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Get Buzzed and Stay Clean During Quarantine

Written By: Kaylin Waizinger
Photography Provided By: Surf City Still Works

“For 15 years, I blew up cars and threw people off of buildings,” says Josh Kornoff, who worked in Hollywood as a special effects pyrotechnician before becoming the CEO of Surf City Still Works.

As thrilling as his career path may sound, Kornoff was presented with an opportunity to sell his film-industry business. After six months, Kornoff found himself as a standstill as a retired pyrotechnician. “I got really bored, really fast,” he says with a smile.

So, without hesitation, he and his wife, Elena, decided to open Huntington Beach’s first craft distillery. “As an engineer, the equipment itself is what attracted me…. We sorta just jumped in,” says Kornoff. 

Since the distillery’s debut in 2017, the couple and their team have continued to bottle booze that embodies the spirit of their coastal-cool city. “It’s Surf City USA!” says Kornoff. “We had a built-in brand just by being local.” Each bottle features a historical photo of Huntington Beach or a label designed by a local artist. “It’s a great synergy between us and them,” explains Kornoff.

“Their art represents everything we want to be.”

And while the artistic exterior might catch your eye, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Each spirit is produced in small batches and contains a refreshing taste—a testament to the distillery’s local roots. “We want everything we create to reflect our beachside location,” Kornoff says. The newest addition to their unique selection of spirits is the Pierside Honey—a blend of honey-infused bourbon whiskey, honey cloves and orange peel. 

On any normal day, customers are welcome to taste new spirits like the Pierside Honey, but as we all know, 2020 got off to a wonky start. And while Surf City Still Works’ tasting room remains closed, Kornoff and his team have found other ways to expand their business and support the community. Two months ago, the FDA and the World Health Organization authorized distilleries to produce what seems like the world’s most coveted product: hand sanitizer. “It has become part of our everyday production,” says Kornoff, after producing over 18,000 gallons of the liquid gold. “We’ve been doing all we can to adapt and keep pressing forward.” Kornoff and his team have been delighted by the donations from customers who not only buy a bottle of sanitizer for themselves, but also buy one for someone else who needs it. “It’s been truly amazing to see,” Kornoff says.

Want to support Surf City Still Works?

Visit their website to purchase a variety of craft spirits, canned cocktails and sanitizers. They are open for delivery and curbside pick up. Happy Sipping!

Surf City Still Works
7242 Heil Ave
Huntington Beach, CA 92647
714.253.7606