The American Distilling Institute's brandy conference kicked off this evening with a reception hosted by the generous Fritz Maytag of Anchor. There was no sampling of his whiskeys or gins, but a tour of the brewery (with stills, naturally) and plenty of beer, sausage, and Maytag blue cheese. Before that, ADI ran a juried brandy competition with guest judges behind closed doors at St. George Spirits in Alameda. I stopped by to talk to the judges and ended up washing glasses and pouring snifter after snifter of brandies with John Couchot of Rogue Spirits. Some true beauties, some that needed work, but what a delight to have hundreds of bottles of American brandies right on the bar in front of me. One could make enough sidecars for a year.
Most brandies there—as well as whiskeys, gins, absinthes, and others—will be available for sampling at Sunday's Meet the Maker event at the distillery. Let's see, let's see...Was I supposed to do something to prepare for that?
Oh yes! Time to announce the winners of the ticket lottery for admission to Sunday's event. Thanks for everyone who emailed—an overwhelming response for such short notice, far more than expected and I'm only sorry that I don't have more passes to hand out. From a random drawing of names, and in the order picked, the passes go to...
- Jason Beck, San Francisco
- Neal Aronowitz, Portland, Oregon
- Sherman Owen, Shepherdsville, Kentucky
- Ted Weinstein, San Francisco
Good night, good night, everyone.