From 2011 to 2014, St. George Spirits blended and bottled a sourced bourbon called Breaking & Entering Bourbon. Master distiller Lance Winters and head distiller/blender Dave Smith selected the Breaking & Entering name to be forthright about the fact that they had “stolen” the bourbon from several Kentucky distilleries—and to distinguish their barrel-thieving side hobby from St. George’s own longstanding in-house whiskey program, which began in 1996 when Winters came aboard at St. George Spirits. When no longer able to source the barrels needed to ensure the quality and consistency of the Breaking & Entering Bourbon blend, they halted the project.
In Spring 2018, Smith came across a trove of bourbon and rye barrels that inspired him to reboot the B&E label. He brought the barrels back from Kentucky and Tennessee to the St. George Spirits distillery in the Bay Area and began experimenting, ultimately determining that the sourced bourbon and rye barrels balanced beautifully with some of St. George’s house-distilled California malt whiskey.
“As good as the sourced barrels were, it was only when I started blending them with our own malt whiskey that I realized we were onto something truly worthy of the Breaking & Entering mantle,” says Smith. “Breaking & Entering American Whiskey is an evolutionary step forward for B&E, and I sincerely hope it will delight longtime fans who have been patiently awaiting its return.”
The resulting blend of rye, bourbon, and malt whiskey brings together four grains—rye, corn, barley, and wheat—with no one grain being dominant.
Both Smith and Winters see the unified whole as greater than the sum of its parts—and chose to call this B&E blend “American Whiskey” as a hat-tip to the whiskey’s multi-state pedigree. E pluribus unum!
Says Winters of the project: “Our whiskey program made a quantum leap in quality when Dave took over the blending eight years ago. We started the B&E project in part to give Dave access to a more diverse palette to paint from, and over the years, he’s become an even more thoughtful blender. The refinement to his skills and techniques really show up in Breaking & Entering American Whiskey.”
On the nose, Breaking & Entering American Whiskey evokes toffee, candied orange peel, cinnamon, and cherry bark. On the palate, it provides notes of rich pecan pastry, bittersweet chocolate, fruit preserves, and spice—making it ideal for use in a variety of classic American whiskey cocktails.
Winters provided the art direction for the label, with graphic design by Brandon Josie—a bartender and designer who has been a longtime collaborator of the distillery’s. The label proclaims St. George to be “Artisan distillers since 1982, whiskey lifters since 2011” and includes several visual nods to thievery—design choices that reinforce Smith and Winters’ desire to be transparent about the use of “stolen goods” in the blend.
Breaking & Entering American Whiskey will begin hitting shelves in the United States in October 2018. In the US market, it will be available in 750ml bottles at an SRP of $40; it will also be bottled in 700ml for select export markets.
ABV is 43%.