For customers in the tasting room at St. George Spirits in Alameda, sampling the goods often accidentally comes with a study in the regulations that surround the complicated, and oftentimes archaic, world of distilled spirits. Wineries and breweries have defined the collective idea of tasting rooms, but stepping into a distillery tasting room can feel like squeezing through red tape.
Now 30 years old, St. George regularly produces 16 spirits, yet visitors can legally only taste six, at most. Those spirits cannot be served with a mixer, either. And don't even think about hosting a private party in the scenic barrel room — a standard revenue stream for many breweries and wineries — because that, too, would be breaking the law.