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Sunday, July 30, 2017

CALIFORNIA GRAPPA

Grappa - ZinfandelPendrays Distillery: Templeton-based Pendrays makes a port-barrel-aged grappa from zinfandel grapes.

Saint James Spirits: Irwindale-based SJS distills their grappa from California-grown zinfandel pumace.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

CALIFORNIA BITTERS

Image result for bar keep bittersGreenbar Distillery: Los Angeles-based Greenbar Distillery makes a organic, variously flavored Bar Keep bitters in their downtown-L.A. distillery.

CALIFORNIA MEZCAL

Image result for Mezcal El SilencioMezcal El Silencio: MES was founded and is based in Los Angeles, but they make their mezcal in Oaxaca out of 100% wild agave plants.  Their branding and merchandising (t-shirts, hoodies, etc.) is unusually cool.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

CALIFORNIA AGAVE SPIRIT (CALIFORNIAN TEQUILA)

Image result for venus spirits anejoIt's not Tequila unless it's made in Tequila, Mexico.  And I'm not so much the California booster to suggest that anything we make here can compete with the real thing.  That said, we Californians have fermented the same ingredients that the Mexicans use to create beverages that are not Tequila, but that still are pretty delicious.

Venus Spirits: Santa Cruz-based VS imports organic agave from the Jalisco highlands, and distills it into award-winning agave spirits.

Channel Islands Distillery: Ventura-based CID makes small-batch tequila.

Greenbar Distillery: Los Angeles-based Greenbar Distillery's organic IXÁ Tequila really is tequila, as in, they make it in Tequila, Mexico.  It is the only one of their spirits that they don't make in their downtown-L.A. distillery. 

Saint James Spirits: Irwindale-based SJS makes a 100% Blue Agave, distilled in California, and aged in French Oak.



CALIFORNIA ANISE-TASTING LIQUOR

Image result for venus spirits aquavitIt seems like every country comes up with a liquor that tastes like black licorice.  California has its own take on a few. 

Venus Spirits: Santa Cruz-based VS makes an award-winning, organic-wheat-based "interpretation" of the Scandinavian liquor Aquavit. 

Bear & Eagle Products: Santa Ana-based Bear & Eagle brews three flavors of Persian-style Arak.

CALIFORNIA GROWLERS

Miir GrowlerChrome: When I lived in the real Bay Area (i.e., the Bay Area in which you can see the Golden Gate and/or Bay Bridge with minimal effort), Chrome was the most ubiquitous brand of messenger bags and backpacks.  Now, they've expanded their line to include everything a bike-messenger-type urbanite needs for day-to-day living, including growlers.

Klean Kanteen: My household relies heavily on insulated bottles from this Chico-based B Corporation.  Klean Kanteen bottles keep my coffee warm, my drinking-water room temperature, and my to-go cocktails cold.  Now -- according to their website -- they also make growlers.  I probably will buy one soon. 

CALIFORNIA CORD ORGANIZERS (AKA CORD WALLETS)

Glaser Designs: San Francisco-based Glaser makes tasteful, expensive-looking cord organizers to order for "executive travelers," which I think means wealthy professionals who spend a lot of time on planes. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

CALIFORNIA BRANDIES

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In Distill of the Night Spirits: Central Valley-based IDotNS makes brandy from Central California wines.

Channel Islands Distillery: Ventura-based CID makes small-batch brandy.

Pendrays Distillery: Templeton-based Pendrays makes a port-barrel-aged brandy from viognier grapes.

Bear & Eagle Products: Santa Ana-based Bear & Eagle distills two brandies from California grapes.

CALIFORNIA DEODORANTS

Deodorant Travel SizeBaxter of California: Los Angeles-based Baxter of California focuses on men's body-care products.  I have not bought their deodorants, but I probably will give them a try -- they seem to take them very seriously. 

CALIFORNIA SUNBLOCK

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California North: Sausalito-based California North Skin Care makes SPF 30 and SPF 4 sunscreen.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

CALIFORNIA WINE BAGS

Murga Boot Company: Rancho Santa Margarita-based MGC makes an alligator wine bag -- an item which I'd never thought to want until I saw it.

Glasner Design: San Francisco-based Glaser makes absolutely beautiful wine bags to order for "executive travelers," which I think means wealthy professionals who spend a lot of time on planes.  

CALIFORNIA GUITARS

Truth be told, it had not occurred to me to do a post on guitars.  I will, of course, be a Guitar God someday.  But I'm not in the market for an ax right this decade. 

But then I discovered that Murga Boot Company -- leather-jacket and cowboy-boots extraordinaires -- also sells custom guitars....

Murga Boot Company: In addition to custom leather clothing, Rancho Santa Margarita-based MBC makes electric guitars, guitar straps, and amplifiers beautiful.

Monday, July 24, 2017

CALIFORNIA SHOES -- BUSINESS & FORMAL

Ballard Custom Footwear: Beverly Hills-based Ballard custom makes dress shoes by hand from a variety of leathers.  Their website doesn't say how much the shoes cost -- I'm guessing it's a lot a lot.

