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Portuguese Bend, Long Beach’s first distillery, breaks ground and releases renderings

Release Date: 2018-10-04

By: Brian Addison

Holding up a clear, unmarked bottle, master distiller Simon Haxton swirls around the carafe’s liquid fillings—a bright, bordering-magenta spirit that looks, frankly put, very pretty.

“The spirit of California, in my mind, is the way that our culture eases others into, well, the culture of others,” Haxton said, beginning to pour an ounce or two of the liquid into a nondescript cup. “We make it easy to learn about new things—that’s why I call this California Gin. It’s my way of getting non-gin drinkers into drinking gin.”

Bright and fruity thanks to the addition of hibiscus, Haxton’s creation is dangerously sip-able—even when served neat, bucking the long-held tradition that made gin stand out from other spirits: Gin is never meant to drink neat. For those who have long loved the English staple, Haxton will have a classic English gin along with a stellar variety of rums—a high ABV naval rum as well as a more drinkable Caribbean version—whiskies, and vodka.

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