This month I sat down with the head distiller at Fernandina distillery Marlin and Barrel, Wyatt Griesemer, to talk about the history of the distillery and where it’s headed in the future. Previously a bartender with Restaurant Orsay, Griesemer has been working at Marlin and Barrel for over a year now. The distillery itself is fairly new, having only celebrated their two-year anniversary in March. He says that there are currently four full-time employees and that the basic practice is, “making booze in back, selling it in front.” It is a philosophy that seems to work out pretty well for Marlin and Barrel.
According to Griesemer, “Right now we’re at ten [spirits], and will be at fifteen by year’s end.” It’s not easy to have that many kinds of spirits, especially with such a small staff. Griesemer says, “Basically with micro distilleries, we probably have the most product with the least amount of staff.” They like to keep the product as local as possible. Their spiced pepper vodka is made with peppers from B&D Sauce Co.. Local citrus is used for the orangecello and grapefruitcello. Even the label for the 2nd Street Gin was designed locally by Mico Fuentes.
One of the new products that Marlin and Barrel will have bottled by the end of the year is a barrel aged gin. If you want a sneak peak, head to Grape and Grain for the launch of Negroni Week on June 6th (see my Behind the Stick Column in this issue for more information).
Wyatt Griesemer believes that distilling will be his life’s work and wants to become the youngest master distiller in the world. With his talent and drive, I think it’s a pretty good bet. It means long hours and often lonely work but Griesemer says, “I’m a super introvert, so it’s perfect.” He is always searching for new flavors to work with, so look for fun combinations in the future.
Although Marlin and Barrel has only been in operation for two years, they’ve made a big splash. The best way to experience all that they have to offer is to head to the distillery in Fernandina. Get a kick from the spiced pepper vodka or pucker up for the grapefruitcello. Whatever your preference, Marlin and Barrel has you covered. For more information, check out their website, www.marlinbarrel.com. When you visit, be sure to hashtag your photos #eujax so that we can see what your favorite flavors are!