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which means Ascendant is very particular about how many employees they hire. Gertman described the practices of many California winemakers specifically deciding that in some instances, automating is becoming more feasible than hiring more staff. He says that Ascendant is looking hard at making sure the distillery makes the best decisions for them in each case. Ascendant prides themselves on their ability to produce unique spirits, and their product lines exhibit that. Gertman experimented with several types of fruit when creating a citrus-flavored vodka before deciding on caviar limes, a variety that is filled with small, caviar-like fruit. Since it was important to them to only use real agricultural products, rather than infuse their vodka with artificial flavors, finding a unique fruit capable of making something tasty was a happy accomplishment. They were able to find someone in

the United States that produces the fruit as well, which has been important to the distillery in all of their products. For their Semper Fi corn whiskey, they had an unexpected hiccup when they applied for label approval. Their application was stalled by the TTB, and a phone call revealed that they needed to get permission to use the term from the Department of Defense. After one minor change and an offer to donate part of the proceeds to a veteran’s association, the name and label were approved with all appropriate permissions. In honor of its namesake the unaged whiskey is made with red, white and blue corn. The highlight of Ascendant Spirits’ portfolio is their Calyx gin. Taking cues from their state’s thriving wine industry, Gertman paired with sommelier Rajat Parr to make a gin inspired by winemaking methods. This gin is different in that, to quote their own marketing,

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Profile for Artisan Spirit Magazine

Artisan Spirit: Winter 2016  

The magazine for craft distillers and their fans.

Artisan Spirit: Winter 2016  

The magazine for craft distillers and their fans.