Young, Wild, & Three

Paso Robles Distillery Celebrates Third Year with a Birthday Bash You Won’t Want To Miss


Paso Robles, CA

This month Calwise Spirits Co. is hosting a 2-day birthday bash to celebrate 3 years of distilling innovative, California-inspired craft spirits. One year ago, Calwise opened the doors of the central coast’s first and only distillpub. The 6,000 sq. ft. space in Paso Robles features a craft cocktail bar, restaurant, and distillery. Guests can enjoy a cocktail made from fresh squeezed juices and housemade syrups or experience a tasting flight of Calwise’s award-winning spirits – all made on-site in their copper still.

Calwise’s signature offering is the “Big Sur Gin” ($35), which is distilled from wine grapes and infused with 12 organic wild herbs that are largely native to the iconic Big Sur coastline, including white sage, yerba santa, bay, fennel, and elderberry.

As a Central Coast native and an outdoorsman who studied plant sciences at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Aaron Bergh alighted on the idea of Big Sur Gin while hiking in the region’s oceanfront mountains. “I’ve been hiking around the Central Coast for years and wanted to capture the aromas and flavors I found in the wild to share my experiences,” he says. The results speak for themselves: last year Big Sur Gin was crowned Best in Class at the Mid State Fair’s California Craft Spirits Competition. In just three years, Calwise has gained statewide retail distribution, including central coast Vons, Bevmo, and California Fresh Market as well as leading bars such 1122 Cocktail Lounge, Pappy McGregors, Fish Gaucho, Flour House, and Granada Bistro.

In the past year, Calwise Spirits Co. has released new spirits, including a smoked gin, British-style rum, and orange liqueurs marketed under a spinoff brand dubbed the Western Fruit Exchange, featuring labels and imagery in homage of California’s agricultural heritage. New creations, including whiskey, brandy, and vodka, are in the works.

The Birthday Bash Weekend Details: June 29th-30th

“Everyone has an anniversary party, but we wanted to have something that felt a little more personal. Growing Calwise Spirits Co. has been more like watching a human grow and at this point my customers feel more like a family. My team and I sat down and quickly came to the conclusion that the only proper way to celebrate would

be a full-on birthday party,” says Bergh. Calwise has been hard at work preparing for its birthday. As soon as the new distillery opened a year ago they began ageing gin and rum in American Oak whiskey barrels to create a special Anniversary Edition of their award-winning spirits. The ageing process resulted in refined, mellow expressions of their spirits complimented by bold, complex flavors from the oak influence. Some of the spirit in the barrel will be bottled for release at this year’s party while some will be held back to continue to age for release at next year’s anniversary.

The birthday bash will begin on Saturday with a members-only barrel tasting paired with artisan chocolates (co- hosted with local chocolatier, Breda Chocolate). The main open-to-the-public birthday-style party will begin at 1pm and will feature complimentary spirits tastings, birthday games like “Pin the Tail on the Bear” (the company and state mascot), and a photobooth. Madonna Inn birthday cake will be served alongside spirit- infused frozen treats from Leo Leo Gelato.

Sunday will feature a more intimate distillery experience. Bergh will be personally leading distillery tours and complimentary guided tastings. Tours will be held at 1pm, 2pm, and 3pm.

This event is free and open to the public. No RSVP required. For more information, visit or find their event on Facebook.

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Master distiller Aaron Bergh was destined for this adventure. During Prohibition, the Feds shut down his family’s moonshining operation—but not for very long. A century later, the law came knocking again, because the college authorities didn’t appreciate Aaron making hooch in his dorm. Calwise Spirits is Aaron’s ode to this renegade heritage, and a nod to his homeland of coastal California. Now established as one of the youngest master distillers in the world, he has created a line of premium spirits that embody the essence of the Golden State, infusing them with native ingredients that provide a pure taste of liquid California. Visit