Buddy, can you spare $250?
Beleaguered Blinking Owl Distillery in Santa Ana has had a run of ups and downs, from its temporary shut down by California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control in November of 2019, to opening a hand sanitizer business to pull in some extra scratch at the beginning of the pandemic.
Now it’s fallen on hard times again. “Unfortunately, we had to furlough the entire staff this time around,” said Robin Christenson, who co-owns the business with her husband Brian Christenson and their friend, former “Criminal Minds” cast member Kirsten Vangsness.
“We have some ongoing revenue from hand sanitizer and online retail sales but with the hit from having to close our tasting room and outdoor patio service with food from our neighbor Benchmark, we’re at a standstill and it’s just not enough to pay our most basic of bills,” Christenson said. “Therefore we had to halt all production for now to save cash for necessities only.”
Blinking Owl is counting on customers to help by ponying up $250 for its fancy bourbon sold in a collector’s box, which will be released in February. “With the pre-sale of this limited edition 4-year bourbon, we’ve sold enough to cover our base expenses for a couple of weeks and the hope is that this will provide enough revenue to get through until additional PPP loan funds come through,” Christenson said.
Serious whiskey sippers need to know this is a rare single barrel bourbon from the distillery’s first batch which is referred to as founder Brian Christenson’s “Birthday Bourbon” — it was filled on his birthday Sept. 29, 2016.
Tasting notes from the distillery describe it as 100 proof, made from organic California corn, wheat, rye and malted barley. It’s aged in new American white oak barrels that are toasted and then charred. Medium golden brown-amber in color, it has aromas of caramel, vanilla, toffee, cinnamon, baked apple and pear. On the palate its flavor is caramel mixed with sweet baking spices, baked stone fruit and peach cobbler with spicy notes that linger on the finish.
There are only 200 bottles and the Blinking Owl crew is eager to give each one a home.
“We are a team of fighters and we’ve made it through multiple crazy obstacles and shutdowns at this point,” Robin Christenson said. “We are exhausted but we are going to keep going as long as we can and we’re determined to get through this!”
Find it: Visit blinkingowldistillery.com to learn more about how to order a bottle.
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