Tag Archives: Ascendant Spirits

Pucker up, American Star Vodka now with Caviar Lime!


Do you add lime to your favorite vodka drink?


Our small flavor still, nicknamed UFO due to it being silver and bulbous, is cooking at full tilt these days. We’re making a caviar lime flavored version of our award-winning American Star Vodka. Caviar Limes get their name from the little flavor bursts you get when you break them open.

We’ve had a lot of fun making this delicious spirit! This vodka is a bright, flavorful, and clean


expression of the unique and rare caviar lime. The caviar lime is less acidic than its more common lime relatives, and contains essential oils in its skin that are not found in other citrus.

These limes are grown nearby, especially for us on one of the few farms producing caviar limes in the entire country. Once the fresh limes are delivered to the distillery, we carefully infuse them with our six-time distilled American Star Vodka. The resulting spirit is a rare vodka that is perfect for sipping straight or replacing other vodkas in your favorite cocktails.

American Star Caviar Lime is the new epitome in ultra premium citrus vodka.

You’ll start seeing American Star Caviar Lime Vodka in bars, restaurants,

resorts, and specialty retailers staring in September.

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Struck by a bolt of Silver Lightning Moonshine

Silver Lightning Moonshine

Everyone’s heard of the original American outlaw signature drink: moonshine. But not everyone has tried it. Have you?

You’ll soon get to taste the best moonshine West of the Pecos (and maybe east, too), because Ascendant Spirits’ Master Distiller  Steve Gertman has perfected a truly Californian small batch of premo moonshine.

Drinking moonshine is an American custom. Since the 1700s American farmers have been mashing their leftover grain and corn to make whiskey. Moonshine gets its renegade reputation from those who hid their copper stills in the densely forested Appalachian mountains to avoid paying taxes on the product.

Making moonshine is an art that’s been secretly passed down for generations. Moonshine is made by fermenting corn in water and yeast. The yeast eats up the sugar in the corn and transforms it into a potent alcohol. Corn is naturally sweet, giving moonshine its
signature nectarous taste.

Back when, bootleggers would boil the fermented corn mash in the middle of the night using only moonlight to guide them through the nighttime process of distillation. Working only by the moonlight helped hide the fire’s smoke and their secret from the law.

Steve Gertman pouring grain

Our master distiller, Steve, took a rugged process that too often yields less than superior results and perfected it. Other moonshines that cut corners and use inferior ingredients will taste like flavored nail polish remover. However, Ascendant Spirits’ small batch Silver Lightning Moonshine is a premium craft product that can be enjoyed neat or with your favorite mixer. All hard liquor has rough roots. But hard liquor becomes fine liquor when craft distillers like us take the time to refine and perfect the product.

Silver Lightning runs clean and smooth with floral and maize notes on a creamy sweet finish. A good moonshine should taste like the grains from which it is made, which is why we use only 100% yellow sweet corn sourced from New Mexico.

Our unique California coastal valley marine climate allows us to produce some of the best whiskey and spirits in the U.S.A.

And moonshine isn’t just for drinking in overalls, comfortable as they may be. We’ve brought this American original into the 21st century and made it a drink for everyone. Make sure you get a bottle quickly, because once the moon comes out on July 2nd it’ll be gone.

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Dreamin’ of Strawberry Fields



Nestled in the central coast’s agricultural belt, Ascendant Spirits has access to a multitude of fresh produce year-round. May is one of the best times of the year because it means its strawberry season! While most people may associate strawberries with shortcakes and chocolates, our master distiller thinks of ways to infuse this berry into our spirits.  Of course, there’s no recipe book for fresh fruit infusions, so our distillery has become quite the science lab over the last few months. After just a little more tinkering, Steve (the master distiller) and Anthony (his apprentice) will have the perfectly balanced recipe for both a strawberry moonshine and strawberry vodka that promises to refresh during the warm summer months.


 These spirits’ unique flavors are derived from local organic strawberries grown just 35.5 miles north of the distillery. Since its just a hop and a skip away, a few of us decided to take a field trip over to Santa Maria to meet the farmers and see what strawberry growing is really all about.



