Winter Park Distilling Company sure has come a long way in a short time.
The boutique boozer started making its distinct — and it should not go without mentioning, very high quality — bourbon, rum and vodkas just over six years ago. Until recently, the operation was housed in a small warehouse space on Solano Avenue with all the charm of a self-storage unit.
When I visited for a tour a few years ago, founders Paul Twyford and Andrew Asher gave me a tour of the facility, which included a space in the back of the building with an open garage door next to the railroad tracks. It seemed to me that anyone wandering along the tracks could pop in when no one was looking and sample some alcohol from the plastic tub. Also back then, Twyford and Asher, along with Asher’s wife, Francesca, who’s now an official part of the ownership team, were doing almost everything themselves, including putting the liquor into bottles, capping them and slapping the labels on by hand.
Now they’ve moved to a more substantial and more accessible facility. They can distill more product, and they can even sell it from a small kiosk window— well, some of it, but we’ll come back to that. And there’s even a bar in a comfortable, loungey space that I found immediately welcoming and attractive. When I first walked in I thought, “This is a place I’d like to hang out in and enjoy a cocktail.”