The Making of Malahat Spirits: A Spirited Tale

“Made in San Diego. By Hand. In Small Batches.”

That’s how Malahat Spirits introduces its brand, on its website, and the story behind that brand is inspiring.

In 2012, three friends set out to create a brand that reflected their personalities, their character, and their integrity.

malahat-3 “We poured our hearts and souls into it,” said Antonio Grillo, one of the co-founders of Malahat Spirits, a San Diego distillery that they started from scratch—with no experience in distilling.

What they lacked in experience, they made up for in management chops and the ability to learn. The partners, who have backgrounds in finance and operations, quickly earned a gold medal from one of the first batches they released. A spiced rum took the gold in the 2014 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

Two copper pot stills, custom-designed for the distillers’ San Diego facility, are central to Malahat’s success launching with rum and whiskey. The company was named after the five masted schooner that delivered spirits to rum runners along the West Coast during Prohibition.

DSC_0331Grillo and his partners are so “hands-on” about the production of their spirits that they personally sign every label in their batches of 800 to 1,200 bottles. With their emphasis on “custom,” the labels produced from Labeltronix feature many special touches—from embossing, to UV spot varnishing—on the very special Arctic Shield Bright White Felt material.

Grillo says the friends who launched Malahat are “very fortunate” that their distributor loved the product, and the packaging. Starting in 10 Western States, with four products, Malahat Spirits are definitely “launched.” We know the old Malahat’s crew, and the rum runners they served, would be impressed.

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