960 East Forsyth Street
Jacksonville, FL 32202
Please enjoy our Manifest Distilling Tour Review!
Manifest Distilling produces a wide variety of vodkas, gins, whiskeys and liqueurs in their Jacksonville distillery.
A Distillery Amongst Jacksonville’s Stadiums
We recently visited Manifest Distilling and toured their facility. The distillery is located in Jacksonville’s Sports District, in close proximity to both the Jaguar’s football stadium and the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp’s baseball stadium. Their cocktail bar is a very convenient location to grab a drink if you are attending any of the local games or events. At the moment (January 2023), there is a large construction project underway across the street from the distillery, so things may not be quite as convenient, but that should be temporary.
Upon entering the distillery we found ourselves in the bar/gift shop. We were promptly greeted by the friendly bartender, Sharla. She informed us that cocktails or neat pours were available at the bar and we were free to take them on our tour. Interestingly, due to Florida law, the only alcoholic beverages that can be served at the distillery are those that Manifest makes themselves. So in addition to their core spirit line, Manifest produces a small number of liqueurs solely for use in cocktails at their bar.
Our Tour Guide Corey
It was not long before we met our tour guide, Corey. As it so happens, Corey is also the bar manager, and was instrumental in setting up the bar and cocktail program at Manifest. However, for the next couple of hours he would be educating us on all things Manifest Distilling.
Manifest Distilling History
Corey began by telling us the history of the distillery. Manifest Distilling set up shop in their current location back in April 2015. In September 2016 they opened their doors to the public. The first spirits they produced were vodka and gin. For these spirits, the base grain neutral spirits are distilled off-site at an outside distillery. However, the remainder of production takes place at Manifest. For the Gin, the botanicals are added directly to the still and for the Florida Citrus Vodka, the fruit is juiced and the skins macerated in grain neurtral spirit. Both the Gin and Florida Citrus Vodka are then redistilled on Manifest’s own still.
Manifest Distilling Rye
When Manifest Distilling first started making their rye, the initial few batches were distilled at Koval Distillery in Chicago. However, that was only temporary and now all of their whiskey (which is mainly rye) is distilled in-house. In fact, Manifest is a certified organic distillery. They use organic grains that are sourced from a North American farm cooperative. Manifest makes a variety of ryes, including their flagship Straight Rye, which uniquely uses a mash bill of 60% rye and 40% red spring wheat. There’s also a 100% rye, a malted rye which is made with 15% malted barley, and a variety of finished ryes which currently are only available at the distillery.
On To The Distillery
After learning Manifest Distilling’s backstory, we began our walking tour through the distillery. However, it is not a long walk; the Manifest Distilling distillery is essentially all in one fairly large room. Our first stop was the 500 gallon mash tun, named “The Skipper”. All of the distilling equipment is named after the characters from the 1960’s TV series Gilligan’s Island, which, coincidentally, was a favorite show of mine, back in the day. The only character not represented is Thurston Howell III. Poor Mr. Howell, what did you do to be left out? The mash tun was manufactured by Vendome Copper & Brass Works and uses low pressure steam piped through coils within the cooker as a heating source. Following cooking, the mash is cooled by cold water pumped through pipes in the jacket of the mash tun. It is then pumped to one of four fermenters.
The Fermenters, Still & Aging
The open fermenters are named “The Professor”, “Mary Ann”, “Ginger” and “Lovey”, all characters from Gilligan’s Island. Fermentation takes place at 90 degrees Fahrenheit and lasts 72 hours. Following fermentation, the distiller’s beer is pumped to the Vendome hybrid pot still, which is named Gilligan. The column component has 5 plates. The still is used to make all of Manifest Distilling’s whiskeys and to redistill their gin and citrus vodka. After distillation, gin and vodka will go directly to bottling. However, the whiskey must age. Aging takes place on-site, as well as in a separate facility in Jacksonville. Manifest Distilling’s rye ages for a minimum of 2 years.
Manifest Distilling also has a full bottling line. They bottle for themselves as well as outside customers. The bottling line has a 4 bottle filler. Sealing and labeling are done by hand.
No Distillery Tour Is Complete Without A Tasting
The tasting line up for us was a little different than what is usually offered. The usual lineup includes Manifest Distilling’s flagship spirits: Potato Vodka, Florida Citrus Vodka, Gin and Straight Rye Whiskey. However, since our preferences tend to lean towards the brown spirits, that is what we tasted. Our lineup consisted of: Straight Rye, 100% Rye, Manifest Whiskey Project 4, Wheat Whiskey, Rye Finished in Vin de Naranja Barrels, Rye finished in Calvados Barrels and Malted Rye. Clearly there are plenty of options for brown spirits fans!
Time To Say Goodbye
Our Manifest Distilling Tour complete, we thanked Corey and headed back to the gift shop. There, we purchased some of our favorite ryes from the tasting, and then bid Manifest farewell. If you are in the Jacksonville area and want to check out a cool distillery or just grab a cocktail before a game, give Manifest Distilling a try!
We hope you have enjoyed our Manifest Distilling Tour Review! Would you like to read about another nearby distillery, in Brunswick, GA? Check out our Richland Distilling Company Review!
Would you like to learn more about distilleries and bourbon? Are you planning a trip to Kentucky Distilleries? Maybe you would like to live the bourbon life vicariously through us?🙂 If any of these are true, then check out BourbonObsessed.com today!