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Craft distillery on San Francisco’s Treasure Island strikes gold with 49ers partnership

By Ryan Yamamoto

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    SAN FRANCISCO, California (KPIX) — How will the Niner Faithful toast a Super Bowl victory? The answer may come from a small craft distillery on San Francisco’s Treasure Island after an unlikely encounter led to a partnership with the team.

Grab a glass with Montgomery Paulsen, and one might get an education along with a drink.

“Whiskey has got these deep dark hues, it is really rich, and has a tradition that goes back almost a thousand years,” he said, while examining a glass and before taking a sip.

Paulsen is the Master Distiller for Gold Bar Whiskey, a former winemaker blending his knowledge of the Napa Valley to create a smooth and elegant beverage.

“I’m using a lot of techniques that I used to employ in making wine in making these whiskeys from the blending and aging,” said Paulsen. “Once in these oak barrels, it develops a lot of flavors over time. Unique thing that are happening, that are part mystery, part art, and part science all in the glass of whiskey.”

Gold Bar was founded 10 years ago as a small craft distillery on Treasure Island. And it was a chance meeting with a 49ers executive that literally helped the small company strike gold.

“So, he was shopping for baby food or diapers and came across one of our sample tables and saw our bright gold bottles and thought it would be a perfect fit for the team,” said Sam Thumm, Director of Marketing for Gold Bar Whiskey.

That is when the two teamed up with Gold Bar becoming the official whiskey of the San Francisco 49ers, and helping the distillery become a favorite among the 49er Faithful.

“We got people who purchase bottles, and they don’t even open it,” said Thumm. “We are seeing people really use them in their man caves, and 49ers shrines.”

Part of the allure, along with the gold bar bottle is their collaboration with 49ers greats, including a Joe Montana whiskey and another bottle commemorating Dwight Clark’s “The Catch”.

“We did this limited-edition bottle that we collaborated with the widow of Dwight Clark, and we are donating a portion of the proceeds to their foundation,” said Thumm.

But for Paulsen, he would rather taste his whiskey than display it, because he admits it is a job that comes with perks.

“I get to taste whiskey in the morning, I get to taste whiskey at night, I get to taste whiskey at lunchtime,” said a smiling Paulsen.

But the ultimate goal of this budding partnership with the 49ers is the taste of victory, and a hopeful Super Bowl victory.

Gold Bar is hinting at another commemorative bottle that fans can add to their man caves, if and when it happens.

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