Thanks to a recent change in California law, expect to see growing number of local distilleries embarking on projects that combine on-site food and drink service with off-site bottle sales. First out of the gate will likely be 619 Spirits Distillery & Tasting Room, a local brand that launched back in 2012, which is moving its production facility into a 4,200-square-foot space in the heart of North Park that will also house a tasting room, bar and eatery.
Founder Nick Apostolopoulos, who was previously co-distilling at a location out in Encanto, will initially be outfitting his new urban distillery with a small 30-gallon still before two-column 1,000-liter still that will be viewable from the dining area. The core lineup of 619 Vodka, which includes natural and locally-sourced infusions of cucumber, scorpion pepper and coffee from Bird Rock Roasters, will be expanded; Apostolopoulos, who recently launched an Indiegogo campaign to put the finishing touches on the project, says he plans on working with local farms on seasonal variations that will be poured in the tasting room and potentially make it into bottles. Future spirits may also include riffs on Italian “cello” liqueurs, plus rum and gin.
Construction could be complete within four to six weeks, and the tasting room will include a full bar offering cocktails made with 619 Vodka and other SoCal spirits, dining room and outdoor patio space. Leading the kitchen will be chef Sean Ames, who is working on a still-developing menu of casual lunch, dinner and brunch plates.
Utilizing cutting-edge software from local tech company Urban Translations, 619 Vodka will give customers the option of placing orders through Samsung tablets as well as via service staff. The tablets will allow guests to build their own cocktails and customize food orders, as well as purchase bottles to take home or ship elsewhere. In addition to spirits, the tasting room will also sell cocktail kits that include cocktail syrups and other drink components.