Ghost in a Shot Glass: Channel Islands Distiller
Late fall 1926, a Coast Guard ship not far from Santa Cruz Island spotted a fastmoving boat. Suspecting it was carrying contraband and trying to escape, the Coast Guard's officer-in-charge, Boatswain (T) L. H. Williams, signaled for the boat to heave-to. But the Grey Ghost, as she was known, failed to do so. Williams opened fire, and so did crewman Edward O. Calioutte.
The Ghost took multiple crippling shots. She ran aground about one-and-a-half miles east of Valley Anchorage, Santa Cruz Island.
Though the identity of the rum-running boat's operator was lost to history, the Coast Guard reported that they arrested him for violating the Tariff Act of 1922.
Ventura County has a rich tradition of rum-running, as it was known, including a spot not far from Ventura Avenue in Ventura known as "rum row," where bootleggers churned out Prohibition-era booze to sell across the country. Rum runners often landed on the Ventura coast to unload their cargo.
It is here that Michael Machuzak and Joe Freas of Channel Islands Distillery set up shop in a humble industrial space to become modern- day, "legal bootleggers." In the hours away from their day jobs as aquatic toxicologists testing municipal water supplies and performing other environmental analyses, they distill small batches of artisan spirits far beyond the dreams of a backwoods moonshiner.....Read More