Dark Door Distillery Is Bringing Fun Back to Tampa

It’s been a crazy last year for sure, and aren’t we all glad it’s 2021?

Though, if you’re like me, I miss the social events that came before. While some events have returned with social guidelines, there still isn’t that little magic spark of something fun and unique to do on most weekends. Festivals, events, local markets, and more all seem to still be postponed or all together cancelled.

However, a Florida distillery is taking this opportunity to begin building something fun, unique, and safe for locals of Tampa Bay in sunny Florida.

The distillery has begun hosting limited-attendance and socially-distant events for people to come enjoy. From yoga experiences to cocktail experiences, from learning the art of blending your own whiskey to local markets under the full moon, they’ve got something for everyone to enjoy. They even can be booked for parties or events which, with their awesome nighttime setup, could be an incredible venue for all kinds of celebrations and get togethers.

This is a breath of fresh air. Something akin to some form of normalcy in this crazy chapter in world history.

For February, they have two great events being put on in addition to their normal Thursday cocktail experiences.

First, they’ve got a new expansion on their popular “blend your own whiskey” experience where you can learn how to blend your own gin using a variety of different ingredients.

They will have a jalapeño, lavender, hibiscus, grapefruit, elder flower, juniper, ginger, lime, lemon, cucumber, and many more gins already flavored for people to mix into their base gin. They will have additional botanicals for you to add subtle variations to your base gin mixtures to create the “perfect” gin for you while you enjoy a complimentary cocktail and tour before bringing your own bottle back home with you!

Normally, blending your own whiskey and creating your own bottle are unavailable or incredibly unaffordable. The fact that Dark Door is making these incredibly unique experiences available to the general public shows their commitment to connect with the community that supports them and continue building their status as a true “local brand.”

They’re gin experience is on February 24th at 6-7:30pm. Tickets are available here for advanced purchase since spots are extremely limited!

The next thing they have going a market under the full moon. This is the first one they have going, but will be doing it regularly.

I love the natural synergy their brand, centered around the unknown and mysterious, has with a market taking place on the full moon.

They will have a food truck and cocktails available, as well as local shops and artists for you to browse. These local vendors will rotate each month with the market.

Vendors can participate for free by contacting Dark Door for next availability.

The Full Moon Dark Market will take place February 27th at 3-7pm.

A list of local food, shops, and artists that will be there can be found below:

Vamos! Food Truck (@vamostampa)

Florida Candles Co (floridacandleco) | Candles

Soulcookies Co (soulcookiesco) | Coasters & Wine Stoppers

Warehouse Candles (warehousecandles) | Candles

SaidoniaEco (saidonia_eco) |Sustainable Home goods 

Junesp Jewelry (shop.junesp) | Jewelry 

Stun Gun Cruz (stunguncruz) | Non-Lethal Personal Defense Tools

Grim + Proper (grimandproperclothing) | Clothing

Old Elk – Wheated Whiskey SB (Suzie’s Winter Kiss)

Quick Stats:

  • Distiller: Old Elk Distillery 
  • Spirit: Straight Wheat Whiskey
  • Aged: 7+ years
  • Price: $64.95
  • Proof: 116.1
  • Old Elk Website
  • Davidoff Tampa Website

    About The Distillery & Bottle: 
  • “At Old Elk Distillery, in Fort Collins, Colorado, craft is everything. Founded by serial entrepreneur, Curt Richardson, the innovator who created OtterBox and Blue Ocean Enterprises, Old Elk Distillery creates their own process for spirits. To them, excellence does not come from riding trends, but comes from experience and patience instead. Look at their Master Distiller, Greg Metze. With over four decades of experience in producing world class whiskies, Metze worked with the team to create Old Elk’s signature Slow Cut proofing process.” 
  • “Wheat mash bills have all the same challenges of a rye and are never an easy path to take when distilling, but Metze decided to craft Old Elk’s Straight Wheat Whiskey in the spirit of the acclaimed 95 percent rye whiskey. He applied all of his expertise and knowledge into producing another one of a kind product: a mash bill of 95 percent soft red winter wheat and five percent malted barley, aged for five years, this whiskey is a vivacious and refreshing spirit that is reinventing what it means to be a sipping whiskey.”

E.H. Taylor – Straight Rye

Quick Stats:

  • Distiller: Buffalo Trace Distillery
  • Spirit: Straight Rye Whiskey
  • Aged: At least 4 years old
  • Proof: 100
  • Purchase Price: $80
  • Buffalo Trace Website

    About The Distillery & Bottle: 
  • “For over 200 years, Buffalo Trace Distillery has been defined by a dedication to one craft: making fine bourbon whiskey. By honoring tradition and embracing change, Buffalo Trace Distillery has earned its place of leadership among the legendary spirit makers of the world.” 
  • “Straight Rye Whiskey has experienced a strong resurgence in the American whiskey landscape, yet Colonel Edmund Haynes Taylor, Jr. was making this style more than 100 years ago. This small batch, Bottled-in-Bond 100 proof straight rye whiskey pays tribute to the former Distillery owner with a unique rye whiskey reminiscent of days long past.”

