Looking for a refreshing twist on the Paso Robles wine experience? Dive into Paso Robles’ exciting distilleries and craft spirits scene. Surprised to hear what this renowned wine region is pouring up? Well, the secret’s out: Paso Robles has expanded to include an array of unique distillery experiences combining scenic surroundings and vibrant spirits.
Whether you prefer your cocktail on the rocks, neat or straight up, Paso Robles distilleries are here to shake up the typical tasting experience. Savor small-batch whiskey, gin, vodka, brandy, rum, liqueurs, aperitifs and specialty spirits you won’t find elsewhere. If this sounds like your kind of happy hour, you’ve come to the right place. The best Paso Robles distilleries and craft spirits are just a sip away.
What makes Paso Robles distilleries unique?
Paso Robles distilleries borrow inspiration from award winning Paso Robles wineries. In fact, many Paso Robles distilleries are founded by local winemakers and vintners, ensuring that quality and creativity go into each bottle of whiskey, vodka or rum. Some Paso Robles distillers use wine barrels to age their spirits, while others utilize premium Paso-grown wine grapes to craft stellar, smooth-drinking offerings. This fresh influence from the wine industry brings an innovative energy to the growing Paso Robles craft distillery scene.
The stunning scenery of Paso Robles lends itself to a singular craft spirits experience. A blend of lush vineyard views, undulating hillsides and plush tasting rooms elevate Paso Robles distilleries to some of the most sought-after in California. Conveniently located just a few miles from the Pacific coast between Los Angeles and San Francisco, there’s no better oasis for cocktail enthusiasts in search of their next best sip.
Finally, you’ll taste exclusive spirits in Paso Robles that are unique to the region. From barrel aged and cask-strength creations to prized distiller’s cuts, expect an unrivaled selection of craft spirits imbued with a dash of artisanal Paso Robles magic.
Paso Robles Distilleries & Craft Spritis
Vibe: At Re:FIND Distillery, discover sustainable sipping backdropped by rolling hills and breathtaking wine country vistas. Enjoy indoor and outdoor tasting at Paso Robles’ first craft distillery, established in 2011. You’ll even get an up-close look at the tasting room’s famous copper still, located on-site! Simply book a tasting for a taste of Paso Robles distillery history.
Wine Country connection: Paso Robles vintner Alex Villicana cracked the code to a common winemaking conundrum: What to do with surplus free-run grape juice? The answer, as you might have guessed, was to make great hooch! Each year, Re:Find reclaims the equivalent of a 70-acre vineyard in its operations, transforming Villicana Winery’s prized free-run juice into smooth-drinking spirits. Yes, that’s a lot of upcycled water, fuel and man-power saved. Situated on iconic Adelaida Road, find many notable Paso Robles wine tasting rooms nearby, solidifying Re:Find as a great springboard for your next tasting adventure.
Serving: Savor meticulously handcrafted vodka, gin and whiskey all of which have their own story to tell (learn all the details from a friendly server). You’ll also find unique offerings like sweet-tart limoncello liqueur and even kumquat-flavored vodka offered alongside top notch Villacana wines.
Must sip: Surprisingly cooling on the palate, Re:Find Distillery’s all-natural cucumber flavored vodka tastes like something straight out of a high-end spa experience. Featuring one pound of local, organic cucumbers per bottle, this juicy vodka is a fresh delight that finishes ultra-clean.
Address: 2725 Adelaida Rd, Paso Robles, CA
Vibe: Enter a rustic-modern hangout where folk bands and craft spirits collide. Spend an hour or an afternoon tasting alongside hip artists and fellow visitors at this hub of wine country creativity nestled in pastoralTempleton. Tip: Check the distillery’s calendar for seasonal events, especially lively concerts.
Wine Country connection: Founded by the folks behind Castoro Cellars (established in paso Robles in 1983), Bethel Rd. Distillery boasts quite the wine country pedigree. That said, Castoro Cellars Co-owner Niels Udsen still dreamed of spirits ever since spending time making Italian-style grappa in Italy. After acquiring one of the first distilling licenses in San Luis Obispo County and an Arnold Holstein Bavarian still, that fantasy finally came to fruition.
