Gray Whale Makes a Huge Splash in Las Vegas

Images: Gray Whale Gin / Golden State Distillery

Successful operators know that brand authenticity, true and compelling stories, and real social responsibility create guest engagement and loyalty.

California craft spirit brand Gray Whale Gin hits each of those targets and then some. This gin is the first product from Golden State Distillery, which inked its first lease in October of 2016. Gray Whale was founded by husband and wife team Marsh Mokhtari and Jan Livingston, and launched just six weeks ago.

Each eye-catching blue bottle holds more than just smooth, flavorful, 86-proof liquid. There’s a story inside which is told at first by its label. Livingston designed the logo, a whale tail that, upon closer inspection, is so much more.

The blue paint on the bottle is organic and eco-friendly, and the real cork closure is biodegradable. Horizontal lines making up the left of the tail conjure images of ocean waves. The vertical lines represent more than 800 miles of coastline in California and Baja California. Gray whales begin their lives in Baja California and eventually migrate north to feed and breed. Six dots placed along the vertical lines represent both the gray whale journey and the locations from which Gray Whale sources their botanicals.

Gray Whale Gin whale tail logo in black and white
Read this: Close the Loop: Become a Sustainable Bar Today

Starting our journey from the bottom dot, gray whales are birthed in Baja California, which is also where limes are sourced from an organic farm. Next comes juniper from Big Sur and mint from Santa Cruz. We then hit the Central Valley, where Gray Whale gets almonds. California is the world’s largest producer of the nutlike seeds that imbue this gin with a creamy mouthfeel. The tops of fir trees come from Sonoma, and an edible sea kelp known as kombu (which imparts umami flavor) is from the Mendocino Coast.

Marsh Mokhtari of Gray Whale Gin wild foraging edible kumbo sea kelp

What, you don't wild forage your own edible kumbo sea kelp from the Pacific Ocean?

The sea kelp for the first run (batch 001) of Gray Whale was wild foraged. Each plant has five tendrils, so four are harvested and one is left intact. Sustainability and protecting the world’s oceans are among the core values of Mohktari and Gray Whale. In fact, the brand supports Oceana—a nonprofit that works to protect and restore the world’s oceans—and is 1% for the Planet certified, meaning they contribute at least one percent of their annual sales to environmental causes.

And that’s just the exterior of the bottle and the closure.

Gray Whale is distilled seven times and gluten free. Pull the cork and you’re met with aromas of fresh citrus, peppery and herbaceous juniper, and the distinctive yet subtle piney scent of fir. On the tongue, lively, bright lime and mint flavors give way to umami, tamed by the long, smooth finish of almonds. The mouthfeel itself is creamy and pleasant.

Overall, Gray Whale is refreshing, unique and inspires curiosity. This is a gin that your guests will want to experience neat, on the rocks and in cocktails to fully understand. Ideal, since it also puts smiles on faces. Your bar team will be motivated to experiment with its aromas and flavors.

Gray Whale made a powerful splash in Las Vegas this week, sweeping the awards today. The gin entered the Brand Battle at the 75th annual Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) Convention, taking first place. Gray Whale then took home the Hot New Now Media Award.

Read this: Patrón Tequila’s Secrets to Sustainability

You want to add this gin to your menu. It’s new, it’s unique, and its story is captivating. The bottle will certainly grab attention on your back bar. And the brand’s commitment to responsible business practices and sustainability speak to a significant portion of your guests and employees.

Tell your distributor you want Gray Whale Gin to migrate to your market now!