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SLO Brew’s new distillery is now open, serving 5 craft spirits

A new San Luis Obispo distillery is now serving handcrafted whiskey, gin, bourbon and more and will hold its grand opening on Nov. 2.

SLO Brewing Co. has announced the grand opening festivities of Rod & Hammer’s SLO Stills, a small-batch distillery and craft tasting room located adjacent to the company’s The Rock brewhouse near the SLO County Regional Airport at 855 Aerovista Lane.

The 21-and-older venue is currently open for limited hours, Friday through Sunday from 3 to 9 p.m. The grand opening event will be from 2 to 7 p.m.

Once the grand opening takes place, the distillery will expand its hours to to noon to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday and 3 to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Rod & Hammer’s, launched by company co-owners Hamish Marshall and Rodney Cegelski, offers five handcrafted spirits: whiskey, bourbon (straight bourbon and uncut cask bourbon), gin and vodka.

“Over the past three years we have been experimenting with distilling small batches of rye whiskey,” Cegelski said in a statement. “Today, we have a full distillery and brewery operating under one roof.”

Whiskey made from beer mash

The company’s rye whiskey is derived from SLO Brewing Co.’s in-house beer mash produced at SLO Brew Rock’s 30-barrel brewhouse, SLO Brewing announced.

The spirits are aged in 15-gallon oak barrels; each SLO Stills whiskey is cut with “purified and desalinated Pacific Ocean water.” Cegelski is a Shell Beach surfer, and Marshall, an Australia native, came to the Central Coast years ago.

“SLO Stills was crafted to reflect our story,” Marshall said in a statement. “Now that things are up and running, we want to share that personal, elevated experience with our visitors.”

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San Luis Obispo distillery Rod & Hammer’s SLO Stills is named after co-founders Rodney Cegelski, left, and Hamish Marshall. It offers bourbon, whiskey and other spirits. David Middlecamp dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

SLO Stills joins an emerging local distillery scene of more than a dozen operations and the nonprofit Distillers of SLO County, which promotes a distillery trail.

Guests at SLO Stills will have the chance to join the distillery’s Barrel Club, receiving a personal 5-gallon oak barrel to age their whiskey in over the course of a year at the tasting room. Members also will have access to special releases, complimentary tastings and personalized bottles of bourbon.

“Head distiller Paul Quinn will consult members on customizing the depth and flavor of their spirit with varying oak infusions at a range of char levels,” the company said in a press release. “On a quarterly basis, participants will be invited to taste their whiskey from the barrel to determine whether the spirit should be bottled or continue to age.”

“We’re sharing the craft experience by walking people through the distillation process and teaching them to create a unique spirit that’s completely their own,” Quinn said.

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An shot of the new Rod & Hammer’s SLO Stills distillery at The Rock in SLO. Courtesy photo

The decor of the tasting room features cowhide upholstered seating and leather couches, wicker lanterns, vintage surfboards and planks from the original Pismo Pier.

The craft cocktail menu includes a smoky old fashioned, margarita, Manhattan, whiskey mule and a whiskey sour to pair with tapas. SLO Brewing Co. offerings also include Porch Pounder canned wine, Tio Rodrigo craft beer micheladas and select SLO Brew beers available at the bar.

For information, visit slostills.com or call 805-543-1843.

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Nick Wilson covers the city of San Luis Obispo and has been a reporter at The Tribune in San Luis Obispo since 2004. He also writes regularly about K-12 education, Cal Poly, Morro Bay and Los Osos. He is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara and UC Berkeley and is originally from Ojai.
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