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.
“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.
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 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 http://sugarsanddistillery.com/ on Facebook at Sugar Sand Distillery LLC or by phone at (863) 449-0470.