County, and it’s no mystery why it’s called Wine Country. Vineyards blanket the landscape, with grapevines sprouting from nearly every patch of arable soil, harvested and bottled by more than 425 different wineries across the county.But turn off the main roads of Sonoma and into certain small, anonymous industrial parks, and you’ll discover a surprising new spirit of the county. Or spirits to be exact.
Inside of converted warehouses, repurposed storage units and brand new facilities, a small but increasing number of distilleries are brewing, blending and aging artisanal spirits ranging from vodka and gin to whiskey, bourbon and limoncello. Ten years ago, there wasn’t a single licensed distiller in the county; now there are 13 distilleries producing thousands of cases of hard liquor annually.
Prohibition Spirits/Hello Cello
Fred and Amy Groth combined their love of Sonoma and passion for both the taste and culture around the sweet Italian digestivo of limoncello to start the first spirits company in Sonoma County in 2008. Since then, the couple have expanded their product line like two mad scientists to include more than 30 spirits ranging from gin and vodka to whiskey, rum and an assortment of brandies, including a pumpkin spice blend that Amy declares to be a “holiday in a bottle.” Unique among Sonoma distilleries, Prohibition has a stand-alone tasting room at a separate location from its production facility. The large and welcoming tasting room, in the bucolic Cornerstone marketplace, offers an education in spirits with the near guarantee that you’ll find something you like among their many products.
By Bill Fink
April 19, 2017 Updated: April 28, 2017 4:50pm