Many things have changed since the repeal of Prohibition, but one that has changed only recently is the arrival of actual distilleries in Los Angeles. When Greenbar opened in 2011, it was the first distillery — legal, at least — to open its door in 95 years. Owned by husband-and-wife Melkon Khosrovian and Litty Mathew, Greenbar was prohibited — proving that many forms of prohibition still exist — from opening a public tasting room until now. On Oct. 3, Greenbar's tasting room finally opened to the public. Time to raise a glass.
Another thing that Greenbar is doing that very few people are is distilling not only spirits but organic spirits at that.
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When Khosrovian and Mathew first opened their business, in 2004 in Monrovia, they weren't making organic spirits. They made the change six years ago, after noticing the different flavor profiles when they used ingredients from farmers who had themselves made the switch to organic. This switch helped when they moved their company downtown as part of the area's new CleanTech Corridor (Greenbar was the inaugural business), a new project that hopes to attract green jobs to the area. (Along this theme, Greenbar uses lightweight and recycled packaging and plants a tree for every bottle sold. A new definition for "responsible drinking.")
The new distillery is also the opposite of a speakeasy, the old-time drinking establishments that relied on secrecy, as it's not only legal but styled in the manner of an open kitchen. Which means not only that you don't need a password or secret handshake to get in but you can see the whole process unfolding in front of you.