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Pacific Coast Spirits Offers Big Adventure in Small Batches

Written By: Donovan Roche
Photography Provided By: Pacific Coast Spirits

While San Diego has enjoyed a reputation as one of the nation’s craft beer capitals for some time, the spirits sector is starting to gain in popularity, and Oceanside’s Pacific Coast Spirits will likely be a pioneer in placing America’s Finest City on the craft spirits map. Celebrating its grand opening on Dec. 5, which is appropriately the anniversary of Prohibition Repeal Day, Pacific Coast Spirits hosted a prohibition-themed party featuring jazz music and custom cocktails.

“It was a great culmination of the hard work and passion we’ve put into this,” Founder and Head Distiller Nicholas Hammond said of the soiree. “We thought it was serendipitous that it fell on Prohibition Repeal Day, which will be our anniversary now.”

The event also marked the release of Pacific Coast Spirits’ first batch of American Single Malt, its flagship whiskey. The distillery offers New Make (unaged whiskey), California Bourbon and limited production blends. If whiskey isn’t your thing, fret not; guests can also enjoy four styles of gin, four types of brandy, two kinds of vodka, a white rum and a just-released agave spirit. You can order tasters neat, on the rocks or in a cocktail. You can even take home a bottle of your favorite, ranging in price from $35 to $100. 

Native Knowledge: Next month, you can join the Barrel Club—purchase the barrel and visit PCS for VIP tastings and dinners. 

Hammond, a mechanical engineer by trade, said it was a long road for him to bring Pacific Coast Spirits to the people. He founded the company in 2015 when he started producing product at other distilleries, but he had a hard time finding the right space and getting the necessary permits to open his own place. In fact, he spent two years trying in Carlsbad, but that didn’t pan out. This 12,000-square-foot space along South Coast Highway is three blocks from the beach. “Oceanside has been great with us,” he said.  

Native Knowledge: Hammond got his start in winemaking–amassing 10 years’ experience on his family’s Northern California vineyard.

Pacific Coast Spirits uses premium, locally sourced ingredients to create its adventurous spirits as well as its farm-to-table California cuisine. Head Chef Nick Schaller and Sous-chef Alex Velasco have developed an enticing menu of shareable plates, including a savory sausage skillet (featuring homemade sauerkraut, bacon and potatoes), fried chicken and waffle (made of spent grain from corn whiskey production) and kid-favorite mac and cheese that’s baked with a blend of gruyere and aged white cheddar. 

Native Knowledge: Curious about the backstory on that bottle of whiskey you bought? Look up its batch number and learn more.

Beyond getting all their ingredients from California farms, Hammond and his team are committed to running a sustainable business and giving back to the community they serve. This includes everything from building in a water reclamation system to sending spent grains to ranches, so they can feed the livestock that supply the restaurant. “Every business makes an impact,” Hammond said, “but the impact doesn’t always have to be negative. We’re trying to do our part.”

Pacific Coast Spirits
404 S Coast Hwy
Oceanside, CA 92054
760.453.7150