Written by Shayna Cogan
Handcrafted Spirits by Goleta Red Distilling Company
Recently our staff had the special opportunity to visit Goleta Red Distilling Company and of course sample, the lineup of handcrafted spirits; something for everyone from the “Fiesta” agave spirit to his recently released Mariposa Bourbon. Michael Craig, Owner of, and Distiller puts his heart and soul into his business, and it is obvious that he loves his profession. It has not been an easy road to become the only distillery in Goleta, offering a line of award-winning spirits each delicately crafted by Michael’s own hands. Hitting many barriers on the road to success, to produce a quality product involves great tenacity; hence, his logo of the pileated woodpecker who will dedicate its time to a particular tree to get that one delicious grub.
Located off the Los Carneros Road exit in the industrial area near M Special Brewing Company, you can certainly make a day of local flavors to taste. The micro-distillery is somewhat hidden down the hall with other businesses, but once inside you are treated to a hidden “play” room with an amazing display of liquors to sample (or cocktails that can be made), a pool table, and a full view of the immaculate distilling tanks, tools, and extra shiny machines. Teeming with excitement, Michael awaited our arrival, welcomed us into his “home” and walked us through his world and passion for making his crafted spirits using the finest ingredients sourced.
We tried everything, and I mean everything, and we came up with a list of a few of our favorites but by no means take this as a superior product of one over the other. The Avenger Vodka, distilled from 100% cane sugar is slightly sweet, balanced, and has a glorious smooth mouthfeel. The Cacao Flavored Rum was surprisingly delicious, double distilled, and roasted with cacao nibs; we can certainly envision this as an ingredient in our next espresso martini. The recently released, Mariposa Straight Bourbon Whiskey, aged in Jamaican rum barrels was incredibly smooth on its own or would showcase beautifully in a signature Old Fashioned. Finally, my personal favorite was the Goodland Gin flavored with local botanicals and citrus, it truly shined in the lineup. The Goodland Gin has the most accolades including Best in Show, and Best in Category, as well as a Double Gold, a Gold, and two Silver awards. I have a bottle of this resting on my shelf at home for my next martini.
For your next wedding, if you find yourself hosting a full bar, we do recommend the local lineup from Goleta Red Distillery to liven up the usual selection for your guests to enjoy. The labels are beautifully designed and would certainly complement any special occasion. Certainly, this is a detail easily overlooked but could be made as special as your special day.
Goleta Red Distilling Company 93 Castilian Dr, Goleta, CA 93117, USA www.goletared.com
Mariposa Straight Bourbon Whiskey (Left), Michael Craig (Center), Goodland Gin (Right)