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St. George Spirits Celebrates 30 Years

St. George Spirits at Alameda Point is having a big party to celebrate its 30th anniversary from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30, in conjunction with the Commonwealth Club of California. (Tickets are limited.)

The night will include a behind-the-scenes tours and a panel discussion with St. George founder Jörg Rupf, master distiller Lance Winters and distiller Dave Smith about how the craft distillation landscape has evolved since the company was founded in 1982.

The group will serve cocktails representing its three decades of craft distillery and innovation and offering a sneak peak of its 30th-anniversary whiskey release.

St. George, which makes Hangar One Vodka says it will stage this release of a special single malt in a few weeks, with only 715 bottles set to be shared nationwide.

The company also recently bottled a new batch of St. George Absinthe Verte—its first without wine corks. Also, it’s set to release a new batch of pear liqueur.

Earlier in November, it supported the New York chapter of the United States Bartenders Guild with a program supporting local bars and bartenders affected by Hurricane Sandy.

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St. George Spirits’ Rupf Gains National Recognition

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St. George Spirits of Alameda Point has been attracting lots of national attention.

Its president, Jörg Rupf, was picked as a semi-finalist for a presitigious 2011 James Beard Foundation Award earlier this year. The honors are given annually to top chefs and others in the U.S. food and beverage industry.

Though he wasn’t picked as a finalist, Rupf was one of only 20 wine and spirits professionals to be selected as a semi-finalist.

He first come to the Bay Area in 1979 to do research at UC Berkeley on a post-doctoral grant sponsored by the German Government. His family has been brewing beer and distilling fruit brandies (eau de vie) for several generations in the Black Forest city of Freiburg.

Thanks to the quality of fresh local fruit and the absence of U.S. fruit brandy producers, Rupf gave up life as a judge and an academic to open up “America’s first eau de vie distillery and start the micro-distillery movement in this country,” according to the company’s website.

He set up St. George Spirits with assistant distiller Bill Mannshardt and later began working with Lance Winters, a former navy nuclear engineer and brewer.

In 2000, the two rolled out St. George Single Malt Whiskey, and two years later, they released the first batch of Hangar One Vodka.

The team moved into a hangar out on Alameda Point in May 2004.

The distillery and tasting room are open to the public from 12 to 7 p.m. Wednesday–Saturday and from 12 to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Tours take place at 1, 2 and 3 p.m. on Saturday.