In 1977 I had a small cabinet shop in El Granada, and built a lot of signs and things for Carolyn Wood, a graphic artist. Carolyn was doing the menus, and designing the big sign out on Hwy 1 for what was going to be called “the Distillery” but had been the Galway Bay Inn for years.
This guy Paul had purchased the restaurant and in talking with Carolyn, he found out I had knowledge of an old whiskey still’s location. The old postmaster of the El Granada Post office’s grandfather (as the story was told me) had buried the original still from this restaurant behind a barn somewhere in Half Moon Bay during prohibition. It was supposed to still be there.
Carolyn came by my shop, and introduced me to Paul. Paul let me know–with his southern California attitude showing– that he was going to get this original still buried behind the barn. It truly left me scratching my head wondering why he came by to meet me just to tell me this but whatever! He made it very clear he did not need mine!
In Burlingame was (as far as I know) the first mini storage place on the peninsula named “U Stor It” run by a friend of mine named Mark. This was a warehouse with lots of plywood cubicles and mesh wire composition built the entire area for two stories except for the office, and a driveway from the front to the back. Along this driveway people were allowed to sell things if they had a box there, and this is where the whiskey still sat. $85.00 said the piece of binder paper taped to it.
A couple of weeks later Carolyn Wood called me up and said Paul could not find the whiskey still buried and so was interested in mine. He came over to my shop and started going on (very wired dude) about how he had found a still for $800.00 but it wasn’t in very good shape. I agreed to show him the one I knew about and told him the location. As soon as he left I called Mark, and told him to put a price tag on it for $800.00. Mark did it one better, he brought it into the office, put a sheet under it on a table, wrote a full typed page of its history and placed it neatly to the side of this giant metal tea pot with a straw.
When Paul arrived with Carolyn (I wasn’t far behind in my car) he was elated going on about how much better this one was than the other for $800.00 and in so much better shape!
$800.00 was a whole lot of money to us back in 1977 so you will never know how gleeful we were when Paul said he wanted it!
He started dealing out the hundred dollar bills, put the still in the car, drove away happy while Mark and I deducted the $85.00 we owed the original owner and split the rest……….. I always feel I can afford to eat at the Moss Beach Distillery!
I guess Paul took the whiskey still with him when he moved away but this is truly how the Distillery got its still!