Long Now building a new bar/coffee shop, raising money with long booze

Jeffrey 'Toast' McGrew sez, "The ever-amazing Long Now Foundation hired us to help them transform their somewhat-boring bookstore / gallery into an amazing library / event space / coffee & cocktails bar. But the really cool part is that they are selling bottles of fancy spirits to raise the money. Gin made from 5000 year old pine needles, from the clock site itself! Whiskey you'll get to taste over the next 15 years! It's crazy and we're honored to have been part of it, and thought y'all might want to know about it too."

St. George Spirits in Alameda has created two exclusive spirits for Long Now, each truly a distillation of long-term thinking. The first is an aromatic gin made with juniper berries harvested by hand among the 5,000-year-old bristlecones from our site in eastern Nevada.

The other spirit is a whiskey made from a tailored selection of grains, fermented and distilled in such a way that it will be delicious without aging, while growing more intricate and complex every year. We will bottle a small amount each year for the next 15 years, allowing you to taste its annual progression.

We invite you to help The Long Now Foundation build a new salon space... (Thanks, Jeffrey!)


  1. Sounds interesting, but there are some slight deviations from fact here.  Juniper berries from bristlecone pine groves are not 5,000 year old pine needles.  They’re the seeds of a completely different species.  

    1. The gin has *both* pine needles from the brislecones themselves and juniper berries from, well, wild juniper bushes in it. Both were hand-harvested from the clock site in eastern Nevada. It tastes (and smells!) like the mountain. We’ve gotten to taste the prototypes and it’s simply stunning.

      It’s akin to another gin St. George made using nothing but botanicals from Mt. Tam. Really captures a particular place!

  2. Cool project.
    Also, I’d like to highly recommend to anyone in the Bay Area or anyone with some time to spend ’round the Alameda/Oakland area to get over to St. George’s Spirits out on the edge of the island on what was the Naval base.  Assuming you like booze.  :)

  3. While I don’t imbibe, I’ve always been fascinated with the craftsmanship of making these. It feels like a modern progression of alchemy in many ways. You’re turning ingredients into gold, in a manner of speaking.

  4. Good to see that the Long Now Foundation is now an avenue for conspicuous consumption. Because if there is one thing that matters in 10,000 years, it’s who got their name on a plaque for throwing a 1%er party.

    1. the irony is spectacular, with a hint of pine.
      I picture these once proud bottles sitting on a dusty shelf in a post apocalyptic san francisco wasteland. 

  5. Something tells me this isn’t going to be the kind of coffee shop you should stop by if you’re in a hurry.

    Customer: “Is that double cappuccino ready yet? It’s been almost 20 minutes and I’m late for work!”

    Barista: “Chill out, man. What’s one scant third of an hour compared to tens of thousands of years of recorded human history?”

  6. It’s “distilled in such a way that it will be delicious without aging?” Um… hm. That, uh… never mind.

    1. I love St. George Spirits, but I’ve had their unaged whiskey and I can assure you it needs aged. Barrel aging.

  7. Shit like this amazes me. Ya’ll have got it WAY too easy in your neck of the woods, at least in terms of raising money for goofy projects. Southern Illinois (look it up, we exist) has an independent community radio station that’s been on-air for over 15 years, and they can barely hit a 13K fundraiser twice a year, let alone raise 69 thousand dollars to pick berries and have a “salon.” You want to think of the future? Picture one in which everything outside of two urban centers, separated by thousands of miles, withers and dies, easy pickings for fear-mongering politicians and fundamentalist vultures. Imagine how it might have been prevented if a handful of people had simply looked up from their special engraved bottle of whiskey and noticed that– with a push, or a hand up– some act of culture and brightness might have gotten a toehold in these otherwise-forgotten places rather than being consigned to something others simply fly over. 

  8. WOW!  Magical juniper bush berries amidst the most ancient bristlecone pine grove!  I hope they let me pay them $400 a shot to taste this genius of a marketing plan!

  9. 10,000 years is nothing. If they’re not working on putting their own satellite in geostationary orbit I’m not interested.

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