Visitors' Experience Award 2020
Who we are...
is a family of uniquely handcrafted single batch spirits bottling only the pure heart of each run. Taking an unconventional method to the age-old craft of distilling has led us to venture out and create a range of spirits that complement a healthy lifestyle and can be enjoyed with little guilt.
Uniquely, our Craft Distiller and owner Eric Olson, takes a culinary approach to the making of our spirits sourcing through local farmers, ranchers and beekeepers. We utilize locally grown, harvested/foraged and organic ingredients whenever possible and follow sustainable practices. Taking our cue from the Forager, we explore land and sea hand-gathering botanical and ingredients we use in our cocktails, menus and garnishments.
What makes us different . . .
While respectful to honor the conventional customs of distillation, we remain innovative and are not opposed to advanced means as a source in our production practices. However, unlike other spirit producers who run their stills continuously, our batches are made in one of our 50-gallon stainless or a 100-gallon Kentucky Copper stills, yielding 36 - 50 bottles per batch allowing us to make clean cuts eliminating the impurities found in the heads and the tails of each run. All combined this has allowed us to fashion spirits that bring pleasure to the nose, appealing texture to the mouth and finish smoothly. Because we produce, bottle and label our products all within the bond lines of 650 square feet, we touch, inspect and guarantee the quality of every bottle leaving our distillery.
Consider yourself invited and welcome to explore our tasting room that we playfully refer to as the “bee box.” At our Central Coast Distillery location you'll experience the confines of our "bond line" where spirits are formulated, bottled and labeled. We are simple and unpretentious in our presentation with the goal of creating a comfortable environment to relax and enjoy food, spirit and meet new friends.
We are open for tastings, cocktails, tours, private parties, and a variety of educational courses for the professional and novice. Come explore a fresh alternative to tasting spirits.
Central Coast Distillery
--------------------- Established 2017 ----------------------
Enjoy a four flight tasting of spirits; Vodka Distilled from Raw Honey, Organic Gin, Bourbon Whiskey, Rum Finished in Bourbon Barrels, and our Local Agave Spirits from within the confines of Central Coast Distillery's Bond Lines.
Enjoy your tasting neat or in a seasonal cocktail.
Reserved for Private Parties & Events 25 or less:
Open for Tasting, Cocktails & Food;
Indoor/Outdoor seating available
Visit Us at:
Monday - Wednesday
Thursday: 5pm - 8pm
Friday: 5pm - Close
Saturday: 3pm - Close
5804 Traffic Way
Atascadero, Ca 93422
Given the size of our facilities, we strongly encourage calling or texting us your desired date, time and the number in your party to reserve a place indoors or for parties over 8. We will do our very best to accommodate your request.
Join us in our tasting room where you have the choice of experiencing our spirits neat or as an integral ingredient to our seasonal nectars or elixirs. We strive to keep if fresh with a Cocktail Menu that changes with the season.
Through the use of fresh fruits, botanicals, and buds, some foraged, others organically farmed, we fashion garnishes, tonics and elixirs that pair well with our spirits and promote a means of consumption that is pleasing to the palate and brings joy to the eye.
We invite you to sit back and enjoy some good company and a delicious drink served artfully!
FOOD . . .
“Pull up a chair. Take a taste. Come join us. Life is so endlessly delicious.”
― Ruth Reichl
Chef Eric creates delicious meals and sides to enjoy while you sip with us or "to go". Our menu changes weekly. You can stay in tune with our weekly offerings by following us on Instagram @foragerspirits or on Facebook. Food, spirits, cocktails, and gelato are available Thursday, Fridays & Saturdays between 5pm-7pm.
Don't miss out on Thursday's "Spirit Nights" where we offer a complementary appetizer with your cocktail. . . a favorite amongst the locals.
Note: Cocktails "to go" are available only when purchased with a meal.
- THE -
As a child growing up in the affluent city of Los Altos, California, Eric Olson lived with his doctor father, television personality mother, a maid and a Mercedes-Benz in the garage. However, all school year long, he itched for those summer days when he could explore the Northern California woods with his great-aunts and uncles, cloistered naturalists who taught him the rudiments of foraging for indigenous edible and medicinal plants––an art they called, “wildcrafting.”
After joining the army and while stationed in Europe, he delighted in taking young women out on dates, showing off a flair for fine dining as learned from his father––a master in the art of good living. He experienced the best service of his life with one such woman who placed a wad of cash in the server’s palm before their meal. Shortly after, Olson decided to enroll in culinary school and further extended his training in 27 countries; even at their inception, his culinary pursuits flirted with the louche.
Though they’re a highlight of his resumé and certainly a gauge of his pedigree, the four years Olson spent as Executive Chef of the upscale Ojai Valley Inn & Spa were some of his least fulfilling, career-wise.
“I didn’t learn anything during the good times,” he says.
Olson, more interested in talking about what came after: working for a group of deep-pocketed, hippie idealists here in Cambria, who sought to change the world through food.
More than a restaurant, Centrally Grown was conceived as a utopian compound that served foods bearing any number of alt-modifiers (e.g., vegan, grass-fed, organic, raw and gluten-free, etc.), dishes like raw seaweed salad, whole wheat pizza with wild nettles and local kale lemonade. During Olson's four years there, his main task was to research, build and manage a massive food truck for Centrally Grown, a project both fascinating and doomed to fail. Painted top-to-bottom in psychedelic murals depicting the coastline, Olson’s brand new 42-foot mobile kitchen commanded attention when it drove by, which was precisely the idea.
Centrally Grown wasn’t zoned to host a food truck, so, in a decidedly Machiavellian move, Olson licensed it with the nearby state prison so that the county couldn’t meddle.
“We did weddings on the beach without a permit,” Olson says, grinning. “If anyone called to ask questions, the prison wouldn’t release anything because…it’s a prison.”
Their only requirement was that the mobile kitchen serves lunch to the guards on duty, which Olson and his team regularly did.
While driving to events, Olson often pulled over to teach his staff how to forage. For all its optimism, though, Centrally Grown didn’t last. Guests’ dogs peed on the edibles planted in the restaurant’s parking lot, unaware they were intended for kitchen use. Drugs addled the staff. They dropped reservations, filled orders incorrectly. The freewheeling food truck lifestyle caught up with the fifty-something Olson, too. “I was in an old man’s body playing a young man’s sport,” he says. “I had to get out.”
What seemed like a detour on Olson’s career highway crystallized his values, however. In keeping with his passion for learning, he set out to study the age-old craft of distilling by attending schools in Texas, Utah, California, Washington, and Kentucky. He now brings his birthright of wildcrafting to bear through the art of distillation.