1512 Pine Street, San Francisco is the location of a small Barber Shop, but one of the very best in the city, offering haircuts and traditional straight razor shaves! Master Barber, Salvatore Cimino spends his days working here but in one of the coolest situations we’ve ever been aware of, he’s also the Master Distiller at 1512 Spirits, producing a range of spirits and whiskeys including Barbershop Rye!
Salvatore, or ‘Sal’ learned how to make wine and distil grappa at a young age, taught by his father and grandfather who were also both barbers! In fact, the family have been distilling spirits for over a hundred years, since before Sal’s grandfather travelled to America from his family home near Palermo in Italy.
During prohibition, Barber Shops would often be used as fronts by bootleggers and until recently you could still pop into the 1512 Barber Shop for a more-expensive-than-usual-haircut and leave with some of Sal’s hand crafted whiskey!
The wise decision was ultimately made to turn this into a legitimate enterprise with Barbershop Rye being the first product officially released by 1512 Spirits. This is an unaged whiskey (and therefore cannot be sold as a ‘whiskey’ over here), that is especially created to be enjoyed without being aged. It is made from 100% rye and therefore avoids the ‘corniness’ of some white whiskeys.
Drawing on his background and experience, Sal built his own still as well as much of the other equipment and continues to produce tremendous small batch spirits including a range of aged whiskeys and even a poitín! That, and providing his loyal customers straight razor shaves of course.