Serving: Sip everything from small-batch brandy aged in wine barrels, London Dry gin and grappa crafted from wine grapes like moscato, orange muscat and primitivo. Much like the distillery’s rocking “Live Sessions,” Bethel Rd. offerings are all about living out loud and embracing authenticity. Find the Castoro Cellars wine tasting room a stone’s throw from the distillery.
Must sip: Bethel Rd. Distillery’s Italian-style Grappa Di Moscato is a distillate of grape pomace sourced from Castoro Cellars’ estate vineyards in Paso Robles. Floral and clean on the finish, try incorporating this award-winning hooch into a “grappa mint sour” muddled with mint, green chartreuse, egg white and lemon juice. Speaking of sours, the distillery’s Wild Hibiscus Sour Cocktail Kit presents another twist on the classic sour featuring signature Bethel Rd. House Brandy, Yes Cocktail Co. Rose Hibiscus Mixer, citrus and a handy recipe card.
Vibe: Wet your whistle and come away perfectly satiated thanks to an onsite eatery that aims to please. Located on gorgeous Highway 46 West, Grain + Vine Distillery beckons with verdant vines, blue skies and cool late afternoon breezes. With plenty of patio seating, you’ll want to enjoy the great outdoors.
Wine Country connection: Paso’s scenic Barton Family Wines property is now home to Grain + Vine Craft Distillery, courtesy of winery founders Joe and Jenny Barton (son of a grape farmer and daughter of a grain farmer, respectively). Surrounded by incredible wine tasting rooms all along the Highway 46 Wine Trail, this sun-dappled distillery blends the best of both worlds.
Serving: Experience limited production craft spirits with an emphasis on unconventional whiskeys aged in premium wine barrels. Plus, savor aged rum, gin and vodka. Aside from spirit tasting, you can also easily grab a cocktail, a glass of Barton Family Wine wine or lunch from Barton’s Kitchen.
Must sip: With lip-smacking tasting notes of banana, vanilla, butterscotch, toasted hazelnut, dried apricot and pineapple, Grain + Vine Craft Distillery’s Aged Rum is a tropical vacation in a bottle. Crafted with real molasses and cane sugar, this 95 proof rum has been around the block, aged just shy of five years in used whiskey barrels.
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Vibe: Available by appointment only, encounter a spirited world tucked away on Highway 46 West. Rolling hills and pleasant birdsong provide the ambiance for a peaceful Templeton tasting at Donati Spirits, home of Bear + Prophet vodka. Kick back in the Spirits Lounge or sprawl out on the green lawn for a happy hour to remember.
Wine country connection: Bear + Prophet vodka is the brainchild of the team at Donati Family Vineyard, a popular name in Paso Robles area wine since 1998. Offering lively vodkas alongside exquisite vintages, this charming, family-owned and operated oasis seamlessly combines a touch of wine country sophistication with modern craft spirits adventure.
Serving: Enjoy alluring Bear + Prophet vodka made from premium estate-grown wine grapes and rested on oak barrels. A range of fun flavored vodkas—including pomegranate, blood orange, grapefruit, watermelon mint, pineapple, pear, vanilla bean and even pumpkin spice—round out the enticing offerings. Of course, you can also sample Donati Family Vineyard wines if the mood strikes.
Must sip: Bear + Prophet’s Vodka Citrine is a boon for true vodka lovers everywhere This elegant 80 proof offering is crafted from Donati Family Vineyard cabernet sauvignon and petit verdot grapes. Rested in chardonnay barrels for 13 months and golden in color, this vodka is a smooth and well-rounded delight.
Address: 2720 Oak View Rd, Templeton, CA
Vibe: Just off the beaten path, embrace the good life in Paso Robles’ notable Willow Creek growing region. A warm, family-owned energy permeates the experience at Red Soles Stillhouse, where indoor and outdoor tastings unfold with slow joy.
Wine Country connection: Known for limited production estate-grown wines, Red Soles Winery has attracted wine enthusiasts since 2004. Owners Randy and Cheryl Phillips famously crushed their first barrel with their own feet (a lack of equipment inspired this decision). The rest—including the addition of premium craft spirits in 2013—is now wine country history.
