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Cheers to California! If you imbibe, drink local

Future Gin
Future Gin’s bright and citrus-forward, classic-style dry gin is infused with a wide range of California botanicals.
(Liam Brown)

Stay home, drink local? Here are three California-based producers that are well positioned to capitalize on current trends.

JuneShine hard kombucha

JuneShine hard kombucha
(JuneShine)

It’s been a banner year for hard kombucha, which, similar to hard seltzer, has sought to appeal to a growing segment of “health-conscious” drinkers (the brew is produced by fermenting sugar-enriched tea until it reaches about 6% alcohol by volume).

JuneShine, a startup San Diego brewery best known for its floral print cans, has generated strong buzz this year with flavors such as blood orange mint, dry-hopped tropical citrus and charcoal-infused pineapple-coconut. It can be found at grocery stores such as Whole Foods or beverage retailers such as Total Wine. The company also plans to open a tasting room in Santa Monica next year.

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About $15 for a six-pack.

Lo-Fi Aperitifs sweet vermouth

Lo-Fi Aperitifs
(Lo-Fi Aperitifs)

E. & J. Gallo Winery, one of the largest wine producers in California, partnered with Hendrick’s Gin creator Steven Grasse in 2016 to launch Lo-Fi Aperitifs, a line of new-wave vermouths and amaros aimed at a younger, hipper demographic with a taste for negronis and spritzes. After gaining a bar industry following in San Francisco and New York, Lo-Fi hit the L.A. market in 2019, popping up in the aisles of Whole Foods and Total Wine. The timing couldn’t have been better — according to alcohol delivery company Drizly, orders for vermouth shot up 1,200% in March.

About $26 for a 750-milliliter bottle.

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Despite consumers stocking up on alcohol at home, the rise in retail and online sales has not been enough to offset the closure of bars and restaurants.

Future Gin

Future Gin
(Liam Brown)

Ideal for simple, non-fussy cocktails at home, gin has sold well during the pandemic. Even well before the outbreak, the botanical-infused spirit had seen a strong resurgence in the craft distillery world. One such brand in L.A. is Future Gin, a women-owned collaboration among wine importer Amy Atwood, beverage director Mary Bartlett, distiller Morgan McLachlan and Coolhaus founders Freya Estrella and Natasha Case. Their bright and citrus-forward, classic-style dry gin is infused with a wide range of California botanicals: juniper, fennel, avocado leaves, elderflower and Meyer lemon peel, to name a few. It can be found at most craft liquor retailers in L.A. or ordered online at K&L Wines.

About $33 for a 750-milliliter bottle.


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