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Spirit of Diablo

Sutherland Distilling crafts locally made rum and vodka for the Tri-Valley.


We’ve heard plenty about “farm to fork” in restaurants. And even “grain to glass” from breweries. But how about “soil to spirit?”

That’s the concept at Sutherland Distilling Company, Livermore’s new artisan microdistillery, which opened for business in January. And for founders Barry and Ryan Sutherland and Eric Larimer, it’s not just lip service.

They’re sourcing non–GMO corn from the Sacramento Valley for their vodka. They buy 100-percent-raw, unrefined sugar from small Mexican farms for their rum. They’re even recycling their spent mash, sending it to a Central Valley sheep cheese farm (in return for cheese, of course).

“Our whole philosophy is, ‘Let’s know where everything comes from,’ ” says Larimer. “We’re so big on local and small and hand crafted, but just go to any liquor aisle and try to find a local spirit.”

Now, you can. Starting this month, select bars, restaurants, and liquor stores in the Tri-Valley will carry Sutherland’s first release, Diablo’s Shadow Silver Rum. Exhibiting a clean, naturally sweet finish from that unrefined sugar, the 90-proof spirit is made from scratch, 60 gallons at a time, in Sutherland’s custom still on Independence Drive near Las Positas College.

And if you still have any questions about where it’s made, just peer through the bottle. Screen-printed on the inside of the glass is an ornate map of the Bay Area, with Livermore and Mount Diablo featuring prominently as landmarks.

“You’ll know where it was made, who made it, and what the history is behind it just by looking at the bottle,” says Larimer. “And if you spend time looking at the bottle, we figure you’re more likely to buy it.”

Sutherland Distilling Co., 3189 Independence Dr., Livermore, (916) 215-8519. Tours and tastings by appointment. For a list of locations that carry Diablo’s Shadow, go to sutherlanddistilling.com.


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