Embracing the Spirit of Marin With Sausalito Liquor Co.

Courtesy of Sausalito Liquor Co.

There’s a new liquor brand that’s making a splash in the Bay Area, and although its founder doesn’t take himself too seriously, he is very serious about creating something that Marinites can be proud of. And while Sausalito Liquor Co. only launched in October 2023, the company is linked to both the past and the future of the city it’s named after.

When Scott Jampol first decided to start this spirits company, initial research into the undertaking led him to discover some relevant local history: Sausalito was once home to Mason’s Distillery, which was founded in 1892 and later sold to American Distilling Co. A mainstay of the community and a major employer for the area, the plant was ultimately destroyed by fire in 1963. Now, Jampol is ready to bring the local liquor legacy into a new era.

“My vision is to have a distillery in Sausalito and produce some, if not all, of our spirits,” says Jampol. For now, Sausalito Liquor Co.’s three products are being made outside Marin, but they all possess some local flavor. The Marin Coastal Gin, made in Petaluma and bottled and stored in Rohnert Park, carries hints of citrus thanks to California orange and lemon peels and is made with locally sourced botanicals like angelica seed and foraged seaweed, both of which come from Strong Arm Farm in Santa Rosa. “The scent invites you in, but it’s very smooth on the back end, which is unique for a gin,” Jampol says. The Unsinkable whiskey series’ rye and bourbon come from Kentucky and Tennessee, respectively, but the rye is aged in Napa Valley port wine barrels while the bourbon ages in Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon barrels. The results are products that Jampol refers to as “unapologetically approachable.”

In true Bay Area fashion, the spirits are all bottled in 100 percent recycled glass and they look great on your bar cart, too. The labels feature coastally inspired designs; notably, the art on the bottles of the Unsinkable whiskey is inspired by the ships built in Sausalito during World War II. But the spirits themselves manage to live up to the attention-catching first impressions and the brand has the awards to prove it. At the 2023 L.A. Spirits Awards, the rye won Best in Show, the bourbon took home a silver medal and the gin was awarded the gold medal.

While you can purchase your own Sausalito Liquor Co. spirits through the website (it currently ships to 41 states), you can also find bottles in local stores, like Golden Gate Market in Sausalito and The Whisky Shop of San Francisco. It’s also stocked behind the bar at several local establishments: Mill Valley’s Buckeye Roadhouse and San Francisco’s The Brixton, to name a few.

When discussing the inspiration behind his brand, Jampol refers to Marin’s coastal lifestyle and quirky, creative spirit, something he hopes his brand helps people embrace when they pour themselves a drink. The sentiment is best summed up in the brand slogan: “Live a little offshore.”