Petaluma’s Griffo Distillery Breaking Through The Spirits Biz

Griffo’s Grandfather’s Stop Watch, Photo By Chad Dunbar
Ski Man, Photo By Chad Dunbar

When Mike grew up, his grandfather, Frank Griffo, Sr., created fuel injection systems for automobiles before fuel injectors were even invented. So at an early age he was raised around mechanical things.  He still uses his grandfather’s stop watch at the distillery to time some of his processes (the same watch that his father used to time his race cars around the track.) His father, Frank Griffo, Jr., was a helicopter pilot in the Vietnam War and to this day helps with the distillery.  Their Griffo’s parents and brother’s family are all residents in Petaluma.  They fell in love with Petaluma while visiting their family members. They have a running family joke surrounding an action figure that has made appearances all over the world that is now stationed in the Griffo Distillery. This action figure is given the nickname “Ski Man”.  We would like to congratulate the Griffo’s as they are expecting their second child.  Henry their youngest son provided us entertainment during our interview.

Griffo’s Working Chalk Board, Photo By Chad Dunbar
Betty, Photo By Chad Dunbar

No doubt with Mike’s background he created his own CAD drawings and did the engineering for their distillery.  He said “Building the distillery was like building legos.”  The large copper still in their shop is called “Betty” named after a salty and tough aunt that lived to the long age of 99.  Mike did his research and found the best copper made still from a 4th generation maker called Vendrome in Kentucky. While most distilleries have sensors, Mike has six sensors measuring and tracking a massive amount of data from their distilling process.  Mike says that while some distillers take manual entry on logs with 10 bits of data per day, his equipment is capturing thousands of pieces of data per day allowing for him to refine the process with great precision.  Mike says I have better control over the quality of the product” – It’s super precise.


Click here to see a full gallery of photos of the Griffo Distillery.

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