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Read Text Only: Made in SF - No. 209 Gin


Talk about fate. Leslie Rudd purchased a winery in Napa with every intention of making wine, but as he was cleaning up rouge vines on his new property he stumbled upon a suspicious building with the faint lettering "Registered Distillery 209." Through the process of deduction, Rudd figured out that on his property in 1882, William Shuffler opened the 209th Gin distillery in the US.

Knowing an opportunity when he sees one, Rudd switched gears and purchased a distillery in San Francisco on Pier 50, and Distillery No. 209 was born (again), ready to contribute to the "cocktail culture" that San Francisco is known for. Arguably the most picturesque distillery in the US hovering over the San Francisco bay, No. 209 has been bringing gin back since 2005. Most classic cocktails were originally shaken and/or stirred with gin, not vodka; and Distillery No. 209's personal mission is to add flavor complexity back in the SF drink mix.

For those who are gin-wary (or just gin unaware), it constitutes spirits that have been distilled in juniper berries, and after that the flavors are up to the master crafter, which in No. 209's case is full-time distiller Mr. Arnie Hillesland. "Handcrafted" couldn't be a more accurate term as Hillesland literally hand sorts the cardamom seeds for fermentation by length, choosing only the shorter seeds for a sweeter taste and tossing the long seeds to avoid a bitter aftertaste. Hillesland has created a gin with a myriad of flavors leaning towards the citrus side with lemon peel and bergamot orange that has inspired signature cocktails across the city. In addition to its bright flavors, Distillery No. 209 prides itself on limiting the amount of congeners, or hang-over inducing substances appealing to both gin-thusiasts and novices alike.

The 21st century gin of Distillery No. 209 has done the legacy of gin pioneer William Shuffler proud with its single batch artisan pour. Using water only from San Francisco, and bottled 100% in the city, each sip is akin to ingesting the bay—just a more delicious version. Distillery No. 209 is a staple at most San Francisco restaurants and bars, but if you don't see it offered, do your part as a loca-vore and suggest it!

No. 209 GIN