The residents of Saint Petersburg, Florida (aka St. Pete) are extremely loyal when it comes to all things local. The city has an abundance of excellent small business brick and mortars, which saves us the eyesores of big box stores and retail chains. The community and business owners are each other’s biggest cheerleaders! Rooting on all of the local products from handmade all-natural soaps, handcrafted jewelry, family-owned restaurants, breweries, local artists and everything in between. Now we can add Saint Petersburg Distillery to the repertoire of our amazing local companies.
St. Petersburg Distillery is a small business with big dreams and a team who believes in the company as much as the community. Meet Frank Dibling, Director of Production, also known as The Captain of the Ship! After a tour of the distillery, I had the pleasure of sitting and chatting with Frank, who is an absolute pro in the industry (he’s been in the business for decades!).
“We are a craft distillery and one of the appeals of the products is that it’s like farm to table – aka locally supplied.” Frank explained that they strive to use as many ingredients from Florida that are available so the product is as fresh as possible. He had a good point when he said, “You can’t say it’s local if you’re not using local ingredients.”
The product is made here, but where can we taste and enjoy the spirits? (Oh my goodness each brand is exquisite). You can find St. Petersburg Distillery liquors at many restaurants and bars throughout Downtown St. Pete (including one of our favorites – The Mill and of course beautiful event venue NOVA 535) plus at independent liquor stores. Check out the product locator on their website to find a location nearest you. The places that carry it say that they are proud and happy to do business with the local distillery. Frank said that you really couldn’t ask for more than that sort of support!
Keep an eye out for St. Petersburg Distillery’s bottles, which is not very hard because they are packaged delightfully with a touch of Florida vintage. The team did not miss one detail. The bottles themselves are beautiful with an understated elegance and the design on the boxes are actual 1950s postcards sent home from tourists in St. Pete. They have even trademarked the barcode that is in the shape of Florida (now that is genius!).
With nine brands and flavors, there is definitely a favorite “poison” for everyone. The Old St. Pete Gin is one that folks most commonly talk about (and my personal favorite right next to the Tippler’s Orange Liqueur and the Royal Mead. Okay, I love them all!). It’s rich, round, has a fruity aroma, and goes down with ease. Many people enjoy sipping the Banyan Reserve, which is robust, full of flavor with a hint of corn sweetness. However, Frank told me that everyone must try the Oak & Palm Coconut Rum because it tastes just like coconut cream pie in a bottle (it’s heavenly and perfect for the beach!). Frank works hand-in-hand with master distiller Henry Kasprow. Henry’s skills and charms are legendary, and the distillery and city are fortunate to enjoy both!
Something that the entire team is proud of are the awards they received from the National Wine and Spirits Wholesale Association. Saint Petersburg Distillery products were only on the market for about six months when they were awarded both silver and gold recognition. The company even received “Best of Class” for some of their products. (Downtown St. Pete is also proud to have this award-winning company in our neighborhood!)
Perhaps distributing nationally is in the near future, but for now the owners are adamant that they first want a solid foundation in Florida. St. Petersburg Distillery is a Florida company for Florida consumers.
The Lafrate family began St. Petersburg Distillery in 2014 in the hopes of starting a family business that could be passed down to their, now young, grandchildren. With tremendous support of the community, they are on their merry way of creating a deliciously, successful entity.
At St. Petersburg Distillery it is evident that quality is of utmost importance within the company. This is exactly why the local distillery is featured as one of the 5-star businesses on DowntownStPete.com! Here we only share the best of the best places to go, unique personalities to meet, and those delightful things to do in Downtown St. Pete. Create a profile to interact with other members who work, live or play in DTSP. Post a photo onto Downtown Now, one of you sipping one of the yummy products from St. Petersburg Distillery – we promise you will love it!