We’re no strangers to distillery, brewery and vineyard tours. They can be a lot of fun – especially the tastings! But some can be a bit redundant.
We were pleasantly surprised to find that the St. Augustine Distillery tour was different, and was a unique way to spend an hour or two in historic St. Augustine. Here are three reasons why.
A Distinctive Tour with Unique Information
This tour set itself apart from the moment we walked through the door. The ticket area, where you receive your complimentary passes for the next tour, was itself a small museum. The fifteen minutes we had to wait for the next tour went by quickly as we perused displays about the history of the area, distillery, and cooperage- the art of barrel making.
We were then led into a presentation area with seating to begin the official tour, another unique aspect of the attraction. Here again you’ll learn about a lot more than just distilling – the information is told from a historical perspective, framing the distillery in place and time.. and adding depth to the story.
From there it is on to the tour of the distillery itself, and two separate tastings. Yes, I said two! More info on this below.
A “Cool” Venue
The building was originally the FP&L Ice Plant, Florida’s oldest ice manufacturer. A pretty cool tie-in for those like me that enjoy their spirits on the rocks. It’s part of the National Register of Historic Places and was the first to make ice commercially in Florida over 100 years ago.
Which is also why you’ll find a little restaurant above the distillery called the Ice Plant Bar. The Ice Plant Bar, which is not owned by the distillery, is a great place to stop afterward to enjoy lunch or dinner, or maybe just an appetizer and tumbler of St. Augustine Bourbon, on the rocks.
The Innovative Tastings
This is where the St. Augustine Distillery really set itself apart. We’re used to completing distillery tours with a small sampling of the product. We know it’s what you’re thinking of the entire time anyway, and what tour would be complete without it? But this tour was a bit different.
After seeing where the magic happens we were led into a room with a very ornate and beautifully hand crafted bar. There, our tour guide showed us how to make three different cocktails, The Moscow Mule (vodka), The Tropical Tiki (rum) and The Grapefruit Hibiscus (gin). And oh yes – we did get to sample all three. They also had lemonade available for the kiddos – a nice touch.
And then we were led into yet another room! Here we had the opportunity to sample any bourbon on the menu. We found the Port Finished Bourbon the most interesting and unique – bourbon finished in a barrel formerly used to age port. We could really taste the distinction.
At this point they had us. We opted for a bottle of the single batch bourbon from the store, and glad we did. As amateur bourbon lovers, they all get a big thumbs up. As mentioned, they also create and sell vodka, rum and gin.
The St. Augustine Distillery is located at 112 Riberia Street in historic Lincolnville, just south of King Street in downtown St. Augustine. As luck would have it, this is a stop on the trolley stop! Tours run every day from 10:30 to 5, and are free of charge.
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