Tag Archives: distillery

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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Happy Earth Day 2013!


Here in Santa Barbara County, Earth Day is a big deal – the city hosts a festival with an eco-marketplace, live music performances, and even guest speakers such as Bill Nye (you know, the science guy!). Several non-profit and socially conscious brand representatives educated visitors about how they can positively impact the planet every day, not just on April 22. At Ascendant Spirits, we also believe that Earth Day is every day.


Our distillery was founded in Buellton because of its proximity to fresh and organic produce. Using local ingredients enhances the taste of our products, eliminates our need to transport items thousands of miles across the country, and ensures that our fruit is grown using sustainable farming techniques. We regularly visit Goodland Organics in Goleta and Innovative Produce in Santa Maria to speak with the farmers about each harvest and to build relationships within our local community.

From the beginning, we have strived to use technologies that reduce our impact on the planet. For example, all of our machines are powered by steam, and we could easily just dump the water down the drain once we finished one distilling run. Instead, we collect and recycle it through our boiler to create steam again for the next run. This substantially limits the amount of water we extract from this drought-prone region (actual numbers will be coming soon; we haven’t received our first utilities statement yet!). We also have found some interesting uses for some of the waste that is generated from the distillation process, which includes grains, acetone and methanol.

Pig FarmThe grains we use (corn, barley, and rye) are left behind once the ethanol evaporates during distillation process. This grain mash is not particularly useful to us, but we found someone just down the road who can’t get enough of it – a local pig farmer! Since the ethanol completely evaporates out, the mash is the perfect blend of grains for a healthy pig diet. Acetone and methanol are separate byproducts of the distillation process and if consumed they can cause blindness or even fatality. Obviously, we keep these compounds far from our end products, but these are not useless substances. Acetone is an effective cleaning solvent that we use to wash our floors. Methanol is one of the cleanest burning fuels on the market, and we have future plans to convert our forklift to be run exclusively on it. This not only reduces the effect on the atmosphere, but eliminates the amount of waste generated on premise.

Today, we raise our glasses to all of our partners who have helped us reach some of our sustainability goals and we cannot wait to find new ways to reduce our impact even more. From Ascendant Spirits – Happy Earth Day!

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