Show 409, January 23, 2021: Rob Rubens, Founder & Head Distiller, R6 Distillery, El Segundo

Rob Rubens of R6 DistilleryR6 is a family-owned distillery in the Los Angeles suburb of El Segundo. Founder and Head Distiller Rob Rubens fell in love with the art of distilling after his first (unplanned) trip to New Orleans Rum Distillery. He knew it was time for a change. After spending the better part of a decade in corporate America and realizing that was not his path, Rob visited distilleries and breweries and decided it was time to make waves. Coupling his experience with his desire to bring quality spirits to Los Angeles, Rob opened this speakeasy (Smoky Hollow Tasting & Tap) inspired distillery for everyone to enjoy in 2014.”

“Our process is quite different than most. We use only the purest form of our distillate when producing spirits. This is where most take short cuts and compromise the quality of the product. But we’re about quality – and our promise to you is just that. Each bottle of spirits will be crafted from the “hearts” of our distillate. We stick to doing what is right and what is authentic.”

New is the California Mule in a can and FDA certified hand sanitizer originally created to help mitigate the initial shortage last March with the onset of the pandemic.

Rob is particularly proud of his R6 Blue Corn Bourbon Whiskey aged in new American charred oak barrels. It has already won numerous awards. It’s probably the first “legal” Bourbon created and distilled in Los Angeles County.

In the interests of safety and complying with all COVID 19 restrictions R6 Distillery is open exclusively (Friday through Sunday) for bottle purchases and cocktails & beer to go. The online store can ship R6 spirits to any California address.

 

Show 371, May 2, 2020: Robin Christenson, Co-Founder, Blinking Owl Distillery, Santa Ana

Robin Christenson of Blinking Owl Distillery with her Hand SanitzerThe Blinking Owl Distillery in Santa Ana is the very first craft distillery in Orange County. They also are one of the first distilleries in the state of California to hold the Type 74 Craft Distillers License allowing them to operate their tasting room and sell a few bottles of spirits. Blinking Owl crafts Vodka, Gin, several types of Whiskey, and the Scandinavian spirit, Aquavit.

“Stay Safely at Home” provisions have necessitated the temporary closing of The Tasting Room. Wanting to continue serving the community and keep their employees on the job Blinking Owl has thoughtfully shifted production to hand sanitizer (licensed) under the label of Blinking Owl Dirty Bird Hand Sanitizer. So far $50,000 in hand sanitizer has been generously donated to hospitals, First Responders and restaurants in addition to bulk sales to commercial accounts!

Spirits are still available by ordering online.

Joining us from the packaging line for Dirty Bird Hand Sanitizer is Blinking Owl’s Co-founder and Chief Financial Owl, Robin Christenson.

Show 237, August 19, 2017: Robin & Brian Christenson, Founders, Blinking Owl Distillery, Santa Ana

Brian and Robin ChristensonSanta Ana’s The Blinking Owl Distillery is the very first craft distillery in Orange County. The Blinking Owl is one of the first distilleries in the state of California to hold the Type 74 Craft Distillers License allowing them to operate their own tasting room and sell a few bottles there. The Distillery makes Vodka, Gin, several types of Whiskey, and the Scandinavian spirit, Aquavit.

“We are locavores, grain nerds, and control freaks so we decided to actually make our booze the long way: from grain rather than pre-made spirit. We mill it, mash it, ferment it, distill it, and, in the case of whiskey, barrel age it (which means we will not have a 9-year old Bourbon to sell until 9 years from now).”

“The Founder, Brian Christenson, had a bootlegging great-grandfather, Fred P. Armbrust. Fred had a still on his dairy farm hidden in the basement behind secret passageways. He would covertly provide his local farmers with his “good spirits”. Brian’s dream is to carry on Fred’s passion by providing “good spirits” to our very own neighborhood, legally, of course!”

Brian and Robin Christenson, longtime Santa Ana residents, had heard stories of the midcentury “Blinking Owl Bar” on the corner of Birch and Third Streets, known for an iconic owl sign that would “blink”. Inspired by the craft cocktail movement, the farm-to-table food movement, and current thriving craft distilleries, the husband and wife team saw an opportunity to bring a local distillery to the neighborhood, paying homage to the history of Santa Ana.”

Brian & Robin step out from behind the long bar in their Tasting Room to join us.

Show 237, August 19, 2017: Robin & Brian Christenson, Founders, Blinking Owl Distillery, Santa Ana Continue…

Brian and Robin ChristensonSanta Ana’s The Blinking Owl Distillery is the very first craft distillery in Orange County. The Blinking Owl is one of the first distilleries in the state of California to hold the Type 74 Craft Distillers License allowing them to operate their own tasting room and sell a few bottles there. The Distillery makes Vodka, Gin, several types of Whiskey, and the Scandinavian spirit, Aquavit.’

The Products

BLINKING OWL VODKA
42.5% ABV (85 PROOF)
“Blinking Owl Vodka has stunning earthiness, subtle flavor and rich, full-bodied mouth feel. Distilled in house from organic wheat grown in California, and our unique twist from the organic malted barley that was added to the mash bill adding hints of sweet vanilla and caramel. Distilled in our Carl still from Germany (that includes 34 rectification plates alongside a pot still), Blinking Owl Vodka transfers the essence from the grain it was made from to the glass.”

BLINKING OWL
OC ORANGE
Flavored Vodka
42.5% ABV (85 PROOF)
“Beginning with our beautiful Vodka, we add 130 pounds of whole Valencia oranges that come from Heritage Museum of Orange County. We hand-cut the oranges and let the entire orange soak (including flesh, pith, juice and peel) in the Vodka overnight. The vodka is then re-distilled with oranges added to our vapor basket in the still. The combination of natural orange macerations and vapor distillation to an already rich, sweet vodka base creates a true orange essence to this flavored vodka that is full-bodied and delicious. Heritage Museum of Orange County.”

BLINKING OWL AQUAVIT
42.5% ABV (85 PROOF)
“We set out to make an aquavit reminiscent of the great Aquavits of Scandinavia but with a California twist. After crafting our base spirit with organic wheat and malted barley, we macerate 10 gorgeous organic botanicals (with a final steep in Caraway, leaving a natural golden hue). The primary flavors of our Aquavit are caraway, fresh dill, and hibiscus (the flower of Santa Ana), with undertones of fennel and cardamom. The result is a complex aquavit that can served chilled as a digestif or can add incredible flavors to a variety of cocktails.”

OLD TOM Barrel Vacationed GIN
48% ABV (96 PROOF)
“Our super special limited release of Old Tom Barrel Vacationed Gin is coming out soon!

We get a limited number of late harvest semillon wine barrels from a prestigious Napa producer each year. These particular barrels not only allow the Gin to age, but they also impart a hint of sweetness from the late harvest semillon they were previously holding.

This BARREL VACATIONED OLD TOM GIN basically took a vacation in the barrels for approximately 3 months, got a nice tan, and picked up a lucious hint of sweetness (thus we categorized it as an Old Tom). No sugar, flavoring, or coloring was added. The end result is pure, delicious liquid gold!”

Many have been waiting and asking to get on the presale list. The Gin is ready, it will be bottled soon at 48% ABV and released late-August. Each bottle will be numbered for this annual release and will only be sold from our tasting room.

This is owner, Robin Christenson’s, personal favorite and she having a very tough time not buying all of this gin herself. BUT she has decided to find it in her heart to share (at least some of it).”