Master Distiller Massimiliano Stecca surveyed the crowd at Broken Spirits Distillery that filled the new establishment and gathered on the sidewalk to help celebrate its grand opening. “This is a 10-year passion project,” he said. “It’s surreal to see this happening after thinking about it for all these years, but it feels like the universe has our back.” 

Stecca and fellow Broken Spirits owners Josh Bentrem, Russel Lee, Dominic Espinoza and brothers Isaias and Juan Hernandez had many good reasons to celebrate on Friday, May 31: Their brand-new staff was functioning like a well-oiled machine, happy people were loving the grain-to-glass spirits and richly appetizing food, and, right on cue, the sun broke through the clouds as Mayor Rex Richardson and First District Councilwoman Mary Zendejas made speeches, presented Stecca and the Broken Spirits team with Certificates of Recognition, then cheered along with the audience (which included representatives from the offices of state and national lawmakers) and staff as Stecca cut the big red ribbon. 

James Ahumada, the Downtown Long Beach Alliance’s Senior Vice President and Deputy CEO, introduced Mayor Richardson, noting that the relatively-new Mayor has been extremely supportive of the small business community and is a champion for Downtown. The Mayor praised the fantastic turnout, and told Max and his crew that “I think Broken Spirits will make a real impact. We’re going to support you and we wish you many, many more years of success.” 

Stecca spearheads an ownership team that has pooled decades of experience to create an environment that has only existed for a handful of days but feels like it’s been there forever. “We’re a team of passionate, hard-working individuals who have been in the restaurant industry from age 16 on,” Stecca said. “Many of us were General Managers and part of leadership at other high-volume bars in Long Beach.” 

Lots of tattooed forearms were on display as bartenders created spirit-infused concoctions and servers walked by carrying enticing platters of what Stecca described as “Texas-style smokehouse comfort food, with some Asian Fusion twists! The beauty of owning your own menu concept is that no one is going to tell you no.” 

General Manager Dominic Espinoza expounded on the growing appeal of distilleries: “There’s something to be said about the way breweries took over 10 years ago. You could go somewhere to have a 100% grain-to-glass experience. People started having an appreciation of things house-brewed instead of the major domestic labels. We’re starting to see the same thing on the spirits level as well.” 

Co-owner Isaias Hernandez gave a heartfelt speech after the ribbon cutting, speaking on behalf of the entire team about the shared idea of Broken Spirits Distillery being a gift to the Downtown community. “We are blessed to have given jobs to 61 Long Beach residents,” he added, receiving a hearty round of applause. 

For detailed looks at the Broken Spirits food and drink menus — and to become a Broken Spirits VIP — click here! Support this new Downtown spot. As Councilwoman Zendejas said during her speech, “Broken Spirits is an asset for the First District and we are fortunate to have this new business in our community. We’re wishing Broken Spirits Distillery never-ending success!” 

Broken Spirits Distillery is located at 300 The Promenade N. For more information, visit the website here.