When Laura Johnson set her sights on opening an urban distillery just outside of San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter, she wanted to design a space that would channel Southern California’s sunny attitude. “Distillers aren’t often hospitality or aesthetically minded,” she says. “I wanted to create a distillery concept that put just as much effort and passion into the overall experience and visuals as we do the spirits themselves.”
Fresh out of college and without a background in distillation, it took Johnson three years to bring You & Yours to life. The production distillery opened earlier this year with an event space and tasting room, complete with a full cocktail bar, where spirits like the house gin and vodka meet seasonal produce (check out the Daddy Don’t Make Dinner cocktail recipe here). Kate Lester from Kate Lester Interiors helped bring the vision of a bright, cheerful aesthetic to life.
“The design concept for this space was all about creating something vibrant, fresh and coastal-inspired, without being too trendy, theme-y or serious (i.e., no shells, surfboards or anchors),” Lester says. “The space needed to be intimate enough where people could pop in for a cocktail and chat with the owner, but also open enough to host a large event. I think we were able to create that pretty seamlessly.”
I wanted to create a distillery concept that put just as much effort and passion into the overall experience and visuals as we do the spirits themselves.
To add texture and warmth to the warehouse (exposed concrete and pipes were left untouched), Johnson and Lester incorporated salvaged wood, copper and marble accents and wove a variety of velvet and denim linen into the furniture. “Our goal was to create the feeling that the owners had been collecting furniture pieces, rugs and accessories for this space for ages and I think that really shows through in the space,” Lester says. “It has a curated feel that makes it warm and inviting for a quick tasting, and also a chic destination for an important event.”
Whitewashed brick brightens the space, and Lester’s favorite element, the painted wood tiles on the bar face take center stage. “The colorful pattern provides a contrast with the stone countertop and white brick (also a favorite element) that is just stunning,” she says.
On the bar side, Johnson plans to build the spirits portfolio one by one, with an Old Tom and aperitivo-style spirit currently in the works. Ultimately, she wants to be known for gins, and she plans to release one in almost every style. “Our signature will always be drinkability and restraint. We never want to beat you over the head with any ingredient or flavor note,” she says. “Our spirits are elegant, complex and evolving. You’ll taste different notes in our Sunday gin on the first, third, fifth sip.”
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