Laws Whiskey House – Four Grain Bonded Bourbon

Quick Stats:

  • Distiller: Laws Whiskey House
  • Spirit: Four Grain Straight Bourbon
  • Aged: 6 Years
  • Proof: 100
  • Purchase Price: $75
  • Laws Whiskey House Website

    About The Distillery & Bottle: 
  • “We always have and always will distil every drop we bottle. While our whiskey aged, we didn’t sell any whiskey for our first three years. Time is as critical of an ingredient as our heirloom grains. Every mash bill gets its own optimal distillation process, and we deploy time-intensive sour mash fermentation. We are the first Colorado distiller to bottle bonded whiskeys. For us, these steps are not extra, they’re mandatory to creating Laws Whiskey” 
  • “This special offering of our Four Grain is the first bonded bourbon in Colorado history. True to the Bottled in Bond Act of 1897, this bourbon is at least 4 years old, a product of a single season and a single distiller, and has been aged entirely in our federally bonded rickhouse.”

Old Elk Wheated Bourbon – Whiskey Tribunal 2020

Quick Stats:

  • Distiller: Old Elk Distillery
  • Spirit: Wheated Straight Bourbon Whiskey
  • Aged: Unstated
  • Price: $54.99
  • Proof: 115
  • Old Elk Website
  • Davidoff Tampa Website

    About The Distillery & Bottle: 
  • “At Old Elk Distillery, in Fort Collins, Colorado, craft is everything. Founded by serial entrepreneur, Curt Richardson, the innovator who created OtterBox and Blue Ocean Enterprises, Old Elk Distillery creates their own process for spirits. To them, excellence does not come from riding trends, but comes from experience and patience instead. Look at their Master Distiller, Greg Metze. With over four decades of experience in producing world class whiskies, Metze worked with the team to create Old Elk’s signature Slow Cut proofing process.” 
  • “Wheaters, come gather ‘round because this one’s for you. A delicious and well-balanced wheated bourbon is something every whiskey lover should get their hands on. Ours is a chance for us to show you and the world what we’re capable of. By using our expertise in creating our delicious flagship bourbon, we tweaked our recipe and upped the wheat and kept the corn at the minimum. Our wheated bourbon consists of 51 percent corn, 45 percent wheat and four percent malted barley. The result? A liquid that allows for each ingredient to not only shine on its own, but highlights what happens when success meets craft.”

Dark Door Spirits is Kicking Off 2021 With a Bang

Tampa Bay in sunny Florida has risen recently in popularity amongst craft brewing destination spots, with a myriad of unique and tasty brewpubs popping up every month. But, what people don’t know, is that Tampa is quickly becoming a destination for whiskey enthusiasts as well.

More than a dozen whiskey distilleries can be found within an hour’s drive of the lighting capital of the world, and each of them bring a unique story and flavor, both literally and figuratively.

However, after a challenging year for the spirits industry, one Tampa distillery is looking to kick-off 2021 with a bang, featuring collaborations with various artists and comedians in a socially distant return to live entertainment.

It’s incredible to see how distillers are working with a variety of artists and their communities to still produce the whiskey and entertainment we all crave. Especially after the toll that 2020 took on craft distilleries and creative minds worldwide.

Both events are limited attendance to promote public safety, so make sure to grab a ticket before they’re sold out. We hope to see you all there!

The Dark Art Show – Jan 16th @ 4pm & 6pm

The Dark Art Show will feature a number of local artists and is a collaboration between Dark Door Spirits, a whiskey brand that pushes the boundaries of conventional whiskey, and Tyler of the TT Art Collective.

Multiple artists will be featuring their work for attendees to enjoy over a sampling of craft cocktails made by Dark Door’s own resident Mixologist, Shane Neukam.

Time slots will be limited to 2-hour time blocks at 4pm & 6pm to help promote social distancing. The tickets are $25 each and can be found by clicking here. Tickets include two hours at the distillery, the art show, and two craft cocktails.

There are only 100 tickets available.

You can check the curator and artists out on Instagram:

  • Tyler @tylerintampa
  • Jon David Ray- @jayray_visual
  • Graffiti Egypt- @graffitiegypt
  • Bujikimo- @bujikimo
  • Thinggys- @thinggys_
  • Nicholas Lucius- @nicholasluciusart
  • Damien Stuck- @artby_stuck
  • Trent Alyse- @kittybombcurios

The Comedy Show – Jan 30th @ 7:30pm

The Comedy Show is in collaboration with The North American Comedy Brewery Tour featuring the comedian Kenny Garcia and friends.

You can learn more about Kenny by clicking here or by checking him out on instagram @iamkennygarcia

The tickets are going to be $15 in advance or $20 at the door. You can purchase them by clicking here.

Tickets are EXTREMELY limited (30 total), so get them quick!

