It’s been a year in the making, now Sugar Sand Distillery is making product and is open for business and we had an opportunity to take the first tour through the newest distillery in the Sunshine State

The brainchild of Don Davies and Jessica Giffin, it is located on Henscratch Road, it is just north of Lake Placid and just south of Henscratch Farms and Winery.  Like the winery, it’s an agri-tourism operation featuring a five acre patch of sugar cane with a distillery just next door. When fully up to speed, they will be the only such operation in North America that grows their own cane, squeezes and processes it on site.

  Currently, while the cane grows in the field, the operation is using imported cane from Clewiston to make a full array of vodka, rum, white whiskey and moonshine.
 The product comes in 250 gallon batches made in a custom-constructed Confederate Stills of America still.

Don Davies explains the process

 “The vodka actually goes through 21 steps,” Davies said as he ushered our tour of ten interested individuals through the first of a day-full of tours through the brand new facility.
  In fact, the vodka is rated at about 190 proof.  They already have run through their first batch of rum and other products still are in the process.
 The 10-acre property actually began as a boutique orange grove which succumbed to the ravages of the citrus disease known as “greening.” Davies said they considered a number of crops including blueberries and even pomegranates but settled on the idea of sugar cane.

  Unlike the commercially grown cane to the south, this field is planted much closer together as it is cared for by hand and not by machine. The varietal also is a sandland cane that they hope will do well in the local soil.
The planting method has given them a total of about 15 miles of cane.

There’s no question about the quality of their products. The Sugar Sand vodka and rum already have proved to be a hit. They sold out of their stock in their first tours in early April and continue to hustle to keep up with demand.

The tasting room is a busy place

 The distillery is open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays with special tours by appointment. Tours are $7.50 per person – which is mitigated with a $5 off coupon for purchases of product.
 They can be found on the web at on Facebook at Sugar Sand Distillery LLC or by phone at (863) 449-0470.

  For us it was well worth the trip and a real thrill to see a fledgling operation getting off the ground. By the way, we got some rum – which I thought was the best. The vodka also was good, but I am waiting for the moonshine.
  They say they hope to begin to sell aged spirits – but that may be difficult if sales continue at the current clip.
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