L.A.’s own Greenbar Craft Distillery featured on Eye on LA
on 26/05/15 at 7:24 pmBooze News, Industry, Spirits
BoozeNews covered this iconic organic spirit makers back in 2010! Eye-on-LA’s recent piece on Greenbar shows co-owner Litty Mathew letting us know that they are “LA’s first distillery since prohibition — until 2014 distilleries were not allowed to be open in the State of California to paid visitors.” Yes, Greenbar now has a tasting room in DTLA @ 2459 E 8th St, Los Angeles, CA 90021.
Check them out on the ABC7 Eye-on-LA video at 8:52.
Our BoozeNews piece on Greenbar was pretty exhaustive, so I decided to pluck a few highlights out for you from Melkon Khosrovian’s (Litty’s husband and co-owner) thorough narrative.
“We make stuff almost like cooks make stock. We add, we stir, we taste. Even from the same tree, two fruits taste different. Seasonally, ingredients change.”
[BoozeNews prompts: You talk about vodka as a palate cleaner when eating.]
“This is a huge, controversial issue. We’ve almost had fist-fights with sommeliers about this. We hosted these paring dinners with top chefs around the world. We would work with them directly. When we did tastings, the chefs would love them. There are lots of flavors that don’t go with wine. Spicy things, fatty things, fishy things – overwhelm wine, or just throw the flavor off. Chefs felt constricted having to cook to wine. When they ran across spirits – ‘holy crap we can cook whatever.’ Especially, for the small plate pairings, there’s huge palate fatigue.
A few years ago, it got to a boiling point. I called up the head of Enology at the University Not-to-be-Named. Poured out my heart to this professor. He said, ‘Well, here’s the reality. Don’t put my name on it too much, but wine, because it’s low proof, does not cleanse the palate.’”
[On why they try to stay within "Organic" boundaries as much as possible.]
“We noticed the trend in their production and the change in the quality of their products, we started to ask them [Farmers] – why are you guys all going organic? Like someone put out a memo. A lot of the time they were getting ready to retire. That’s kind of a weird time to making this huge change in your business. And they were like ‘Well, when we were the age of our kids who are going to inherit our farm we couldn’t inherit either some of the farm or all of the farm because our parents generation had poured too many chemicals on the land, and it wasn’t suitable for farming anymore.’ But, we don’t gouge our customers, we pay for it. Our stuff costs at wholesale – less than Grey Goose. So imagine what they’re making. Our mission is to make better spirits — then contribute to a better planet.”
[On eco-friendly packaging]
“Heavy chunky bottles? People used to think SUVs were cool. It’s pointless. The goal is to have packaging that conveys that idea of quality craftsmanship without being heavy. We are attempting to redefine luxury. Quality is luxury. Packaging conveys that. But Packaging doesn’t have to be at odds with what’s on the inside of the bottles.”
[A distillation of the genesis of their principles and philosophy]
“My wife and are immigrants. She’s Indian. I was born in Armenia, we both came as kids. Like most immigrants, we came here as dirt poor. This idea that living a green life style – this is what poor people do. There’s no waste, there’s no excess, because there’s no opportunity for it. So for us to live a green life style is almost redundant, because that’s how we live. It’s not a novelty if you come from poor countries.”