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California Agave Spirit Producers Band Together

In 2019, I wrote a cover story about how La Paloma Ranch along the Gaviota Coast was growing agave in order to turn the drought-tolerant, firebreak-ready plant into booze. I was able to participate in one of their first harvests, and even delivered one of the plucked piñas down to Ventura Spirits, which was turning the crop into an agave spirit. (I also wrote about those results here.)

There’s been a smattering of news since then that I see on occasion, particularly in parts of Northern California, where Craig Reynolds is considered a sort of godfather in this movement toward a truly domestic agave spirit industry. “It’s been pretty exciting,” said Reynolds to me on the phone this week. “Many more people are now putting agave in the ground throughout the state.” They’re typically buying plants straight from Reynolds or from Doug Richardson of Drylands Farming Company in Carpinteria.