Serving: Get your hands on Red Soles Stillhouse’s incredible brandy and grappa made from estate-grown wine grapes. The flavor of their grappa is due in large part to winemaking: the sediment remaining in each Red Soles Winery wine barrel is bottled and distilled into a fruity, spicy-smooth spirits offering. For a change of pace, Red Soles Wines are also available for tasting.
Must sip: Red Soles Stillhouse’s popular “California Hooch” is a distinctive blended brandy made from new garnacha and barrel-aged tempranillo wine grapes. Perfect for sipping neat or mixing into your favorite cocktail, find out why this bottle so perfectly reflects Westside Paso Robles terroir.
Address: 3230 Oakdale Rd, Paso Robles, CA
Vibe: A scenic drive along Paso’s Adelaida Road reveals a mountaintop tasting room where you’re likely to spot the owners behind the bar. Here, dreamy afternoons have a way of sliding into an overnight stay (if you’re lucky). The winery offers an array of luxury accommodations set along a working agricultural vineyard. Whether you stop in for a taste or spend the night, expect panoramic vineyard and orchard views you must see to believe.
Wine Country connection: Opened in 1995, Manucci Winery can proudly count itself as one of the first 20 wineries to kick-start the Paso Robles wine explosion. Crafting boutique wines from their single-estate vineyard, owners Gianni and Kati Manucci are committed to utilizing their own high quality fruit. This home-grown passion has made its way into Manucci Spirits’ top shelf Italian aperitifs and flavored brandy.
Serving: Experience traditional and barrel-aged grappa, limoncello liqueur and expressive brandy infused with natural flavors like pomegranate, espresso, habanero and garlic. Manucci Wines are also on-hand, rounding out the tantalizing offerings.
Must sip: Manucci Spirits brandy is a different kind of beast. Made exclusively from premium fermentation mash, small batches of each of the winery’s seven wine grape varietals are distilled with a lower proof to retain maximum flavor. This blend of grapes coaxes out complex characteristics known around the tasting room as “the Sinful-7.”
Vibe: This fruit-forward Paso Robles distillery has a no-fuss appeal that sets it apart from the pack. Make yourself at home in a modern setting that lends itself to moments of spontaneous education. From the casual tasting ambiance to the gleaming copper still, let curiosity be your guide.
Wine Country connection: Azeo Distillery reflects Paso Robles’ independent spirit with a twist on tradition. “Azeo,” short for azeotrope, specializes in vodka made from apples as well as grapes. Fun fact: Distilled entirely from apples, Azeo’s popular apple vodka contains 28 apples per bottle!
Serving: Soak up small batch vodka made from apples or grapes, brandy and apple brandy. Alongside these high-proof offerings, find spirit of agave as well as silver and barrel aged rum options. For those looking for something a tad stronger, ask for Azeo Distillery’s 100 proof moonshine distilled from Paso Robles wine grapes.
Must sip: A wine country tequila? Not quite. That said, Azeo Distillery’s Spirit of Agave might be the next best thing. Made from 100 percent agave nectar, this unique spirit appeals to tequila and mezcal enthusiasts. Expect a satisfying experience north of the border thanks to a dose of smoke and whiskey barrel aging.
Vibe: Located in Paso’s industrial wonderland of Tin City, Wine Shine & Tin City Distillery is a must-stop for tasters on the go. Surrounded by walkable breweries and wine tasting rooms, this happening spot is an engaging destination offering up some of Paso’s finest craft libations.
Wine Country connection: Wine Shine & Tin City Distillery is one of Paso Robles’ most beloved spirit producers. Perhaps this is because the crew collectively boasts over a century of experience in mixology, culinary arts and winemaking—a fact that shines in every sip. Sample top shelf spirits crafted from premium Paso Robles wine grapes. Located in close proximity to plenty of notable Paso Robles tasting rooms, find a world of flavor surrounding this unique Tin City destination.
Serving: Discover Wine Shine’s aged and orange brandy offerings made with grapes sourced from famous Paso Robles vineyards. You’ll also find neutral brandy crafted from grenache grapes and flavored brandy ranging from mango, cinnamon, fig and walnut to spicy ghost pepper varieties. Tin City Spirits range from single malt, bourbon and rye whiskey to vodka, gin and hard seltzers. As if that weren’t enough to stock your bar cart to the gills, find house mixers and a few locally-crafted syrups, bitters and garnishes for sale, too.