CALIFORNIA COWBOY BOOTS



I have not yet given into my desire for cowboy boots.  When I do succumb to the invitable, however, I plan to start my shopping with these folks:

Luis Jovel Custom Cowboy Bootmaker: I'll start with Fresno-based LJB.  Why?  Because his boots look great, and because he makes them in the heart of California's real cowboy country.

Courtney Custom Boots: Napa-based Courtney Custom is a one-woman shop that makes custom boots by hand.  The waiting list is a year long.

Genio Custom Boots: Escondido-based Genio Custom hand makes elaborate boots at within-dreaming-distances (i.e., less than $1,000) prices.

Hernandez and Sons Custom Boots: San Jose H&SCB makes very pretty things from leathers, including boots.

Ballard Custom Footwear: Beverly Hills-based Ballard custom makes boots by hand from a variety of leathers.  Their website doesn't say how much the boots cost -- I'm guessing it's a lot a lot a lot.

Custom Boots by Michael Anthony: Sebastopol-based Michael Anthony hand makes custom boots from standard and exotic leathers.



Murga Boot Company: Rancho Santa Margarita-based MBC makes custom leather clothing, including some pretty fantastic boots.

CALIFORNIA HATS -- STREETWEAR

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Head'n Home Homemade Hats: Watsonville-based Head'n Home does not really make hats.  They make works of art in leather that happen to be shaped like custom-fit hats.  Their work is expensive (although not prohibitively so), and their styles are not for everyone.  But they are wonderful.

greySan Diego Hat Company: Carlsbad-based SDHC makes a wide variety of inexpensive, very serviceable hats.

CALIFORNIA COWBOY HATS

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Head'n Home Handmade Hats: Watsonville-based Head'n Home does not really make hats.  They make imaginative, meticulously realized works of art that happen to be shaped like custom-fit hats.  It's no surprise, then, that their cowboy hats don't look like anything that a real cowboy would wear.  But these hats definitely deserve to be worn by somebody somewhere.
   
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San Diego Hat Company: Carlsbad-based SDHC makes inexpensive serviceable hats for keeping off the California sun.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

CALIFORNIA SCARVES -- STREETWEAR

Cashmere Blend Ribbed Scarf in GreyDSTLD: Los Angeles-based DSTLD is an online-only, direct-to-consumer designer and seller of Kenneth Cole-grade clothing and accessories.  Their wares include scarves.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

CALIFORNIA PANTS -- STREETWEAR



Image result for seven for all mankind
7 For All Mankind: Los Angeles-based 7 For All Mankind makes the streetwear that Hollywood stars are wearing in paparazzi photographs.  I own a wine-colored pair of 7FAMK’s Luxe Performance Sateen pants. They fit well, the fabric is comfortable against my skin, and they make me slouching loll like Johnny Thunders.

Chrome: When I lived in the real Bay Area (i.e., the Bay Area in which you can see the Golden Gate and/or Bay Bridge with minimal effort), Chrome was the most ubiquitous brand of messenger bags and backpacks.  Now, they've expanded their line to include everything a bike-messenger-type urbanite needs for day-to-day living, including pants.

AG Jeans: Los Angeles-based AG made their name designing flattering and socially conscious jeans, which my wife has worn happily for years.  They also make streetwear pants from fabrics other than denim, such as sateen.  

Monday, July 17, 2017

CALIFORNIA LUGGAGE

Timbuk2 San Francisco: Timbuk2 makes bags for Northern California urbanites.  They build sleek, durable, and fad-proof, usually in muted colors that hide stains well.  Their luggage is light, and designed for hard use.   


Glaser Designs: San Francisco-based Glaser makes luggage to order for "executive travelers," which I think means wealthy professionals who spend a lot of time on planes.

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Aer: San Francisco-based Aer fills a very specific niche.  They make luggage for carry-on plane travel.  In addition to carry-on-sized travel bags, they sell packing cubes, which are designed to organize and compress clothing to maximize usable space.

Honorable Mention -- Away: Away is from New York, not from California.   For people who never stop traveling, however, Away is a Blue State company whose luggage deserves to be considered. 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

CALIFORNIA COOLERS

Timbuk2 San Francisco: Timbuk2's Delores Chiller filled a void in my life.  It's neither too large nor too small, and it fits inside a Timbuk2 classic-size messenger bag.  I carry my lunch in it to work.  When I go to the river or the park, I pack it full of beer.  When I take a car trip with my family, it carries our snacks, sandwiches, and beverages.  It's not too heavy.  It's not too bulky.  It easily and comfortably carries everything I need.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

CALIFORNIA GLOVES -- STREETWEAR

Image result for espinoza's leather glovesDSTLD: Los Angeles-based DSTLD is an online-only, direct-to-consumer designer and seller of Kenneth Cole-grade clothing and accessories.  Their wares include fingerless gloves.


Espinoza’s Leather Company: Rosemead-based Espinoza’s is a family shop that makes custom-tailored clothing for motorcyclists, including leather gloves.