Stark Spirits Raises a New Glass

Local micro-distillery’s Peated Single Malt Whiskey brand now offered at Sage Vegan Bistro at One Colorado
By EDDIE RIVERA, Community Editor
Published on Dec 27, 2019

[Updated] Pasadena’s only local whiskey micro-distillery, discreetly located just off a quiet residential neighborhood, continues to quietly expand its reach.

Stark Spirits Distillery, owned and founded by Greg Stark and Karen Robinson-Stark in 2013.

Sage Vegan Bistro at One Colorado to offer its newest blend to customers— Peated Whiskey.

Photo courtesy of Sage Bistro

Photo courtesy of Sage Bistro

The whiskey lends itself to a cozy handful of cocktail favorites, perfect for wintering and wondering. There is a Hot Toddy, a Manhattan, and an Old Fashioned, currently being offered on Sage’s cocktail menu.

Stark now produces nine different products: the peated single malt, a California single malt, a  skyline gin, and a “Dragon Spirit ” gin based on a Chinese style 5 spice. The distillery also produces three different rums: a 151 Proof Rum, a Silver rum, a Gold rum, and an Orange Brandy called “Sunshine Orange,” along with a Scandanavian-style Aquavit.

The Peated Single Malt Whiskey recently won a Gold medal at the 2019 Whiskeys of the World Awards.

According to their brand ambassador, Ashley Eliot, the Starks are also in the middle of producing a new Espresso liqueur.

The distillery was finally opened to the public in 2013 by husband and wife team Greg Stark and Karen Robinson-Stark, who, according to their website, “share a common vision of producing spirits that are robust on the palate and in character.”

Greg was a software expert with an “interest in brewing” who called the 2008 recession his “opportunity” to devote his full energies to a full time career distilling spirits.

“We tried to choose between a brewery and a distillery, and we chose to have a distillery because that was really the new and upcoming business,as opposed to the craft and wine markets, which were getting crowded.”

Along with capital, the Starks needed a healthy dose of patience, since a bottle of whiskey actually takes three years for the distillation process to complete. Three years after turning the key in the door of their little distillery in 2011, they could finally sell a bottle. The effort is truly collaborative as Karen specializes in the gins, and Greg concentrates on the whiskeys and other spirits.

Their tiny plant, smaller than 1200 square feet, is only the second distillery of its kind in greater Los Angeles.

“Everything is made, aged and bottled at the distillery,” said Greg from a barstool at Sage over the weekend.

Currently Stark Spirits products are distributed all over California from Redding to Long Beach, along with a number of bars and restaurants in Pasadena, including the previously-mentioned Sage, Edwin Mills and the White Horse, in Old Pasadena.

About Stark Spirits Distillery

Stark Spirits really is Pasadena’s first and only micro-distillery—less than 1200 square feet, in The Business Park of Pasadena, down the street and around the corner from the Pasadena Rose Bowl. Husband-wife duo Greg Stark and Karen Robinson-Stark started production in 2014 and since have created a 9 products – Skyline Gin, Dragon Spirit Gin, Sunshine Orange Brandy, California Single Malt Whiskey, Peated Single Malt Whiskey, 151 Rum, Silver Rum, Gold Rum and Aquavit. The distillery is also working on an Espresso Liquor, soon to be announced. Stark Spirits is located at 1260 Lincoln Ave #1100, Pasadena.

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