The St. Augustine Distillery Company

We are a new business collaborative; a group of locals that share a dream. We wanted to bring the national movement of distilling super premium, small batch spirits to our community. And we want to do it better than anyone in the world. We knew that if we could bring some of the world's best distilling experts here — the oldest and coolest small city in America — with access to locally grown sugar cane, wheat, corn, and citrus, we could develop a finer quality spirit than just about any other place in the world. When we engage our farming partners to help preserve our heritage by growing crops unique to our region, we challenge the status quo of commercially produced spirits. In turn, we will provide greater choices to our friends and customers. And as we explore and develop new products, we will share them with everyone who wants to learn with us.

Locally Founded and Community Owned

Our small company started as most do, with a conversation and a good idea. Philip McDaniel and Ryan Dettra, friends and community advocates, wanted to bring something special to St. Augustine; something that could take root and grow. Craft distilling was happening all over the country, but not in Florida. So we talked to some people and found they shared our vision. First was Mike Diaz. A smart guy, Mike got it right away and was the first to sign on. He’s our angel, CFO, and our voice of reason. But this idea was so big, we needed more help. After 18 months (and a lot of coffees and lunches), 28 brave, beautiful local people signed on to help us build this dream. Three years later we are standing here together in this historic building, proudly taking our place in this city’s rich history.

A Passion for Spirits

We were fascinated with the idea of making craft spirits. Utilizing local ingredients to produce whiskey, rum, vodka and gin challenged the way we thought about a cocktail. Some of us have spent a significant portion of our adult life in pursuit of the perfect adult drink – so we knew this could be fun. And so we did what we do best: talked to people. We talked to the smartest people in the industry we could find. Farmers, distillers, engineers, bartenders, consumers—we talked to them all. Armed with great advise and insights, we designed and built what we think is the most beautiful and well-designed craft distillery in America. In these stills we are making some of the best spirits in the country.

Farmer Partners

A key part of our plan involved meeting local farmers, getting to know them, and learning what they could grow to help us make spirits. We talked to a lot of people and met some of the smartest, most honest, and hardworking people we’ve ever known. After explaining what we hoped to create, they were as excited as we were. Together, we are finding out what is possible and what is practical. We collaborate to plant things that can help us make world-class spirits. In return, the business we bring them helps them preserve their farms and the farming heritage.

Florida’s Oldest Ice Plant & Our Home

Finding a place big enough to house a distillery and convenient enough to allow folks to visit and learn what we were creating, was no small task. There was one building that had everything we needed: The Historic FP&L Ice Plant. Built as part of St. Augustine’s first power and ice complex in 1907 (we have pictures from 1925 in the museum to show you), we have lovingly restored and brought her back into service so she can serve the community for the next century. The Ice Plant is a contributing building to the Lincolnville Neighborhood on the National Register of Historic Places and was the first of it's kind to make commercial block ice in Florida over 100 years ago. Today, she is helping us make Florida’s first bourbon and other fine craft spirits. We love our new home and hope you will too.

Meet the team:

David Pickerell

Former Master Distiller and VP of Operation for Makerís Mark and a 30 year veteran of the Distilled Spirits Industry, David acted as head consultant and assisted with product development of our small batch bourbon. Over the past four years, Dave has started more than 20 successful craft distilleries throughout the US. Prior to Makerís Mark, Dave consulted for the large corporate spirits companies and worked on a number of worldwide spirits projects.

Brendan Wheatley

Brendan was a Michael Scholar recipient and the first American invited to Japan to study whiskey production with master distiller and blender Ichiro Akoto. Brendan also worked with award-winning Germain-Robin~Alambic Brandy Distillery (where he managed their extensive barrel aging program), Bellmont Farms Distillery (a farm-to-glass distillery with ecologically sustainable models), and several start-up distilleries. He serves as Spirit Judge for the American Distilling Institute.