Fresno Business Journal
By Edward Smith
A local distiller endeavoring to make a product to rival French Cognac is finding an established home in a new tasting room in Atwater.
Ken Andrus of Fresno, owner of In Distill of the Night, will be serving Velvet Night Brandy alongside other liquors being offered at tasting room Sweet Potato Spirits when Atwater-based D & S Farms opens the location in October.
The tasting room will feature gin, potato vodka, rye whiskey and brandy where servers can spend time explaining each of the different flavor profiles before them.
“We’re talking about people enjoying an experience and more true spirit-tasting instead of slamming a glass of wine down,” Andrus said. “You’ll be able to see the different character of the spirits and why they have those characteristics.”
As it stands, customers cannot sample liquor like they would beer or wine, hence the “dry” tasting. People selling their spirits were limited to describing the flavor. But, proposed legislation might allow spirits, beer and wine to be tasted in the same area, allowing Velvet Night to be sampled at places like Total Wine. Assembly Bills 1890 and 1891 relax many of the rules regarding liquor tastings.
“This allows craft distillers to offer consumers the same opportunities for tastings that craft beer and wine manufacturers currently are able to provide,” said Assemblymember Marc Levine (D-10, San Rafael), who proposed the legislation. “This gives the artisanal craft distilling industry more opportunities to showcase their products and increase their exposure to consumers.”