SPIRITS – Graton Distilling Company
Graton Distilling Company, established in 2015, is located in the tiny, west Sonoma County town of Graton, California. Independently owned by Derek Benham, our stand-alone distillery is dedicated to producing carefully crafted spirits that reflect the artistry, flavors and vibe of our West County home. Our Distiller, Jeff Duckhorn, is locally known as a number cruncher gone rogue. He’s always loved making and creating, especially bread and beer. Jeff’s drive to create new flavors is a passion he brings to the distillery every day.
The centerpiece of our distillery is an innovative, continuous micro-column still custom built by Headframe Stills of Butte, Montana. Extremely versatile, our still allows for a wide range of spirits. “It’s definitely a unique piece of equipment,” says Distiller Jeff. “It’s like a finicky diva that needs tons of attention and TLC. But it’s worth it, our still is incredibly flexible and when treated right, we can make everything we want to from whiskey, bourbon and brandy to gin and vodka.” When crafting gin, special botanical baskets allow Distiller Jeff to gently coax aromas and flavors from each botanical through vapor distillation. Jeff is able to raise and lower temperatures by tenths of a degree to control the heat and length of vapor extractions, teasing out each botanical’s flavor essence.
The distillery’s first spirit, D. George Benham’s Sonoma Dry gin, was released in February 2016. “Sonoma Dry” is a distinctive new style of gin that combines the classic juniper character of London Dry with the bright, citrus notes of New Western style, blending the best of both worlds: intense, rich juniper artfully balanced with fresh citrus and other botanicals. The taste is big and bold yet well-balanced, touching every part of the palate. Local Sonoma County mixologists describe Benham’s gin as “cocktail perfect” because it’s easy to enjoy neat and shines in cocktails.