After several decades of exclusively producing beer, Anchor Distilling Company visionary and former owner Fritz Maytag, credited with sparking the craft beer revolution, saw a similar opportunity in craft distilling in the early 1990s. Maytag began experimenting with distillation after realizing at the time, that there were no copper pot-distilled whiskies or gins being made legally in America. Anchor Distilling became the first craft distillery in a craft brewery in modern times. The idea to make a gin was in part fueled by the experience, knowledge, and inspiration that Maytag and his team had gained while developing Anchor Brewing’s spiced Christmas Ale. The process of choosing the botanical blend was similar to choosing the spices for each year’s holiday brew.
“Our top priority and the wonderful challenge was in selecting and blending botanicals that would create a distinct flavor and balanced character,” says Bruce Joseph, Anchor Distilling’s Head Distiller, who started as a brewer in 1980 and was involved in the distillery’s beginnings. “The goal was to produce a juniper-forward, London Dry-style gin for gin lovers. It took us more than two years to get it right.”
In 1996, the recipe for Junípero Gin was finalized and the botanical blend became a coveted secret. In addition to the special recipe, Maytag and his team used a copper pot still and removed the step of chill-filtering to create the clean, crisp, and bold gin that is popular for its full mouthfeel. While most gins sold for $15 a bottle, Maytag’s vision and confidence led him to introduce Junípero at $30, and in doing so he created the premium craft gin category.
“We refer to Junípero as the gin that launched a thousand craft gins,” says Dennis Carr, president and CEO of Anchor Distilling Company. “We are thrilled to celebrate the impact that Anchor Distillery has made on the craft category over the last 20 years and toast to the future.”
In the 20 years since Junípero’s launch, the U.S. has seen a boom in consumer thirst for craft spirits, which has led to an avid interest in the details of production and specific ingredients used to create each new liquor. As a result, Anchor Distilling is celebrating Junípero’s milestone anniversary by unveiling the once top-secret recipe for the gin’s unique botanical blend: Junípero Gin begins as a grain neutral spirit and is redistilled once in a copper pot still with 12 botanicals:
Juniper Berries, Coriander Seed, Angelica Root, Orris Root, Dried Lemon Peel, Sweet Orange Peel, Seville Orange Peel, Cubeb, Cassia Bark, Cardamom, Anise Seed, and Grains of Paradise