Blue Agave SB Industry Event


Mixologist Jeremy Lake’s “Bourbon Blues” cocktail with crème de cassis, agave nectar, fresh muddled blueberries, and of course, Breaker Bourbon.


Blue Agave’s “Gingerly Break” with Breaker Bourbon, lime juice, fresh cucumbers, St. Germaine, and ginger beer.


Kyle (Director of Sales) and Steve (Master Distiller) answering questions about Breaker Bourbon


the bar at Blue Agave in downtown Santa Barbara


two Breaker fans enjoying the cocktails

Many Breaker fans flocked to downtown Santa Barbara Zagat-rated restaurant and bar Blue Agave for fresh bourbon cocktails Sunday evening. Blue Agave paired with Ascendant to host an industry event showcasing Breaker Bourbon in fresh springtime cocktails. Ascendant’s mixologist Jeremy Lake was serving Blue Agave’s “Gingerly Break” cocktail as well as “Bourbon Blues,” his own Breaker creation. The pairings with cucumber, ginger, crème de cassis (currant liquor), and blueberry in the two cocktails showed the bourbon’s versatility. As someone who drinks Breaker Bourbon neat, I happily downed these delicious cocktails.

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Bourbon Cures Vodka Induced Blindness

Yes, its true: Bourbon is actually the doctor recommended treatment for vodka induced blindness. In November, a NewZealand man imbibed a bit too much vodka and his body converted the overdose in methanol consumption to the toxic compound formaldehyde. The methanol raises the body’s blood acidity due to formaldehyde conversion which can damage or kill the optic nerve. Without too much scientific jargon, this type of poisoning can cause permanent blindness. Yikes!

Booze for medicinal purpose

Booze for medicinal purpose

As the man recounts, “I thought it had got dark and I’d missed out on a bit of time but it was only about half-past-three in the afternoon. I was fumbling around the bedroom for the light switch but … I’d just gone completely blind.”After a few hours of no sight, the man decided to make an appearance at the the doctor’s office where he was surprisingly treated with a IV drip filled with bourbon. WHAT? Aren’t you suppose to avoid mixing your darks with your lights, your beers from your wines? Believe me, I had the same reaction.

But here’s why it works: in the case of vodka induced blindness, bourbon is used for treatment because it actually blocks the body’s ability to metabolize the methanol. The ethanol found in bourbon is more easily broken down by the body, so it halts the metabolization of methanol. This is the most effective method to prevent this type of poisoning. Of course, there is a very low probability of this type of poisoning actually happening while your sipping martinis at happy hour. But just in case, now you know the one circumstance where you definitely should mix your poisons.

{REMEMBER: if you truly suspect that someone has methanol poisoning, DO NOT try to treat the situation at home – go to your medical provider and have the experts administer the IV of bourbon}


Theunissen, M. “Whisky saves man’s eyesight after being blinded by vodka”. The New Zealand Herald. November 30, 2012.

First Batch of Breaker Bourbon Bottled & Distributed


Breaker Bourbon spotted in El Rancho Market in Buellton on Thursday, March 14.

We are very proud to announce that Ascendant Spirits’ first batch of its signature Breaker Bourbon has hit restaurants, bars, and stores in 5 Southern California Counties: Santa Barbara, Ventura, San Luis Obispo, Los Angeles, and Orange. An up-to-date list of all locations carrying Breaker Bourbon is on our website.

Word on the street is that Breaker Bourbon is flying off shelves at supermarkets. At a tasting at El Rancho Market in Solvang, one taster remarked, “I don’t like bourbon, but I like that.”

If you see Breaker Bourbon on a restaurant menu, liquor or grocery store shelf, or bar back, we’d love if you could tweet, instagram, or Facebook your picture using the hashtags #BreakerBourbon and #ASDistillery, and to @ASDistillery.

Bar Back at Dargan’s Irish Pub & Restaurant

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ADI Conference Shows Craft Distilling Building in Popularity


Ascendant Spirits’ Rectifying Column, Gin Basket, and Condensing Column (left to right)

The American Distilling Institute‘s weeklong 10th Annual Spirits Conference and Vendor Expo in Denver, Colorado wrapped up a few days ago. Its huge attendance shows that craft distilling is hotter than ever. The American Distilling Institute has seen the number of small distilleries grow to 400 from just 70 a decade ago. Aficionados of craft spirits can attend the conference, which is spread across many Denver hotels and restaurants that showcase craft tastings and seminars.

Ascendant Spirits is part of this craft distilling revival. It proudly accepts its title as the first legal distillery in Santa Barbara County since Prohibition.

Check out conference highlights here.

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First and second bottling parties

Bottles waiting to be filled
Our bottling line can fill 6 bottles at a time

Our bottling line can fill 6 bottles at a time

Sealing the bottles

Sealing the bottles

Steve numbering each bottle by hand

Steve numbering each bottle by hand

Box making

Box making


The finished product!


