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St. Augustine Distillery debuts first Florida-made bourbon since Prohibition

Florida Double Cask Bourbon made with locally sourced ingredients

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla – Hundreds of people flocked to the St. Augustine Distillery on Thursday to get their hands on the first Florida-made bourbon since Prohibition.

Florida Double Cask Bourbon went on presale and the line was outside the door as people from all over the country patiently wait to buy a piece of history that took years in the making.

Founders Mike Diaz and Philip McDaniel had the idea for the Florida Double Cask Bourbon five years ago. They opened up the St. Augustine Distillery in 2013 and got started on the distilling process. The first products rolled out by the distillery were Florida Cane Vodka and New World Gin, and the distillery's Pot Distilled Rum went on sale in 2015.

McDaniels and Diaz said their distillery does everything in-house.

"It's very labor intensive,” McDaniel said. “It's the old way that it was done 100 years ago."

The locally sourced products are meticulously selected, then processed at the distillery before being transferred into stills and fermented using 30 barrels.

"We start with local corn, local wheat and barley from the area,” McDaniel said. “We grind it, cook it and mash it."

Before the Double Cask Bourbon comes out ready to drink, it has to sit in barrels for roughly two years to get the flavor just right.

All of the bottling is done by hand, which adds to the intensive labor. The first batch yielded 3,500 bottles of Florida’s only bourbon.

"We bottled it at 93.8 proof, which is much higher than a typical off-the-shelf commercial bourbon which is 80 proof,” Diaz said. “That higher proof, we feel, leaves a little more flavor from the barrel in it."

Diaz said the Double Cask Bourbon has smooth, complex taste.

"You'll get a little spice up front. You'll get a full palate finish, a lot of fruit on the tip of your tongue. You'll taste toffee, and there's notes of dark chocolate," Diaz said.

Bourbon drinkers can expect to pay $50 a bottle. The distillery is already in the process of making another batch.

Click here for more information on the St. Augustine Distillery.