Ascendant Spirits Distillery

  • USA, California
Phone Number
  • +18056911000
  • 37 Industrial Way, Suite 103, Buellton, CA

Variety of Breaker bourbon whiskey bottles on table.

History of Ascendant Spirits Distillery

Founding and Vision

Ascendant Spirits Distillery, nestled in the heart of Santa Barbara County, marked a significant milestone as the region’s first distillery since prohibition when it opened its doors in 2013. The brainchild of Steven Gertman, Ascendant Spirits emerged from a combination of passion, a unique vision for craft distilling, and an appreciation for the area’s distinct climatic conditions.

Gertman, initially a television producer in Southern California, was inspired by the craft distilling movement in the United States and a personal interest in distillation fostered during a trip to Scotland. His journey into the world of spirits production led him through an intensive course in Northern California and hands-on experience in Colorado, culminating in the establishment of Ascendant Spirits​​​​.

Location and Environmental Synergy

The distillery’s strategic location in Buellton, Santa Barbara, is not just by chance. Surrounded by a winery and a brewery, Ascendant benefits from a symbiotic relationship with its neighbors, fostering a community of collaboration and mutual support.

The unique topography of the area, with mountains running perpendicular to the ocean, creates a micro-climate ideal for both agriculture and the aging of spirits. This environmental synergy is at the heart of Ascendant’s operations, allowing the distillery to harness local produce and deliver flavors that are a true reflection of the region​​.

Product Innovation and Community Integration

Ascendant Spirits Distillery prides itself on a diverse portfolio of spirits, including whiskey variations and flavored vodkas that showcase the best of local agriculture. The distillery’s innovative approach extends to utilizing unique ingredients such as caviar limes and fresh strawberries, directly sourced from nearby farms, to create spirits that serve as “global agricultural ambassadors.”

This commitment to quality and innovation is complemented by Gertman’s vision of integrating the distillery into the local community, not just as a business but as a contributor to the area’s economic vitality and a showcase of local craftsmanship​​​​.

Ascendant Spirits Today

Since its grand opening on March 2 and 3, 2013, Ascendant Spirits has become a beacon of the American distilling revival, deeply committed to using the finest grains and fresh, organic, local fruit. The distillery’s dedication to quality and its role in the community have made it a distinguished member of Santa Barbara County’s vibrant food and drink scene​​.

Ascendant Spirits Distillery’s journey from a dream to a flagship of craft distilling in Santa Barbara County embodies the spirit of innovation, quality, and community. Steven Gertman’s venture into the world of distillation has not only filled a niche in the local market but has also established a new legacy for the region, bringing together the best of local produce and distilling craftsmanship.

The Art of Fermentation

As the tour progresses, guests witness the fermentation process firsthand, where the prepared mash is left to ferment, transforming into a “distiller’s beer” over five days. This step is crucial in developing the base for their distinguished spirits, and observing it offers a comprehensive insight into the spirit-making craft.

Ascendant Spirits Distillery Tour Information and Experience

Nestled in Buellton, Santa Barbara County, Ascendant Spirits Distillery marks a significant milestone as the first legal distillery in the region since Prohibition. Renowned for its array of award-winning spirits including whiskeys, vodkas, and gin, Ascendant Spirits offers an unparalleled tour experience. Visitors have the unique opportunity to sample exquisite spirits in the tasting room, complementing the immersive tour of the distillery’s operations.

A Personalized Tour Experience

The tours at Ascendant Spirits are not just about observing; they’re about engaging and learning from the master himself, Stephen Gertman. As owner and distiller, Gertman provides guests with an intimate look into the fermentation process, showcasing the meticulous production of their signature Sempre Fi Corn Whiskey. This personal touch adds a layer of depth to the tour, making it a memorable experience for all attendees.

The Essence of Quality: Water Treatment and Mash Preparation

The tour kicks off with a detailed explanation of the critical role water quality plays in the distillation process. Ascendant Spirits prioritizes the purity of their water, employing reverse osmosis to remove any impurities that could compromise the taste of their final product. Visitors are then introduced to the mash cooker, a pivotal piece of equipment where grain and water are combined and heated to convert starch into sugar, setting the stage for fermentation.

Visit Ascendant Spirits

Tours are available at specific times throughout the weekend, providing a flexible schedule for visitors to explore the distillery. Located at 37 Industrial Way, with easy access and ample information available by contacting (805) 688-9090, planning a visit is straightforward and highly recommended for those curious about the craft of distillation.

