No. 209 Gin
No. 209 Gin
The No. 209 story begins in New York in 1870, when William Scheffler purchased the patent for California rights to a new design of a pot still. He journeyed west and eventually became a distiller at Krug in St. Helena, Napa Valley. In 1880, Scheffler bought Edge Hill Estate in St. Helena, at the time one of the most impressive wineries in the Napa Valley. A distiller at heart, in 1882 Scheffler added a stone and brick distillery to the winemaking facilities at Edge Hill. He registered the distillery with the Federal Government and was given distillery license number 209 which he proudly painted above the front door of his new distillery building. His distilled spirits were very high quality and won numerous awards, including a medal at the Universal Exposition of 1889 in Paris, France. The long lost medal came up for auction just as we were opening the distillery and is on display at the original distillery building in St Helena.
In 1999 Leslie Rudd became the new steward of the Edge Hill property. One day while he was surveying the property, he noticed the faintly visible words “Registered Distillery No. 209” painted above the iron doors of what was being used as a hay barn. Unearthing the rest of the story was the point of inspiration for No. 209 Gin and the historical restoration of Edge Hill. The restoration of the original Distillery No. 209 received preservationist awards from both Napa County and the State of California. However, the size and location of the original distillery building were not conducive to our plans for the revival of Distillery No. 209. Therefore, we built a new distillery on Pier 50 in San Francisco – coincidentally, the birthplace of the gin martini. True to our initial goals, we have taken the best of traditional Old World distilling techniques and married them with a passion for excellence, innovative thinking, and a willingness to take risks to create No. 209 Gin, a drink for the connoisseur in all of us - after all, even a flawed person can aspire to greatness.No. 209 Gin and San Francisco are a natural fit. They not only share a reverence for tradition and a passion for the best, but also a confident push-the-boundaries attitude that encourages risk-taking and daring innovation. So putting our distillery – the only distillery in the world that is built over water – on renovated Pier 50 in San Francisco was an easy decision. Besides putting us in the shadow of AT&T Park, home of the 2014 World Series Champion San Francisco Giants, the natural cooling properties of 13 feet of San Francisco Bay water beneath the pier keeps the air temperature in the distillery perfect for distilling year-round.
The distillation process uses a pot still to extract flavors and alcohol in vapor form which is then captured and condensed into gin. It is both an art and a science, but most experts agree that the finest gin is produced using single-shot distillation in a copper alembic pot still. Each distillation takes nearly 11 hours, not including the overnight maceration process.
No. 209 Gin’s base spirit is four-times column-distilled from Midwestern corn and has a smooth, almost sweet finish. The water used is pure snowmelt from the Sierra-Nevada Mountains. After letting our botanicals macerate slowly in our Forsythe’s copper alembic still overnight – gently coaxing out the natural flavors so our gin always taste bright, never bitter, we distill the product a fifth time. Then we discard the heads (beginning) and tails (end) of the distillation. Only the heart (middle) of the distillation is pure enough to be bottled as No. 209 Gin.