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Celebrating 10 Years of The Spirit of Florida

Celebrating 10 Years of The Spirit of Florida

St. Augustine Distillery, a pioneering force in the Florida craft spirits scene, proudly celebrates its upcoming 10th-anniversary on Tuesday, March 19th. A decade of innovation, dedication, and community support has defined the distillery’s journey from reviving a historic ice plant to becoming the trailblazer of bourbon distillation in the Sunshine State.

In November 2012, co-founders Mike Diaz and Philip McDaniel embarked on their journey by acquiring the dormant FP&L Ice Plant, dating back to 1907, with a vision to create Florida’s first bourbon. The meticulous restoration of the historic building earned St. Augustine Distillery multiple awards in 2014, including the “Excellence in Adaptive Reuse” from the Urban Land Institute, “Excellence in Culture and Historic Preservation” from the NW Florida Regional Council and “The Adelaide Sanchez Award” from The City of St. Augustine for restoration and preservation.

CEO Philip McDaniel’s advocacy efforts at both the State and Federal levels have significantly and positively impacted the craft spirits industry. From removing restrictions on spirits sold directly from distillery’s retail shops to the permanent reduction of federal excise taxes, McDaniel’s commitment has ushered in positive changes for the industry, including allowances for on-site sales, festivals, events, and consumer tastings.

St. Augustine Distillery first opened its doors with their Florida Cane Vodka and later introduced New World Gin and Pot Distilled Rum. After patiently aging for over two and a half years, the distillery proudly launched “Florida Double Cask Bourbon,” the first bourbon fermented, distilled, aged, and bottled in The Sunshine State. St Augustine Distillery now produces multiple award-winning bourbons including Florida Straight Bourbon, The Saint, Port Finished Bourbon, and multiple Limited Release offerings.

“As we mark the 10th anniversary of the St. Augustine Distillery, we honor a decade of spirit and tradition,” stated Susan Phillips, president and CEO of the St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra, and the Beaches Visitors & Convention Bureau. “The St. Augustine Distillery’s craftsmanship, innovation, and rich history have played a pivotal role in introducing connoisseurs and enthusiasts to Florida’s Historic Coast.  Congratulations to the St. Augustine Distillery for a decade of flavor, heritage, and enduring spirit.”

Over the years, St. Augustine Distillery has expanded its product line, garnering accolades for its spirits, tour experiences, and community initiatives. In 2016, the distillery was named “Best Craft Gin Distillery” by USAToday’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Travel Awards. Their guided tour experience was crowned “Best Whiskey Tour in North America” in the 2018 Drammie Awards, and they later were voted “Best Distillery Tour” in USAToday’s 2023 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards.

In its commitment to supporting arts, culture and community, the distillery has been a vital sponsor to events and local institutions like the Sing Out Loud music festival, the Fort Mose Jazz & Blues Concert Series, the Lincolnville Museum and Cultural Center, and participating in Habitat for Humanity home builds.

“Looking back, the past decade has been an incredible journey. We owe so much to our incredible team, local community, and dedicated fans,” says CFO and co-founder, Mike Diaz.

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CEO and co-founder, Philip McDaniel, adds “Everyone’s collective efforts have allowed us to enhance the craft distilling landscape in the Sunshine State, create local jobs, and prove that, without exception, Florida can produce a world-class bourbon.”

Looking forward, St. Augustine Distillery remains committed to excellence, embracing innovation and growth in the dynamic craft spirits industry.

To celebrate a decade of progress, the distillery is releasing a highly exclusive 10-Year Anniversary Blend bourbon, which incorporates four of the distillery’s oldest bourbon barrels, each aged over 9 years. This limited release of roughly 400 bottles will be available in-store only starting Saturday, March 16th. This unique spirit represents a piece of Florida history, inviting enthusiasts to join the celebration and secure a part of the distillery’s legacy.

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