Must sip: Wine Shine’s barrel aged Manhattan Project brandy is a pre-mixed homage to classic cocktails of yore. Inside, you’ll find Wine Shine’s celebrated whiskey combined with house-made brandy, vermouth and bitters. The whole concoction is then aged in port barrels to add a sultry character. Garnish with a cherry or two for a foolproof cocktail at home.
Address: 3064 Limestone Way, Paso Robles, CA
Vibe: A laid back Paso Robles distillery and tasting lounge filled with youthful energy, Calwise Spirits invites folks to kick up their feet after a day of exploring nearby Tin City. Offering distillery tours and spirit tastings, learn all about the distillery’s commitment to crafting innovative bottles with Central Coast swagger.
Wine Country connection: Calwise Spirits Co. Founder Aaron Bergh has an interesting tie to the beverage industry. In fact, his great-great grandfather’s moonshining operation was shut down during Prohibition. Nearly a century later, Calwise Spirits Co. embodies the pioneering spirit and passion of Paso Robles Wine Country distillers.
Serving: Enjoy Calwise Spirits Co.’s popular Hazard Reef Rum, Axe Hole Whiskey, Big Sur Gin, Old Tom Big Sur Gin and Western Fruit Exchange Orange Liqueur, made with California-grown citrus. Try these offerings on their own or order up a craft cocktail conjured by an onsite mixologist.
Must sip: Featuring a blend of wild juniper, sage and yerba santa, Calwise’s Big Sur Gin captures the essence of a coastal hiking trail. Also keep an eye peeled for seasonally flavored gins in varieties like smoked cherry, cranberry and blood orange. Not only are these gins pretty to look at (many are pink or red in color), they truly add a festive touch to the change of the seasons.
Vibe: Whether you taste indoors or outdoors, Pendray’s Distillery offers a breath of fresh Templeton air to visitors seeking a relaxed tasting experience. This welcoming destination brings together splendid wine country views, diverse beverage offerings and a friendly atmosphere. Well behaved dogs are also welcomed.
Wine country connection: Pendray’s Distillery is the brainchild of the friendly folks at PasoPort, a family-owned winery founded by winemaker Steve Glossner and his wife Lola. Together, the team boasts a 16-year history of producing some of Paso’s most exquisite port-style wines. This love goes back to 2013, when the winery acquired a still to fortify their wines and craft brandy.
Serving: Sample Pendray’s brandy and aged grappa made from malvasia bianca grapes as well as liqueurs in a variety of flavors, including amaro, chamomile, orange, walnut, apple and plum. You can also taste Per Caso Wines and PasoPort offerings all in the same cheerful destination.
Must sip: Pendray’s brandy is anything but basic. Utilizing port barrels for aging, each bottle showcases a stunning golden color and intriguing bouquet (note elements of honeysuckle, orange blossom, ripe apricot and peach in your glass). When it comes to sipping, expect a round, orange-tinged brandy with a lingering honied finish.
Address: 95 Booker Rd, Templeton, CA
Vibe: Venture into this Atascadero-based tasting room for a surprising sip. Nestled within an unassuming small business park, find a working distillery where you least expected to find one. Home of Forager Spirits, Central Coast Distillery retains a proud small town charm right down to the hyper-local ingredients found in each bottle.
Wine country connection: Locally-sourced ingredients are treasured by Paso Robles Wine Country artisans of all stripes and offer a time-honored way to connect to the land. Utilizing foraged herbs, botanicals and produce, Foraged Spirits founders Eric and Anna Olson combine their 20 years of hospitality industry experience with sustainable, traditional distilling practices. The team works diligently from wort to bottle, producing small batches from their 50 and 100-gallon stills.
Serving: Sample Foraged Spirits award-winning rum finished in bourbon barrels, vodka distilled from honey, organic gin and popular bourbon whiskey. Central Coast Distillery continues to evolve, turning their focus on the production of award-winning bourbon whiskeys and agave spirits crafted in anejo, reposado and mezcal styles.
