Four Pillars

They're here. Four pillars of Four Pillars gin are sitting in the back warehouse right now. The bottles are on the shelf, currently just the standard Rare Dry and the bold Navy Strength (although there is a Chardonnay barrel-aged expression that should appear down the line). If you're out of town, don't worry. They'll be here when you get back. If you're in town, listen to me: come get a bottle. The Rare Dry gin is so good it will undoubtedly turn what was going to be a good Memorial Day weekend into something other-worldly. On Friday, we'll have distillery head Stuart Gregor in the San Francisco store from 5 PM until 6:30 pouring the two expressions for free. Later that evening we'll be at Donato in Redwood City from 8 PM on for a mega Four Pillars gin and tonic extravaganza.

I'm going all out for these gins. There are fewer and fewer cases where a new brand comes to market and brings an investment in both quality and affordability. The Rare Dry is the best new gin I've tasted since Monkey 47, but it's far more versatile and drinkable. I drink Monkey 47 maybe once a month. I've been drinking Four Pillars every single day since January and I'm still not tired of it.

-David Driscoll


Memorial Day Weekend Supplies

If you're loading up the station wagon and heading out of town this Memorial Day weekend, stop by the store on your way and grab yourself some of today's recent deliveries. You can't go camping without booze. Heck, you shouldn't do anything ever (except for zumba class) without having a few drinks first. Check out what just hit the warehouse:

Ardbeg "Dark Cove" Islay Single Malt Whisky $109.99 - The Ardbeg Day release of Dark Cove is here. This is a different whisky, however, than the committee release we had a few weeks back. Bottled at 46.5%, we don't expect to have it for long. 

I'm very, very excited about this. Our first ever Calvados from Domfrontais producer Pacory is here and it's absolutely delicious. Bottled at 54% and simply brimming with pure pear and apple flavor, this is going to get snatched up fast by those who appreciate a fine quality/value ratio with their booze.

Domaine Pacory "K&L Exclusive" Domfrontais Cask Strength Calvados $39.99  

If you'd like something mellow and smooth to sip while out in the woods, try a bottle of this Fines Saveurs Cognac from Bouju, one of our most popular direct imports from France. Unadulterated and gentle in flavor, this 100% Grand Champagne quality brandy brings fresh and round fruit flavor with light accents of vanilla and spice. Top value as well.

Daniel Bouju "K&L Exclusive" Cognac Fines Saveurs $39.99

Three hot new arrivals and we're just getting started around here! If you're not heading out of town, keep watching the blog and the website as we're expecting more Nikka Coffey Malt and the highly-anticipated arrival of Four Pillars gin later this afternoon. It's going to be a hot one. Make sure you're fully stocked.

-David Driscoll


How the West Was Won

The Tank was absolutely booming last night as the San Jose Sharks, after twenty-five years of great and sometimes heartbreaking promise, finally punched their ticket to the Stanley Cup Finals. There are wonderful things happening in San Jose right now and the electricity surrounding the city's NHL franchise is only part of it. I've been spending a lot of time in the South Bay over the last few months and I've been both surprised and refreshed by what I've seen. Living in a large metropolitan region seemingly obsessed with authenticity, I have to say that no other Bay Area city seems as comfortable in its own skin as San Jose. I don't hear nearly as much of the neo-pageantry when I talk to people and the conversations I do have are lighthearted and real. As the Sharks finally put away the Blues and, for the first time in team history, won the Western Conference, seventeen thousand of us slapped hands, chanted loudly, and walked out into the balmy South Bay evening; a hoard of teal moving down Santa Clara St. There was a true sense of community there last night, something I feel is lacking in other parts of the Bay. People wanted to be out, to socialize, and to share their city. My wife and I didn't want to leave. 

I think being a likeable person begins with the ability to let down your guard and be honest about who you are. I don't like people who take themselves too seriously. Hell, no one likes people who take themselves too seriously. If there's an industry and a region where taking yourself seriously is often an art, it's the food and drinks business in San Francisco. I laughed out loud when I heard one of my co-workers say earlier this week: "I thought the sushi was good, but then again I didn't come out of the womb eating only sushi, so what do I know?" Life in the Bay Area (and on the internet by extension) can often be a competition over some of the dumbest, least-desirable characteristics—like who has never eaten at McDonald's or who has watched fewer hours of television over the course of their life. I try to remain as positive as possible in the face of this mindset, but sometimes the posturing just overwhelms me and I want to bury my head in the sand. But last night in San Jose I didn't feel any of that. I drank tall cans of Bud Light with complete strangers who were keeping it very real. 

There's still hope out here in the West. Go Sharks!

-David Driscoll


Peninsula: Mark Your Calenders

I can't share all the details yet about what I'm going to unveil over the next few days, but I'm going to put this out there right now: if you live on the SF Peninsula and you like gin, please keep the night of Friday June 3rd open. As you may or may not know, we'll be helping to launch Four Pillars gin over the next ten days, the citrus-oriented Australian gin that is sweeping the current spirits awards season, and we'll have the founder Stuart Gregor in the San Francisco store that evening for a freein-store public tasting. Once that tasting ends, however, I'll be whisking Stuart down to a currently-secret location on the Peninsula where we are planning a full-out gin and tonic rager that should last until the late hours of the evening. I'm finalizing the details today, but plan on an announcement of time, details, and location soon.

In the meantime, prepare yourself for the Four Pillars firestorm. Their gins are incredible, affordable, interesting, versatile, and absolutely mouthwatering. On June 3rd (or before if you buy a bottle in the store) you won't have to take my word for it. however. You can meet Stuart, shake his hand, taste his gin, and watch your knees buckle.

-David Driscoll


The French Future

For those of you who appreciate quality and value over pop culture trends and current fashion, I have a feeling we're going to convert you over to French spirits before too long. It's pretty crazy that I can buy a product that's more expensive to produce than Bourbon, ship it all the way through the Panama Canal into Oakland, and get it onto the shelf at K&L for the same price or less than a standard NDP American whiskey these days that's made in country. But that's where the market's at! In the meantime, we're getting better prices than ever on incredible Armagnacs, Cognacs, and Calvados apple brandies, testing the loyalties of even the most die-hard whiskey fans. I had a customer tell me this past Saturday that he tried a bottle of the 2001 Grangerie and thought it was better than any current Bourbon on the available market, especially for the price. I couldn't argue with him.

Stay tuned for what should be a pretty happening pre-Memorial Day blitz. We've got our first shipment of Pacory pear Calvados coming later this week, a new producer that we discovered this past December when Charles Neal and I were in France. He's got a nice little five year old pear-distilled beauty that I had bottled at 55% cask strength. We've also got a new delivery of Bouju Cognac, one of our additive-free brandies that showcases the purity and delicacy of unadulterated Cognac. Both will be on the shelf at $39.99—a price you can feel good about when you blow through half the bottle within the first two hours at your family BBQ this weekend.

-David Driscoll