Cases of Breaker Bourbon ready for distribution

22 Ascendant fans came to the distillery during 2 separate bottling parties to help us fill, seal, and package our first batch of Breaker Bourbon whisky. Breaker Bourbon is a truly small batch whisky — Steve blended 8 carefully selected barrels together to produce just over 1600 bottles.

Everyone found their role in the process and had a really good time. Some made the boxes for the bourbon to put in for distribution, some filled, some wiped bottles, some sealed, some … After dinner and Breaker Bourbon or American Star Vodka cocktails, each helper got to take a bottle of bourbon home.


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Ascendant Spirits Co-Sponsors SB Independent’s Whiskey Cocktail Contest

On Wednesday Ascendant Spirits‘ very own Master Distiller Steve Gertman helped judge the Santa Barbara Independent magazine’s 6th annual amateur cocktail competition at Wildcat Lounge in downtown Santa Barbara. This year, with its occurrence so close to St. Patrick’s Day, the theme was “Whiskey Rebellion” — you guessed it, every cocktail featured some form of whiskey, bourbon, or scotch. Contestants made some amazing concoctions using lots of citrus (grapefruit, clementine oranges), maraschino cherries, BACON (bourbon’s best friend), spicy bloody mary mix, shrimp… the list goes on.

Steve judging the SB Independent's "Whiskey Rebellion" Cocktail Contest

Steve judging the SB Independent’s “Whiskey Rebellion” Cocktail Contest

Ascendant Spirits also sponsored the 1st prize — one of the first bottles of Breaker Bourbon Whisky — as well as the second and third prizes of a personal distillery tour with barrel sampling.

1st Prize Winner Lynn Dubinsky, Steve, and Breaker Bourbon Whisky

1st Prize Winner Lynn Dubinsky, Steve, and Breaker Bourbon Whisky

Read the SB Independent’s coverage here.

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Official Opening with the Town of Buellton


Last night, over 50 guests, including Buellton’s Mayor Dale, California Senator Jackson, and several media representatives gathered at the Ascendant Spirits, Inc. facility to officially welcome the company to the Buellton community. Backlit by a colorful sunset, the crowd applauded as the mayor, the senator, and the Gertman Family cut the symbolic ribbon. Once the doors opened, attendees had an opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes view of the spirits making process. In addition to tastings and delicious appetizers (thanks to the fabulous chefs at Avant next door), guests were guided through the entire spirit-making process by the knowledgeable host, Mr. Paul Gertman.

A wonderful evening for all those who attended!

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Grand Opening Weekend

Ascendant Spirits, Inc.’s Doors Officially Open!

After over two years of preparation, we opened our doors and invited folks in for tastings and tours. Attendees tasted Breaker, our signature Bourbon blended from eight different barrels selected by our master distiller, and American Star, our five time distilled vodka made from 100% American corn. We also offered tours of our facility that walked through the entire process for creating our spirits. Both days we had an amazing turnout – over 400 people came in to welcome us to the neighborhood.  Thanks to everyone who came to support us, and to those of you who missed it, our regular hours are Fridays 4-8pm and Saturdays/Sundays 11-6pm.

official opening

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Santa Barbara County’s First Distillery Since Prohibition Opens March 2 & 3

The Ascendant Spirits Team is pleased to announce the grand opening of Ascendant Spirits, Inc., the first distillery in Santa Barbara County since prohibition. Proud to be part of the American distilling revival, our distillery is deeply committed to using the finest American grains and the best fresh, organic, local fruit in our products.  The event will be held next Saturday and Sunday (March 2 & 3) from 11 am-7 pm and will include facility tours and tastings of our bourbon and vodka, free of charge.

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The distillery is located at 37 Industrial Way, Suite 103 Buellton, CA, which is nestled conveniently between Terravant Wine Company and Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company. So come enjoy a variety of local spirits, wines, and beers with your friends – the more the merrier!

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Bourbon Barrels Arrive!

80 barrels of bourbon aged for 5 years.

80 barrels of bourbon aged for 5 years.

Today, 80 barrels of 5+ year aged bourbon were delivered to our distillery. The scent of the wood and “angel’s share” of whisky evaporating from the barrels has resulted in a smoky, spicy, and oaky aroma wafting through the distillery. These barrels are filled with bourbon–but in order to be called bourbon by law, this whiskey must have been aged in brand new, white American oak barrels that have been charred on the inside.

Our Master Distiller Steve will select 8 of these barrels based on their unique flavor profile. Each barrel ages differently and develops distinct flavors based on the wood, construction, and seal of each barrel. Some barrels may have a heavy oak flavor, or lots of smokiness or vanilla. The 8 barrels he selects to blend together will complement each other to form a complete and complex spirit. In this sense, Steve is a lot like a winemaker, and bourbon is a lot like wine. A lot of a bourbon’s craftsmanship can be attributed to the blending process and the sophisticated palette of the Master Distiller.

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