Must sip: Central Coast Distillery’s Forager Kentucky Style Bourbon Whiskey has earned the title of the Smoothest Whiskey in San Luis Obispo County and is a 2020 International Gold Medal Recipient. Try this light, smooth-drinking offering for yourself, neat or on the rocks. Bottled at 80 proof, this spirit is crafted with corn, barley, rye and traditional Kentucky yeast and aged in charred oak for six months. Be sure to savor notes of toffee, cinnamon and baking spices in your glass.
Address: 5804 Traffic Way, Atascadero, CA
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Paso Robles Distilleries Cheat Sheet
Aging: The process of storing spirits in wooden barrels to develop flavor and character.
Angel’s Share: The portion of spirits lost to evaporation during aging in barrels.
Craft Cocktail: A cocktail made with care, using high-quality, often artisanal ingredients and precise techniques.
Bitters: A concentrated, aromatic flavoring agent used in small amounts to add complexity to cocktails.
Cask Strength: Spirits that are bottled directly from the barrel without dilution, often having a higher alcohol content.
Distillation: The process of heating a liquid to create vapor and then cooling it to collect the condensed liquid, used to separate and concentrate alcohol.
Distiller’s Cut: A select portion of a spirit run that is considered the highest quality and used for bottling.
Float: A small amount of liquid (usually a spirit or liqueur) gently poured on top of a cocktail for added flavor and presentation.
Garnish: Decorative elements added to a cocktail, such as citrus slices, cherries, olives, or herbs.
Grappa: Grape-based brandy made from fermented grape pomace originated in Italy. It’s strong, aromatic, often clear, and used as a digestif, known for its bold flavors and high alcohol content.
Mixologist: A skilled bartender who specializes in creating inventive cocktails.
Mixology: The art and science of crafting cocktails, often involving creative mixing of ingredients and presentation.
Muddle: To gently crush or mash ingredients (typically herbs or fruit) in the bottom of a glass to release their flavors.
Mixing Glass: A vessel used for stirring cocktails, typically a large, clear glass.
Neat: A term used for serving a spirit or whiskey in a glass without any ice or mixers.
On the Rocks: Served over ice cubes in a glass, typically for drinks like whiskey or cocktails served cold.
Signature Cocktail: A unique cocktail created by a bar or mixologist and often associated with a specific establishment.
Speakeasy: A term originally used during the Prohibition era to describe hidden, illicit bars. Today, it refers to bars with a retro or secretive atmosphere.
Small Batch: A production method where a limited quantity of spirits is made at one time, often associated with higher quality and attention to detail.
Twist: A thin strip of citrus peel (usually lemon or orange) used as a garnish.
Paso Robles distilleries FAQ
Q: What is Paso Robles known for in terms of craft spirits?
A: Paso Robles is renowned for its craft spirits, including whiskey, gin, vodka, and brandy, often influenced by the region’s wine heritage and terroir.
Q: How can I find distilleries to visit in Paso Robles?
A: Check local listings or use distillery maps to find and plan visits to Paso Robles distilleries.
Q: Are tasting tours available?
A: Yes, many distilleries offer tasting tours, providing insights into their production processes and the chance to sample their spirits.
Q: Do I need reservations for distillery visits?
A: It’s advisable to make reservations, especially during peak seasons, to ensure availability and a personalized experience. That said, many Paso Robles distilleries welcome walk-ins.
Q: Can I purchase spirits directly from the distilleries?
A: Yes, most distilleries sell their spirits on-site, allowing you to purchase your favorites to take home.
Q: Are there age restrictions for tastings?
A: Yes, participants in tastings must typically be 21 years or older due to alcohol regulations.
Q: What’s the best way to learn about the history and production of Paso Robles craft spirits?
A: Distillery tours and tastings are excellent opportunities to learn about the history, production, and unique qualities of local spirits.
Q: Can I bring a group for a private tasting or event?
A: Sure! Many distilleries offer group and private tasting experiences; contact them in advance to arrange group visits.
Q: Is there a designated driver or transportation service available for distillery tours?
A: Some distilleries may offer transportation options or suggest local transportation services to ensure a safe visit.
Q: How can I have a safe, enjoyable distillery experience in Paso Robles?
A: Remember to drink responsibly and be mindful of your alcohol consumption when exploring the craft spirits of Paso Robles. Enjoy your journey into the world of artisanal distillation!