Southeast Coast Distilleries
Over three years in the making and Savannah Spirits Distilling Company can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. In spring 2018 they will open their historic downtown Savannah distillery to the public.
Dean Bell and Lou Valoze of Savannah Spirits have journeyed a long way from their previous jobs. Bell, the co-founder, was an attorney before he went into the liquor business and actually oversaw the zoning laws that helped make craft distilleries in Savannah possible. Valoze, the distiller, was an undercover federal agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives (ATF). Valoze said his job was basically busting moonshiners and now he has become a legal variation of one.
Together, the Savannah Spirits team creates one-of-a-kind, truly palatable spirits. The downtown location will feature an on-site distillery as well as a chophouse featuring fine steaks and seafood. The three-story historical building will have beautiful, outdoor terrace seating on the third floor with stunning views of the courthouse medallions that can’t be seen from anywhere else. The building also features a full downstairs bar, event venue spaces, and a variety of dining rooms restored from antiquity.
Their spirits are crafted to perfection and made with local ingredients. Even a Jamaican complimented their rum and as Valoze said, “If a Jamaican says you have a good rum, then you have a good rum.”
Valoze and Bell said they are lucky enough to work with really great scientists who formulate all of the ingredients and their knowledge of those properties into each craft spirit.
The Savannah Spirits Group Facebook page has a plethora of fun ways to make cocktails using their spirits, but some, like the gold label rum, which is rich, slightly spiced and incredibly smooth, are best served on the rocks.
Bell and Valoze are proud of Savannah and its history. As an ode to the city, they place historical photos on the labels of their spirits. The tip of the bottle is corked and dipped in a metallic green wax, showing that truly great products can come in really great packages.
Even the logo has historical meaning behind it. The big “S” stands for Savannah, while the small “S” represents the ever-present spirits in Savannah, symbolic of its haunted reputation. The style of the font is made to look like a shutter dog. They are the “S” shaped wrought iron devices that used to hold shutters back when open and can be seen all over the city. The square is symbolic of Savannah’s original 24 squares, now 22.
To Valoze and Bell, these details matter. In fact, every detail matters, because they care about the product they put out there, so you can be certain that while you are sipping a drink made with Savannah Spirits, you are sipping some of the best.
The island distillery is only available by boat, so go prepared for an adventure that will make you feel like a rum-drinking pirate.
Situated on Daufuskie Island in South Carolina, Daufuskie Island Rum Company houses a distillery, retail shop and a large front porch for patrons to sip rum and soak in the view. It is the most inaccessible distillery in the United States; only by boat can you make your way out to the island.
Anthony Chase, owner of Daufuskie Island Rum Company, had a little prior knowledge on fermentation and created a “secret spice mix,” with a hint of moonshine to really spice things up. All ingredients are sourced in America, and the barrels are double oaked for a soft, sweet flavor.
What John Berendt had to say about the cities in Georgia is pretty on target, “If you go to Atlanta, the first question people as you is, ‘What’s your business?’ In Macon they ask, ‘Where do you go to church?’ In Augusta they ask your grandmother’s maiden name. But in Savannah the first question people ask you is ‘What would you like to drink?’”
Ghost Coast Distillery is considered the first distillery in Savannah since prohibition. Now entangled in the coastal city’s storyline of good drink and revelry, Ghost Coast opened their doors just this year with a line of vodka. The end goal? A line of bourbon.
While still new to the Savannah business community, that hasn’t stopped the team a bit. Providing tours Tuesday through Saturday, come check out a new part of history. When visiting, The Cocktail Room is a must. You’ll be able to taste test small batch liquor and liqueurs at the end of your tour around the distillery!