Blinking Owl Distillery is an award-winning grain-to-grass distillery, meaning it only uses the finest local grains in their Californian home.
It’s the very first craft distillery in Orange County, with its own tasting room and bottling process. They make more than one type of spirit, from gin to vodka, to whiskey. They’re even proud distillers of Scandinavia’s Aquavit.
Here, it all starts with the grain. This is the place where mill it, mash it, ferment it, distill it. When it comes to whiskey, they even barrel and age it. At the head of this distillery is the great-grandson of a bootlegger, Brian Christenson who has proudly carried on the family tradition of providing the thirsty community with something to drink.
All of their ingredients are locally sourced, in an effort to bring in the best of their farming community. The distillery is named after a bar sign that used to charm and delight the residents of Santa Ana. Its dedication to quality and sustainability is found in every bottle of spirit that is produced on site. The vodka has hints of caramel and orange. The aquavit is aged in wine barrels sourced from Napa, California. The gin is made from organic California wheat, with a touch of barley and a small selection of botanicals.
It can be enjoyed as the base spirit of a cocktail or straight-up. Each bottle is aptly numbered after its annual release and it’s only found on the distillery’s tasting room and a few select bars. The distillery also produces different types of whisky, from rye, to bourbon, to wheated bourbon. Even Santa Ana’s award-winning drinking water has been used as part of the spirits’ recipe.
The tasting room is where you want to go try one Blinking Owl’s tasting flights. Here you will experience a sample of six different spirits while learning a little bit about each one. You might also be inclined to visit the gifts shop where you will find an array of souvenirs and of course, the bottles of the spirits you have just tried.
Their website offers a list of all the bars and restaurants currently serving Blinking Owl spirits so you can carry on your tasting journey even once you’ve the site. While visiting the site, you might also be tempted to look up their whiskey MBA program, which invites whisky lovers to take part on the whisky making process.
The program also offers participants the opportunity to work closely with the distiller as they decide on a mash bill on and what to name their very own whisky barrel. The program can potentially end with a bottling party and with a unique souvenir that any whisky fan would be thrilled to take home: their very own whiskey bottle.
The distillery’s message has long embraced the ideas of artistry, friendship and fun. Inviting visitors to become a part of their distilling process is but a natural for the distillery to continue its work with the community. It is definitely worth the visit.