Florida is known more for rum than bourbon, but some distilleries produce the spirit in the Sunshine State. The fact of the matter is Florida ranks first in the production of sweet corn and has a suitable climate to make different varieties.
We continue with Part 6 of The Bourbon Flight’s Bourbon Distilleries Across America series, which explores distilleries throughout the United States. This series will introduce bourbon lovers to both known and unknown distilleries.
This is simply an informative piece, not a review, since we have yet to sample the bourbons. We want to inform readers that distilling bourbon is a nationwide love. Tradition and passion run through each bottle of bourbon, from Elmer T. Lee to the unknown distiller.
We cannot highlight every distillery in a state, but we will certainly try to bring the most helpful information to you. We plan on highlighting two states in each Original Pour.
Keep checking back to see when your state is highlighted. We are going in alphabetical order.
30A Distilling Co.—Santa Rosa Beach, Florida
Highway 30A is known for its white, sandy beaches and crystal-clear water, but now you can enjoy a bourbon while you gaze at the beautiful shoreline. The distillery was founded in 2015 by Brian Rabon. His belief in raising a glass to life’s best moments prompted him to open a tasting room in 2022.
The tasting room events feature a VIP private distillery tour and tasting as well as a public option. Each tour provides knowledge of the distilling process with a sampling at the end. One sample is the Blue Mountain Beach Bourbon Batch 1, aged four years and cut with pure water and nothing else.
Other spirit options are the Blue Mountain Beach Bourbon Batch 2 at a lower proof and Blue Mountain Beach Bourbon Cream, which will go quite nicely over ice cream overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. Whatever option you pick, you will be happy you did.
Dark Door Spirits—Tampa, Florida
Co-founders Matthew Allen and Brandon Marshall had one simple goal in mind in 2018: to create a damn good product. Starting off brewing beer and eventually distilling spirits, this duo has amassed a cult-like following.
Using Aeva Labs to age, finish, infuse and refine its spirits, Dark Door is cutting out the aging time. Skeptical? The distillery has produced two award-winning whiskeys in three months without sourcing. Spirit of the Oak and the Shareholder’s Barrel are the two bourbons produced at the facility, each made by using Aeva Labs.
The distillery offers whiskey experience tours and cocktail classes to sample this innovative whiskey.
James Two Brothers Distillery—Ocala, Florida
The distillery is family owned and operated by the James brothers, Tim and Paul. Sadly, Tim passed away in May 2018 from complications due to COPD. Founded in 2018, the small boutique micro-distillery produces some fine spirits due to Ocala’s pure natural water springs.
The company offers monthly tasting tours on the second Saturday of the month. You can find the distillery on Florida’s Craft Distillery Trail, which currently features 39 distilleries.
What makes James Two Brothers distinctive is their create-your-own spirit online tutorial. They offer the mash and choice of whiskey, and bottling and label design are also included in the package.
Kozuba & Sons Distillery—St. Petersburg, Florida
The Kozuba family began their distillery in Poland in 2012, becoming the first family-operated distillery in the country. Two years later, the family migrated to Florida and set up shop in St. Petersburg’s Grand Central District.
Since the opening, they have increased in size and created a venue that can be used as a formal or laid-back setting, with restaurant-style seating and a black and white décor. In the back, the production side incorporates towering stills to produce whiskey and vodka.
The small-batch bourbon is distilled in hybrid copper stills, then aged for over three years. The distillery only released seven barrels of the spirit. Once your bourbon itch has been satisfied, visit the merchandise store located on the property to buy flasks, keychains or ready-to-drink cocktail boxes.
Loaded Cannon Distillery—Bradenton, Florida
Loaded Cannon Distillery opened in 2019, becoming the first distillery in Manatee County.
The tasting room shines light into the distilling process through glass panes behind a reclaimed wooden bar. A pirate theme runs throughout the distillery and the space is decorated with skulls, sabers and a loaded cannon ship on the side wall.
With tours, tastings and events, this distillery has what most spirited visitors want. Its bourbon offering is named Carlota’s Revenge, after a beautiful lady kidnapped by a pirate named Miguel Pascal. As she took her own life as revenge, it is believed that she still haunts the Manatee River.
St. Augustine Distillery—St. Augustine, Florida
Established in 2013 and family-owned and operated, St. Augustine distills and bottles everything they sell. A restaurant and distillery will surely entertain visitors in one building.
Recently, the distillery opened the Spirit of Florida Experience, where guests can learn about the history of bourbon and the St. Augustine Distillery. The distillery produced its first bourbon in 2016 and it was the first to be put in the barrel in Florida. Since then, they have racked up numerous awards for their spirits, including the 2016 Los Angeles International Spirits Competition, the 2016 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, and the 2015 American Craft Spirits Association Competition.
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