Pensacola, Florida
Thursday December 14th 2017

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Wish You Were Beer—A Family Affair

If you’ve ever paid a visit to Rollins Distillery or tasted any of their spirits around town, you might know that Rollins is the first legal distillery in the Florida Panhandle.

Patrick Rollins and his father Paul incorporated the business in 2011 and received their distilling license in August 2012, using 100 percent Florida Molasses as the base for all our products.

“We also use a blend of toasted oak spirals to mature our Golden Rum,” Rollins said.

Rollins Distillery currently produces two different spirits under their Espirit (pronounced A-Spree) de Krewe brand available on the market at local package stores and bars.

“Our vodka and rum are sold under our core brand Esprit de Krewe,” Rollins said. “We also make some single batch specialty spirits that we sell only from our tasting room under our Krewe exclusive brand.”

Restaurant IRON, Union Public House, 5 1/2 Bar, The Fish House and Atlas, Shux Oyster Bar, World of Beer, Blend, Old Hickory Whiskey Bar, Peg Leg Pete’s and Red Fish Blue Fish are just a few restaurants and bars that carry their spirits, as well as package stores including Bambooze, Aloha Wine & Liquor in Gulf Breeze and on the beach, Fusion Fine Wine & Spirits, Perdido Liquors and Paradise Liquors.

“Most of our placement has been based on word of mouth and requests, so don’t be afraid to ask your favorite spot to pick up a bottle or two,” Rollins said.

Rollins said he learned to make spirits through trial and error.

“We have had several years of research and development leading up to our current status, but I can assure you, we are always learning something new,” he said.

Rollins said that the process of distilling can be very long and time-consuming, but it all begins with their 100 percent Florida molasses.

“We will ferment our molasses, and then take the molasses wash and do a stripping run to collect all the alcohol we can to make our low wines,” he said. “We then take the low wines and distill it again for the spirit run where we cut out the heads and tails and keep the hearts to make our Esprit de Krewe Golden Rum. We take all heads and tails and re-distill them about four more times through our 12-plate Vodka column to produce a clean and pure spirit over 190 proof which will eventually become our award winning Esprit de Krewe Vodka.”

If you want to learn more about this process, the distillery offers tours and tastings

Rollins said that their Espirit de Krewe Vodka has been on the market since early 2016.

“I would say it is our most popular spirit,” Rollins said. “That said, our Golden Rum has sold very well from the tasting room and now that it is available out on the market, we imagine it will do very well.”

Rollins said that working with his parents is one of the main reasons their distillery has been successful.

“I love my family,” Rollins said. “We have such a brilliant dynamic and unique way of approaching problem-solving. Dad is a very technical ‘inside the box’ kind of thinker. I am creative ‘outside the box’ thinker. I see the forest, while he sees the trees. I have the vision, and he sees the path to get there. Mom, on the other hand, does all the worrying and will keep us in line if we ever stray off ‘the path.’”

Rollins said that all together, his family is a brilliant team and they make things happen.

“We aren’t afraid of telling each other what we need to hear and always know that we have each other’s best interests at heart,” he said.

As a small family business, Rollins said that he and his family are totally invested in their distillery.

“As it stands, we have financed our distillery completely out of pocket with no loans or investors,” he said. “This is why we are so small and humble. Quality is our goal, and we are unwilling to sacrifice our spirits for shortcuts. We produce what we can to the best of our abilities given our size, equipment, location and capacity.”

In addition to local fans, Rollins Distillery has collected quite a few awards for their spirits. They have won three silver medals, a Best in Category and a Gold Medal for their vodka, plus a Bronze Medal for their rum. Two of the silver medals were won this year at the American Distilling Institute 2017 judging in the grain-to-glass vodka category.

“If supporting local, infusing money and building jobs in our town isn’t enough, I’d say drinking local is important because of the quality of our craft,” Rollins said.

Rollins Distillery
5680 Gulf Breeze Parkway
rollinsdistillery.com