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Vintage Wine Estates buys Leslie Rudd’s Distillery No. 209

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Acquires brand and inventory of San Francisco distillery founded by Leslie Rudd


November, 1, 2018. San Francisco, CA. Vintage Wine Estates announced the acquisition of the brand and inventory of Distillery No. 209. The No. 209 portfolio includes the flagship No. 209 Gin, which has won numerous awards and accolades, along with a range of hand-crafted, wine-barrel finished gins and Kosher-for-Passover spirits.


“My father had an eye for well-crafted items with a unique story and spirits were no exception,” commented Samantha Rudd, who upon her father’s passing, has assumed his role as Board member and partner at Vintage Wine Estates. “I am proud to have Vintage Wine Estates carry on the legacy of Distillery No. 209, which was one of his favorite and most personal passion projects.”


The No. 209 story began in 1882 when William Sheffler purchased the rights to a California pot still patent and journeyed from New York to St. Helena in the Napa Valley to establish his distillery. No. 209 refers to the original distillery license number. In 1999, Leslie Rudd became steward of the estate where the distillery was located and spearheaded its historic preservation. To accommodate the needs of a modern distillery, a new production facility was subsequently built on Pier 50 in San Francisco, coincidentally the birthplace of the gin martini.


Meticulous attention is paid to the distillation process, starting with a four-times distilled Midwestern corn base in a custom-made, 1,000 gallon copper alembic pot still. The head and tails are discarded and only the heart of the spirit is destined for bottling as No. 209 Gin. In addition to juniper, the recipe for No. 209 Gin includes eleven different botanicals with a signature profile of citrus and spice flavors.


Founding Master Distiller Arne Hillesland, known as the “Ginerator,” will continue to make No. 209 Gin in the hands-on tradition, with the consistency and highest level of quality the brand is known for.


“My long-time mentor, partner and friend became steward of Distillery No. 209 almost 20 years ago, preserving its heritage and bringing a craft spirits experience to a new generation,” said Pat Roney, CEO of Vintage Wine Estates. “I can think of no better tribute to his vision than to carry it forward.”


About Distillery No 209

Registered Distillery No. 209 was established in St. Helena, California in 1882. It was the 209th distillery permitted in the United States, hence our name. Recreated in 2005, Distillery No. 209 marries the best of Old World distilling techniques and time-honored ingredients with a passion for excellence, innovative thinking, and a willingness to take risks. No. 209 Gin, three distinctively different Barrel Reserve Gins, and Kosher-for-Passover spirits are handcrafted on Pier 50 in San Francisco at the world’s only distillery built over water.



About Vintage Wine Estates


Vintage Wine Estates is a privately held wine company owned by a group of vintner families with deep roots in the wine business.  The families own a collection of winery estates and brands including Clos Pegase Winery, Girard Winery, B.R. Cohn Winery, Swanson Vineyards, Cosentino Winery, Game of Thrones wines, Viansa Sonoma, Windsor Vineyards, Cameron Hughes, Firesteed, Sonoma Coast Vineyards, Clayhouse, Tamarack Cellars, Layer Cake, Cherry Pie, Splinter Group Spirits, Middle Sister, Bar Dog, Girl & Dragon, Purple Cowboy and a number of exclusive wine brands. An industry leader across all sales channels and dedicated to providing wine consumers with a range of wines from $10 to $100 dollars and at many price points in between, Vintage Wine Estates produces outstanding wines from Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino, Paso Robles, Washington State and Oregon.