Behind the Bar Snap Shot

Can a Distillery Still Be a Distillery if It’s Always Moving Around?

Jessica Torres

Generally speaking, distilleries are predictable places full of tanks, tubes and, if you’re lucky, a tour that ends with you tasting the best of whatever it is that it makes. But not all distilleries are the same.

Amass distillery decided to ditch the brick-and-mortar model and take its brand on the road, becoming the world’s first nomadic distillery. “Being a nomadic distillery gives us freedom,” says founder and CEO Mark Lynn. “We can work with the best independent craft distillers from cities all over the world.”

The distilling may be nomadic, but Amass does have some roots, with its centralized operations in Los Angeles, a small office in New York and a London branch to follow next year. This allows it to be introduced to various markets, garnering wider exposure as well as gathering valuable feedback and insights on its products.

Amass master distiller Morgan McLachlan.

“It’s common for one brand to insert one maker, so this intricacy is unique to our brand,” says Lynn. “It allows us to work with a creative roster of distillers in a more meaningful, thoughtful ways.”

So what does a collaboration between Amass and other distilleries look like? For starters, the product development stage begins with the distillers leading the creative conversation around the spirit. Once the spirit is completed, the internal teams work with the distillers to create communications, visual strategy and a go-to market plan.

Since the company is based in Los Angeles, Lynn wanted to create a spirit that celebrates the diverse cultural landscape of Los Angeles by using locally sourced herbs such as hibiscus, lime leaf and reishi mushroom.

Amass Los Angeles Dry Gin


750 mL

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“Our interpretation of terroir is very modern,” says Lynn. “We go beyond the physical environment and include sociocultural ingredients that have been adopted by the vibrant multicultural communities Los Angeles has to offer.”

The result is Amass Los Angeles dry gin, produced in collaboration with The Spirit Guild in the Arts District in L.A. It’s crafted in a small copper pot still by master distiller Morgan McLachlan and made with 29 organic botanicals.

“Our gin has a refreshing California citrus nose with flavors of grapefruit, orange and lemon,” says Lynn. “You’ll then experience an herbaceous quality thanks to spicy notes of cardamom and California bay Leaf. The long pepper finish is unique, with lion’s mane mushroom, lending earthy undertones.

Morgan McLachlan. Tiffany Chan

Lynn was eager to work with McLachlan. “Morgan appreciates the distilling tradition but considers herself a punk rock distiller, experimenting with any and all local agriculture,” he says.

“Developing a gin that was at once terroir-driven and botanically complex yet versatile in its cocktail application was a fantastic creative challenge,” says McLachlan.

Next up for Amass is a Copenhagen vodka. So far, Lynn has been tight-lipped about the product and its release date but says that the collaboration will be just as unique as the one for the dry gin.