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St. George tries tequila

Submitted by on 1, February 4, 2009 – 8:00 amNo Comment

The Chronicle has run a couple of lifestyle-y pieces featuring our little Island of late, including this bit about tequila that includes the guys out at St. George Spirits.

Apparently, St. George’s Lance Winters and Jorg Rupf have been playing around with agave, which tequila is made from, for years. But cooking the agave here disqualifies the end product from being called tequila (kind of like sparkling wine only earning the name Champagne if it’s made in a certain region of France).

Per the Chron:

Unlike the others, who chose to work in Mexico, Winters and Rupf brought their agave to Alameda. And that’s where the fun began. The pump that works to process pears could not handle the piñas- the heavy, fibrous, roughly pumpkin-size hearts of the agave plant – so they decided to chop them into smaller parts.

Not having a stone tahona or the shredding machines found in Mexico, Winters and the crew tried using machetes. Too labor intensive. Chain saws quickly jammed. A hammer mill used to process quince started spitting out its metal teeth. A tree chipper broke within 15 minutes. Finally, a commercial dog-food grinder (“It turns sides of beef into kibble” says Winters) reduced the piñas to a workable size. And from 40,000 pounds of agave piñas, the crew made 377 gallons of spirit.

“We have so much to learn,” says Winters.

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