As you can see from these pictures, there is a reason why this is called the agricultural belt. In Santa Maria alone, 437 million pounds of strawberries are grown annually. We purchase our organic strawberries from Innovative Produce Farm, which ships their crops all over the US and beyond (fun fact: the majority of their broccoli is sent to China!).  While we were there, we had the pleasure of meeting George, a farmer whose family has been on these lands for the last five generations. In addition to strawberries, he grows broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, celery, and kale, rotating the crops seasonally. The acidic soil and constant sunshine are the key ingredients to growing the perfect strawberries. The black plastic you see in the picture holds in the moist humus soil, protects against weeds, and lessens the need to water. 





After walking through the fields with George, we were handed our crates of strawberries. The aroma of these berries filled the car and we couldn’t help trying a few. All I can say is I cannot wait for Steve to finish blending these little bites of perfection into our spirits!

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Taste California Petition

After trying Breaker Bourbon and AImagemerican Star Vodka in our tasting room, many people promptly grab their wallets and ask for a bottle. They figure that distilleries, like wineries and breweries, can sell glasses or bottles of their products in their tasting rooms. Wrong!

After the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, states were given the authority to regulate the alcohol industry to prevent the same abuse of power that led to the passing of Prohibition in 1919. As a result, states created a three-tier distribution system where alcohol producers, including distilleries, can only sell their products to wholesale distributors, who in turn can only sell to retailers. Consumers can only get alcohol products from retailers except in states that have made exceptions for breweries and wineries. California is one such state–breweries and wineries are able to simultaneously be producers and retailers.

In California, distributors have lobbied to prevent distilleries from gaining the same privileges as breweries and wineries. However, these restrictions on distilleries are especially detrimental for small craft distilleries like Ascendant Spirits who could use extra revenue from selling in a tasting room to generate more products and expand. We believe that allowing distilleries to sell in their tasting rooms wouldn’t hurt distributors as they fear–consumers who would buy bottles in tasting rooms would more likely make their return purchases in their nearest retail store rather than in tasting rooms. Allowing tasting room purchases would sustain the attention of consumers and benefit distributors in the long run.

The Taste California petition, which advocates for distilleries to be able to sell products in their tasting room, is a win-win for distilleries, distributors, and retailers!

Please support Ascendant Spirits’ efforts to try to sell our products in our tasting room by signing the Taste California Petition here!


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Goodland Organics Farm Visit

inside a caviar lime


Caviar Limes are these strange little citrus fruit are native to Australia, and have become a high demand item for accenting sushi dishes, gelato desserts, and, of course, hand-crafted spirits. Today, there are only four farms in the US that grow this variety of lime and Goleta’s very own Goodland Organic Farm is the only one that grows them organically. Luckily for us at Ascendant Spirits, this farm is just miles away so we can infuse our spirits with the limes the same day they were picked. 


caviar lime flowercaviar lime on vine

Since I never had heard of a caviar lime before Ascendant Spirits, our team decided to visit the farm for ourselves and get a closer look at how these fruit are produced at the Goodland Organic Farm. The views of this farm are breathtaking – the rows of hass avocado trees, cherimoyas, coffee, and caviar limes overlook the Pacific Ocean, and on a clear day the outline of the Channel Islands can be seen. The entire farm is located in the mountains, so the caviar limes’ trees reside on the steep hillside. Spring is just the start of their growing season, so some trees are budding vibrant purple flowers while others were filled with ripe caviar limes. The fruit and flowers are guarded by sharp thorns, so pickers must wear thick gloves to protect themselves.


Goodland Farm

Goodland Organic is certified organic by California Certified Organic Farmer (CCOF) organization, whose accredited by the USDA and meets all the standards of the National Organics Program. For this group, organic food means “produced without the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, sewage sludge, bioengineering (GMOs),  or ionizing radiation”. In additional to verifying the crops are grown organically, this group also provides farmers with the resources to educate consumers, advocate policy, and marketing support so that these farms can compete with non-organic farms. These ethical practices make for fresh delicious fruit that we love infusing our spirits with!

{coming soon: caviar lime gin & caviar lime vodka}


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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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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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