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Taste Tucson in a Glass of Whiskey del Bac

A furniture maker found his whiskey inspiration in leftover mesquite.

Tucson has a great collection of craft breweries (Dragoon, Borderlands, Ten Fifty-Five and Pueblo Vida are highly recommended, but you can hardly go wrong), but it might surprise you to find we have a craft distillery as well.

Once a furniture maker, Whiskey del Bac originated from a conversation Stephen Paul had with his wife about scotch and the couple wondering if mesquite (Paul’s wood of choice) could be used to malt barley. Then, a small copper still came into his life and the first batches were made. That still led to a larger, 40-gallon, still, samples sent off to a tasting expert in San Francisco, experiments in trial and error, and then a beverage emerged worth sharing.

By 2013, Paul was turning out three types of whiskey to the raves of local bartenders who were eager to put the local spirit to work. Now, Paul has closed down the furniture business (although if you stop by the distillery, you’ll see some of Paul’s pieces), moved out of the whiskey’s original home, a small studio, and into a production warehouse, complete with a tasting table and a room full of barrels of his product.

Using local ingredients when possible to get a real “sense of place” with every sip, Whiskey del Bac can be purchased at local liquor stores or asked for in every local bar that matters.

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