St. George Spirits: Taking Flight at Naval Air Station Alameda

Distillery California

St. George Spirits is located on the old Alameda Naval Air Station, in a hangar that previously housed the Firebirds, an A-6 squadron. Distiller Lance Winters once worked on the base as a nuclear engineer. He’s been with St. George since 1994 and manages a massive space that includes copper pot stills, racked barrels, a lab and tasting room.


Distillery California
St. George Spirits resides in Alameda, near San Francisco Bay, and features a clear view of the city.

Port California
Turn to the right to find the Port of Oakland, directly across the Inner Harbor.

Distillers California
Lance Winters and wife Ellie took a rare break from St. George Spirits operations to pose with the still.

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Copper pot stills star in the cavernous character-rich space.

Distillery California
We found an unexpected guest at St. George Spirits, a model for the massive mako-esque shark that tussled with Samuel L. Jackson in “Deep Blue Sea.”

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One side of the hangar houses barrels filled with brandy, single malts and rums, but as Lance Winters said, “We treat palettes of barrels like little kids move legos.”

In April, 2011, Lance Winters and Dave Smith traveled to Kentucky and brought back 300 barrels.

Spirits California
Glass silos of ingredients including star anise, stinging nettle, hyssop, lemon balm, fennel, meadow sweet and wormwood contribute to Absinthe Verte.

Spirits California
We saw jars of raw materials for St. George Botanivore Gin, a 19-ingredient blend that includes ground cinnamon, caraway seeds and cardamom pods.

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We joined Lance Winters in the St. George lab, where he was distilling bourbon with popcorn to demonstrate scientific principles.

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The St. George Spirits tasting room offers “Basic Training” for $15, featuring pours of Terroir “Mt. Tam” Gin, Breaking & Entering Bourbon, St. George Absinthe Verte and more.

Buddha's Hand California
For Halloween, St. George Spirits goes all out on tasting room decorations, including body parts that “decorate” jars of Buddha’s hand, which they source from Exeter.

Spirit California
Firelit Coffee Liqueur combines a brandy base with cold brew coffee. In this batch, they used Four Barrel, but in the past, they’ve used Blue Bottle, Verve and Weavers.

Spirit California
They just distilled brandy from 120,000 pounds of Williams pears and in past years reached 250,000 pounds.

Address: 2601 Monarch Street, Alameda, CA 94501

St. George Spirits: Taking Flight at Naval Air Station Alameda

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Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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