Craft Distillery Oceanside
Pacific Coast Spirits in Oceanside. Photo credit: @PacificCoastSpirits, via Instagram

An Oceanside distillery continues to rack up honors, securing two slots on a professional taster’s list of the top 100 whiskeys in the U.S.

Pacific Coast Spirits, a handmade small batch craft distillery, recently won gold medals at two international spirits competitions. Pacific Coast now finds one of its products ranked as the 11th best whiskey in the country for 2022.

Their American Single Malt placed just outside of the top 10, while their California Blue Corn Whiskey was rated 80th on author Fred Minnick’s annual list. Minnick said he assessed more than 800 whiskeys before narrowing the field.

To make the list, thousands of whiskeys are sampled during the year across numerous
tastings. The top whiskeys are then sampled during a blind tasting and must meet
strict criteria, including standards of aroma, taste and finish.

“We are humbled and honored to make Fred Minnick’s Top 100 American Whiskey list,” said founder and head distiller Nicholas Hammond. “He is a legend and it absolutely made our year.”

Pacific Coast Spirits American Single Malt Barrel Strength, with a mash bill of 100% malted
barley, uses a variety of toasted and roasted malts and is double pot distilled and aged six years in New American Oak Char #3 barrels.

“Utilizing these grains allows us to build greater complexity and depth of flavor into the base of the spirit,” Hammond said.

Pacific Coast Spirits’ product is the only American Single Malt in the top 25 and one of just three single-malt whiskeys on the list.

The distillery’s Blue Corn Whiskey, the only corn whiskey to make the list, is made from
100% California Blue Corn varieties, double pot distilled and aged for more than four years in New American Oak Char #3 barrels.

“Blue Corn has a beautiful dough-like aroma during the fermentation process and the color is so vibrant. It’s one of my favorite whiskeys to make,” Hammond said.

William LaRue Weller, a Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey produced by the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Kentucky, topped the list.

Pacific Coast has won 33 awards in the past two years, including a double Gold Medal and Best of Category at the American Distilling International Spirits Competition and a double Gold and three Gold Medals at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

Blue Corn Whiskey can be found at Pacific Coast Spirits, 404 S. Coast Highway or online. The American Single Malt has sold out, but a new batch will be released in the new year.