FruitCraft Fermentery & Distillery is the expanded, re-branded brainchild of the same twin brothers who started California Fruit Wine in Vista. I had the pleasure of working with them a few years ago with Gogobot San Diego, and I was instantly hooked on their mild, delicious fruit wines.
With wines and spirits made from fermented fruit as the foundation, brothers Alan and Brian have created a whole menu of taster flights, signature cocktails, and even light bites (cheese plates, fruit and nuts, etc.) and appetizers that serve as entire meals (um, breakfast flatbread FTW.)
Plus, they’ve moved into a chic, modern space right in the heart of Hillcrest – a perfect space for one of the trendiest San Diego neighborhoods. (With a distillery on-site.)
Three of us paid the new space a visit and enjoyed several craft cocktails, appetizers, and light meals last weekend. I particularly enjoyed the mango lemon drop martini, which is a blend of their mango wine, mango spirit, and pineapple spirit with fresh-pressed lemon. It was a delicious and surprisingly not-too-sweet take on a lemon drop martini – very well done!
My second favorite was the Moscow Mule, with pumpkin spice wine (!), pomegranate and mango spirits, ginger beer, and fresh lime juice. It was another surprising twist on a classic cocktail, and the pumpkin spice was an excellent complement to the ginger beer. I was surprisingly impressed.
The blueberry mojito was sweet with little to no mint flavor (and not a favorite of my dining companion), though still a delicious cocktail on its own; likewise, the “Old Fashioned” is nothing like a real Old-Fashioned, but a delicious and potent drink by itself. (If you’re a whiskey or bourbon connoisseur, either skip it or keep an open mind.)
I highly recommend the cheese and nut plate to complement your drinks: it’s a LOT of food and absolutely delicious cheeses (from aged parmesan to creamy Brie that was an instant crowd favorite), plus sweet fig jam and delicious little morsels of bread (we needed more.)
If you wish, you can make it a full dining experience: many of their “light bites” are really quite big enough for a whole meal. (My friend ordered the breakfast flatbread, thinking it would be a good supplement for the cheese….she barely ate half.)
All in all, FruitCraft is a fantastic concept and fresh new blood for a city churning out new eateries and bars faster than you can bat an eyelash, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing what Brian and Alan have in store for the coming months.
FruitCraft Fermentery & Distillery
1477 University Ave
San Diego, CA 92103
Open Wednesday through Sunday, hours vary