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  • Writer's pictureColumbus Barrel Co.

Bourbon in Florida...How to Keep Warm this Winter.

Columbus is currently covered in a layer of ice, but lucky for our team member, Tyler Berger, he is in sunny Florida representing CBC in the Bassmaster Eastern Open on the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes. He has a sweet-looking boat this year, wrapped in custom CBC graphics, so if you see this boat being trailered on the highway, be sure and honk for good luck!

But, we couldn’t send Tyler to Florida without also visiting our friends at Winter Park Distilling Company – Orlando’s first and finest craft distillery. They won a silver medal in the 2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, so you know this is a place to definitely check out next time you’re in Orange County!

Founded in 2010 by hometown boys Paul Twyford and Andrew Asher (and later joined by Andrew’s wife, Francesca), they started with a 50-gallon still and a few old recipes for whiskey. Most people think of beaches when they picture Florida, but Winter Park is known for tree-lined lakes, mossy live-oaks, beautiful Venetian canals, and the perfect climate for barrel-aging Florida’s first bourbons and deliciously fine dark rum. Oh, and the bear on the logo?? Apparently there are a lot of black bears in Central Florida! Who knew?!

I’m sure by now you’re wondering about the bourbons Winter Park produces. Their whiskey family is named “Bear Gully” after Bear Gully Lake deep in the woods of Eastern Winter Park, and the local hangout for kids looking for a bit of “mischief” in years past. Bear Gully Classic “New Make” Whiskey is a smooth, corn whiskey with a bit of sweetness that makes for a great cocktail. If you want something steeped in tradition, try the Bear Gully Classic Reserve Bourbon. This was the very first craft bourbon made in Florida. This single-barrel bourbon is aged in a naturally heated rackhouse that gets to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. No wonder this bourbon has won medals in international competitions since 2016! Finally, for a truly unique bourbon profile, Winter Park produces the Bear Gully Classic Bonfire Bourbon; a woody, Florida bourbon that acquires its flavor through soaking high-proof corn whiskey in a bed of charred sugar maple before aging in a brand new charred white oak cask. This smokey profile is definitely one you need to try.

If you are local to Orange County, or passing through the area (drop the wife and kids at Disney and have your own vacation!), Winter Park Distilling Company offers tours during the week complete with tastings afterwards. Sounds a lot more fun to me than waiting hours to ride a flying elephant!

Big thanks to Tyler for representing us at Winter Park Distilling this week and good luck in the tournament!

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