Shenk’s Homestead 2020

Quick Stats:

  • Distiller: Michter’s
  • Spirit: Kentucky Sour Mash Whiskey
  • Aged: Unstated
  • Proof: 91.2
  • Purchase Price: $84.99
  • Michter’s Website

    About The Distillery & Bottle: 
  • “Originally known as Shenk’s and later as Bomberger’s, the whiskey company which ultimately became known as Michter’s was founded by John Shenk, a Swiss Mennonite farmer, in Schaefferstown, Pennsylvania in 1753. In its earliest days, Shenk’s produced whiskey from rye grain, a favorite local crop in the Pennsylvania Blue Mountain Valley where the distillery was located.” 
  • “2020 Release Shenk’s is a Kentucky Sour Mash Whiskey made with a substantial amount of rye. Following up the success of the 2019 Shenk’s release, where some Chinquapin (Quercus muehlenbergii) barrels were utilized during maturation, the 2020 release utilizes a greater percentage of whiskey aged in Chinquapin Oak in each batch. The wood has been naturally air dried and seasoned for at least 3 years. The longer seasoning combined with our specified toast and char allows the oak aromas and characters specific to Chinquapin oak to fully express themselves.”

Whiskey Wednesday With Law’s Whiskey House

New Fees Slam Distilleries Who Stepped Up During Pandemic

UPDATE:

The HHS Office of Public Relations has issued a statement that the FDA acted without authority in releasing the fee schedule!

Due to all the outreach and coverage the fee schedule got, the HHS reviewed the order and deemed that the fees were unfairly targeting those who had helped throughout the pandemic, and that the FDA assessed the fee without approval and without the department’s consent. This means distilleries should not be charged for producing sanitizer during a national shortage and global pandemic.

Original story below:

2020 sent the majority of the world into a tailspin. Doors were shut, jobs were lost, and businesses that had operated for decades dematerialized in a matter of months. However, some people stepped up from the proverbial ashes from the tides of march and tried to make a difference in their respective communities.

Many distillers, both small and large alike, turned some of their whiskey production capacity towards something a fearful community was facing a critical shortage of, hand sanitizer.

Many of these companies donated hundreds of bottles, and in some cases hundreds of… well… cases, to local firefighters, law enforcement, non-profit shelters, and other limited-funding organizations who weren’t well equipped to handle contact with those in need safely. Additionally, the vast majority of them were offering their sanitization products at a break-even price considering the approvals, manpower, loss of revenue, donations, and supplies it took.

Now, to rub salt in the wound left by this year, the FDA has come in and slammed these distilleries with a bill of just over $14,000, which could equal out months of profit for some of the younger distilleries. Now, these distilleries are being left to scratch their head at how stepping up to help their community could have sent them tumbling down an incredibly expensive rabbit hole. To make matters even more confusing, special allowances were put into place by local and state governments specifically so that these companies could produce sanitizer and help alleviate the dramatic shortages we faced earlier this year.

How did this happen?

The FDA passed a new set of regulations this last Tuesday, and in this new set of regulations is a shiny new set of fees for what they’re now calling “monograph drug facilities,” which is a new term for anyone producing anything on their new list of over-the-counter drugs.

Unfortunately, they have, in their infinite wisdom, determined that hand sanitizer is a qualifying drug, and that if it was produced for 2020, you retroactively owe the fee and are required to register under their new designation to remain federally complaint.

It is a swift and crushing blow to distilleries still in recovery mode from the hardships of this year, and a slap in the face by the same organization that reached out to them for production help earlier this year. On top of the fee, many of these smaller distilleries are now facing a long uphill legal battle to try and overturn these fees or get an exemption without any clarity as to whether that is even possible.

This comes after a new series of lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders dampened alcohol production and sales during one of the most profitable times of year, the winter holiday.

What can we do?

We can click here and let the FDA know that this is crippling to the entire whiskey community, and that they are unfairly targeting the very people they pleaded for help during national shortages during a global pandemic. This may be the only way to help our friends and save some of our favorite craft producers after they helped us.

Buffalo Trace – Corona Store Pick

Quick Stats:

  • Distiller: Buffalo Trace 
  • Spirit: Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
  • Aged: Unstated
  • Proof: 90
  • Purchase Price: $29.95
  • Buffalo Trace Website
  • Davidoff Tampa Website

    About The Distillery & Bottle: 
  • “For over 200 years, Buffalo Trace Distillery has been defined by a dedication to one craft: making fine bourbon whiskey. By honoring tradition and embracing change, Buffalo Trace Distillery has earned its place of leadership among the legendary spirit makers of the world.” 
  • “Ancient buffalo carved paths through the wilderness that led American pioneers and explorers to new frontiers. One such trail led to the banks of the Kentucky River where Buffalo Trace Distillery has been making bourbon whiskey the same way for more than 200 years. In tribute to the mighty buffalo and the rugged, independent spirit of the pioneers who followed them, we created our signature Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.”