Final Thoughts and Planning Your Visit

Ascendant Spirits Distillery presents an inviting opportunity to delve into the world of spirit making. From understanding the importance of water quality to witnessing the transformation of mash into spirits, the tour is an educational and enjoyable experience. For the most accurate information and to ensure a smooth visit, prospective guests are encouraged to consult the official website or reach out directly to the distillery. This visit not only promises a taste of finely crafted spirits but also a deeper appreciation for the art and science behind distillation.

Flask & Barrel Review of Ascendant Spirits Distillery

As a whiskey collector who’s seen his fair share of distillery tours, I’d rate my time at Ascendant Spirits a solid 4.7 out of 5. Here’s why.

First off, the place has a vibe. Nestled in Buellton, Santa Barbara County, it’s not just any distillery; it’s the first legal one in the area since Prohibition. That alone piqued my interest. Walking in, I felt a mix of excitement and curiosity, wondering if their spirits would live up to the hype. Spoiler alert: they did.

The tour kicked off with a warm welcome, setting the tone for what turned out to be a very informative and engaging experience. The owner and distiller, Stephen Gertman, was our guide, and man, does he know his stuff. Learning about the distillation process straight from the horse’s mouth added a personal touch that you don’t always get on these tours.

The highlight for me was diving into the specifics of how they make their Sempre Fi Corn Whiskey. Hearing about their meticulous water treatment process through reverse osmosis and seeing the mash cooker in action was fascinating. It’s not every day you get to see the transformation of grain and water into something as sublime as whiskey.

Of course, no tour is complete without a tasting, and Ascendant Spirits didn’t disappoint. Sampling their variety of award-winning whiskeys, vodkas, and gin in the tasting room was a treat. Each spirit had its unique character, a testament to the local agriculture and Gertman’s craftsmanship.

If I had to nitpick why it’s not a full 5/5, I’d say it’s just because I’ve been on so many tours, and while Ascendant Spirits stands out, there’s always room for a little something extra to completely blow me away. Maybe it’s the collector in me always searching for that next unparalleled experience.

What To Do Nearby Ascendant Spirits Distillery

Brick Barn Wine Estate: Enjoy a variety of tasting experiences, from regular tastings to private tours of the vineyard, cellar, and barrel room. Live music and food trucks are available every Saturday, making it a great place to spend a few hours. The estate is just a short drive from Ascendant Spirits, providing an easy transition from spirits to wines​​.

Firestone Walker Brewing Company: Known for its popular 805 beer, Firestone offers a great spot for lunch with a menu perfect for a day of tastings. Afterward, explore Barrelworks, their tasting room featuring beers from their wild ale program and barrel aging spirits program. It’s a fantastic way to taste unique beers that drink more like wine​​.

Industrial Way: This street has transformed from an industrial area to a hub of wine tasting rooms, spirit tasting rooms, a brewery, and dining options. Walking through Industrial Way provides a chance to experience the diversity of Buellton’s artisanal offerings in a single stroll​​.

Imagine Wine: Steps away from Helix Wine in Industrial Wine Works, Imagine Wine offers a boutique winery experience with aromatic wines for every palate. Known for their Paradise Mountain Syrah and Viognier, Imagine Wine also features classic artwork labels​​.

Industrial Eats: A must-visit restaurant in Buellton, Industrial Eats serves pizzas baked in open wood-ovens, and all ingredients are sourced locally and sustainably. The menu changes constantly, offering a fresh and unique dining experience each visit. Located on Industrial Way, it’s conveniently situated for a meal after a day of tastings​​.

Frequently Asked Questions

What restaurants are near Ascendant Spirits Distillery?

Burritos Lalo: It has a rating of 4.3 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at (805) 693-5692. Their address is 175 McMurray Rd, Buellton, CA 93427.

La Tequila: It has a rating of 4.4 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at (805) 697-7776. Their address is 35 W Hwy 246, Buellton, CA 93427.

Eddie’s Grill Buellton: It has a rating of 4.5 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at (805) 697-7127. Their address is 234 E Hwy 246 #107, Buellton, CA 93427, Floor 1 · Buellton Shopping Center.

What hotels are near Ascendant Spirits Distillery?

Pea Soup Andersen’s Inn: It has a rating of 4.4 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at (805) 688-3216. Their address is 51 E Hwy 246, Buellton, CA 93427.

Quality Inn Buellton – Solvang: It has a rating of 4.3 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at (805) 697-5366. Their address is 630 Ave of Flags, Buellton, CA 93427.

Sideways Inn: It has a rating of 4.3 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at (805) 688-8448. Their address is 114 E Hwy 246, Buellton, CA 93427.