Karen Robinson-Stark and her husband Greg Stark have been producing premium alcoholic spirits in Pasadena for the last three years. Their spirits have received national and international awards, and their Stark Spirits Micro-Distillery has been attracting local, national and even international visitors. However, they really prize the support they receive from their fellow residents of Pasadena.
It was a little twist of fate the brought Pasadena it’s first—and only—nationally certified craft distillery. You see, the pair lost their jobs during the economic downturn, and rather than just retire, they started their own business.
“The simple fact is we were too young to retire, but we were in that age group statistically predicted to never find comparable employment again” said Robinson-Stark. How true that was!
However, Greg Stark wanted his own business,
“So it was now or never –we had no plans to lie down and die,” she says. “Greg’s homebrewed beers had been winning awards for years, and beer is the little brother of whiskey. I knew that my husband would make fabulous whisky.”
The Stark’s have been in business since December 2014 and their spirits are highly acclaimed. In addition to whiskey, peated and unpeated single malts, they manufacture six other types of spirits. They make three types of rum, aquavit, gin and their signature spirit, a unique orange brandy called Sunshine.
They have won numerous awards recently for their classic spirits. Six of their eight products have won silver medals; the two whiskeys won international silver medals as well. Three products have won national gold medals. They received a prestigious double gold and best of category for the Peated Single Malt Whiskey at the 2017 American Distilling Institute Competition.
And just recently they won the California Single Malt, the Peated Single Malt and Sunshine Orange Brandy were rated 92, 93 and 94, respectively, by Cigar and Spirits Magazine-a readership of 250,000 spirit aficionados.
So why is Stark such a rising star in the spirit industry? Robinson-Stark says it is because both she and Greg are dedicated to handcrafting their small batches of spirits with traditional ingredients, traditional methods and the highest standards of traditional spirits.
People who visit their tiny distiller might be novices or connoisseurs in the realm of spirit beverages. Whichever, they are “blown away” by what they experience in our spirits. “We put our values into what we make.”
Just one taste of their spirits and you will understand why Stark is becoming the taste of the town in Pasadena and beyond.
If you want to know more about Stark Spirits and their products, you can go to their website http://starkspirits.com/tours/