GOD SAVE THE QUEEN
(OF RUM ROW) San Diego’s Malahat Distillery mixes experimentation and history. WRITTEN BY JEFF CIOLETTI /// PHOTOGRAPHY PROVIDED BY MALAHAT SPIRITS
he name Malahat carries a great deal of significance within the booze community on the California coast. It was the moniker for what reportedly was the largest rum-running ship during the Noble Experiment, capable of carrying 60,000 cases of spirit. “It was known as the Queen of Rum Row,” says Ken Lee, who, with partners Tom Bleakley and Tony Grillo, co-founded the distillery whose name is an homage to that legendary vessel. “It used to feed the West Coast with booze during Prohibition, and that included San Diego where they used to hide booze. We really wanted to carry that whole vibe into the distillery.” And just as drinkers had to make an effort to find alcohol in the 1920s, visitors to the distillery that bears the notorious five-masted schooner’s name really have to work to get to the tasting room. Malahat Spirits sits in the middle of an unassuming business park in WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM
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