Theo Taki's Still
Since my first vision of the crooked smokestack above my great grandparent’s distillery, I have been a distiller.
My earliest childhood memories include sailing the warm Mediterranean and long family road trips in an old
Volkswagen bus traveling the coastline of Southern Greece. During the summer of 1976, we rolled up on the seaside vineyard where my grandmother was born. The ocean of rolling grapevines I was told of were all dry and long dead. An old man with a shotgun in his hand and a wild look in his eye sat in front of the white-washed farmhouse. That was my Theo Taki and that summer we became partners in crime. Turns out our family, their vineyard, and their distillery were on the wrong side of a socialist movement brewing in the neighborhood last century. Taki’s earliest childhood memories were of burning vines and a fire-bombed family distillery.
We were only planning a weeks stay at the vineyard, but when I talked Theo Taki into unlocking the long shuttered distillery building…I wasn’t going anywhere. With no small concern, my family ventured off to the outer Greek islands while I stayed at the vineyard.Taki and I spent the summer teaching each other words while rebuilding the old family still and making strong Ouzo. When I left the vineyard that Fall, Taki handed me his grandfather’s small copper table still to take back to California. I’ve been boiling wine and mash ever since.
For a generation, we’ve adventured the world sampling spirits from the sweet rums of Barbados to the fire-breathing tequilas of Mexico, with home always being along the California coast. Living winters along the open north coast at Pleasure Point and summers along the warm south coast at Laguna Beach, we continuously experiment with the natural California coastal plants that grow in the places that we love the best.
After studying at the University of San Diego and building a string of successful California businesses, Constantine (Gus) Samios II founded Pleasure Distillery, LLC in January of 2014. With a three generation background in distilling and a clear vision of new industry development, Pleasure Distillery is now proudly poised both domestically and internationally to move the world from chemical heavy industrial alcohols to local pure field-to-bottle fine organic spirits.
Joining Samios in recipe design and botanical pairing is California Culinary Institute graduate, Michelin rated chef, and fine California cuisine restaurant owner, Nick Difu.
Pleasure distribution and legal council is managed by Michael Parsons. Parsons is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara with an extensive legal and operations background as Council and Chief Operation Officer at multiple businesses featuring all natural base ingredients.
We welcome you to try the unique spirits we’re distilling with the best of the indigenous plants our home grows. Home grown Santa Barbara Ranch agave, Imperial Valley fresh sugar cane, coastal sage brush, Monterey Valley olives, Santa Cruz mountain grapes, fresh Lake Tahoe snow melt, Ojai tangerine peel, and Pacific Ocean sea grass are just some of the local ingredients we use to create our unique small batch California Agave, fresh sugar cane Rum, and Pacific Sea Grass Absinthe. Each spirit calls to the unique histories and personalities of our vast California coastline.