Elk Fence Distillery co-owners Scott Woodson and Gail Coppinger join Steve Jaxon and Herlinda Heras on Brew Ha Ha. The Elk Fence Distillery is a recently opened small-batch craft distillery that makes American single-malt whiskey, botanical gin and vodka. It has the distinction of being the only distillery located in the city of Santa Rosa, California. Juniper, coriander, tangerine and grapefruit all go into the botanical gin.
They were supposed to open on March 14, 2020, the day that the state closed down for Covid. The Drive was on the air that day when Governor Newsome made the announcement. They had a party ready for 600 people that they had to cancel.
Real Kentucky and Pennsylvania Learnin’
They actually went to Kentucky and Pennsylvania to learn how to distill. The guy who made their equipment directed them to two schools where he knew they would learn how to operate his equipment. The gin ages in new American white oak barrels. It looks like a Sauvignon Blanc. Scott calls it Christmas in a glass.
Their tasting room is at 464 Kenwood Court in Santa Rosa, open from 11am-4pm Fridays and Saturdays. It’s across from Lithia Dodge, close to the studio. Their product is also in Bottle Barn, Wilibee’s, Oliver’s (soon) , Grossman’s and Perch and Plow.
The name Elk Fence comes from where they grow their barley, near a fence that separates 300 elk from all the dairy farmers out in Marin County where they live. Scott lives in Inverness and Gail lives in Point Reyes.
Shorty’s Bunkhouse on KWMR
Gail also does a radio show on KWMR a listener-supported community station, on alternating Thursdays, 6:30pm–8:30pm. The show’s name is Shorty’s Bunkhouse and she plays bluegrass, americana and more. Check out the sample 2-hour show on her show’s website. She started on the radio in 1997. Their signal is strong and can be heard in Sonoma County too. Steve Jaxon knows that station and likes it. He heard Robert Earl Keen playing Merry Christmas from the Family for the first time and they realize it was on her show.
Next they taste the American single-malt whiskey. They won a silver medal this year for this at the American Distilling Institute. The American distilling Institute founder is Bill Owens. (He is also the man who took a famous picture of violence at the ill-fated Rolling Stones concert at Altamont.)
Next they shake up a cocktail called The Entitled Housewife, named after Becky Robinson, a performer that Herlinda also knows. Scott’s original cocktail is made with their Golden Own barrel aged gin, Mr. Black coffee, some pecan liqueur, and club soda.
Scott and Gail are Elks and Herlinda is a Moose and may become an Elk now. The Elks Club of Petaluma should come to Elk Fence and elk it up.