Inspired by an insightful hike through Joshua Tree National Park, Joshua Tree Distilling Company was founded with the hope of creating exceptional beverages that mirror the equally exceptional desert landscape in which they are crafted. The idea to open a craft distillery goes back to 2010, when surrounded by exciting new craft beers and coffees, we were disappointed by dull spirit options.
It took nearly 10 years to make the idea a reality, but we learned a lot during that time. We've had roots in the Morongo basin for years, and Joshua Tree, with its miles of fresh California Juniper, sagebrush, pinyon, wildflowers, and incredible local culture, seemed like it would make a perfect home for our dream come true. Joshua Tree Distilling Company is excited to provide exceptional natural products that highlight an environment we love to the world, and we're equally excited to build a space and a home right here in town that the community can feel proud to enjoy and support. We're here to raise your spirits.
As long-time residents of the Morongo Basin and frequent visitors to Joshua Tree National Park, we want to share the desert that we love with the world, and also help protect its fragile resources. Some of the slowest growing and most unusual flora are endemic to our local wilderness. Unfortunately, these incredible ecosystems are threatened by our changing climate, and put under increasing pressure by human activities. Joshua Tree National Park—a mere two-hour drive from the second largest metropolitan area in the United States—is also a designated Dark-Sky Place by the International Dark Sky Association (IDA), providing “an exceptional or distinguished quality of starry nights”. We believe that these natural resources deserve preservation, which is why we’ve committed to donating 5% of profits from our Dark Sky Gin to the IDA. We look forward to making additional contributions to other local conservation organizations, including the Mojave Desert Land Trust and the Morongo Basin Conservation Association as we continue to grow.
We love the desert's serene and wild landscape as much as we love the local culture that landscape has cultivated. For decades, the Mojave Desert has provided an oasis beyond urban constraints, nurturing a Bohemian way of life and fertilizing exceptional artistic expression. We are excited to work with local artists, artisans, and organizations as we grow our brand. Our natural and human landscape is incomparable to any other on Earth, and we’re excited to contribute to that landscape by providing exceptional sprits and craft beverages. We look forward to using local ingredients in our products when possible, highlighting local aromas and flavors, and providing a space for locals and visitors alike to meet and share an appreciation for Joshua Tree.
Paul Chakalian, PhD, Founder & CEO
As a lifelong lover of Joshua Tree and craft beverages, Paul founded Joshua Tree Distilling Company with a dream of providing unique craft products in a rarified landscape. He hopes that the Distilling Company grows to provide a place for the community to come together to share their stories, ideas, and visions, and a place for visitors to gain a deeper appreciation for what this valley has to offer.
Paul has a diverse background in both the private and public sector. Throughout his career, he has been responsible for leading customer and community outreach efforts and has designed and managed several sales campaigns and research projects. Through this work, Paul gained extensive experience fundraising, and worked closely with private businesses, nonprofits, and governments to achieve organizational goals and implement best practices for monitoring and evaluating project outcomes. He has an extensive communications background, writing for and managing several professional journals, websites, and newsletters. While he has never broken any laws, he has been a moonshining hobbyist since 2010.
Director of Non-Alcoholic Beverage Production
Keith has been making craft food and beverages for most his life and has nearly a decade in cumulative professional food service experience. His passion for making craft drinks comes from his sincere desire to push conventional boundaries that can’t be satisfied with traditional beverage options. Keith first made craft soda in his Seattle apartment using DIY fermentation methods and some highly experiential flavor profiles. Now, Keith brings his passion and experience to Joshua Tree Distilling Company to help craft one-of-a-kind non-alcoholic beverages that make for excellent cocktail mixers and refreshing standalone drinks. When Keith isn’t experimenting in the kitchen, he spends his time playing and performing his own music and working as a broadcast audio engineer. Keith holds a bachelor’s in arts from the Evergreen State College where he graduated in 2017.
Doug was the Co-Founder and Chief Sales Officer at Midnight Madness Distilling (now Theobald & Oppenheimer) and is currently the Director of Product at Surefront. Doug holds a B.S. in Economics and Statistics from Carnegie Mellon Univeristy and has extensive experience in sales, marketing, and product development. He is excited to be helping establish Joshua Tree Distilling Company by bringing his years of expertise to the team.
Sales and Operations Advisor
Food and Business Advisor
Ralph Chakalian has had a home in the Morongo Basin since 2005, where he has grown deep roots and an even deeper fondness for its local culture and environment. Ralph believes in the vision of Joshua Tree Distilling Company and is excited to see that vision come to life. Ralph has owned and managed Alexandria II Bookstore, in Pasadena, CA since 1985, through which he has gained invaluable experience in business management and customer and community engagement. In addition to his retail experience, in 2012, Ralph co-founded Novo Café in Burbank, CA, which he helped build into a highly successful café and restaurant. Ralph sold his ownership stake in Novo Café for a profit in 2017, turning his attention toward ongoing residential real estate development in Yucca Valley, CA, where he is looking forward to spending more of his time. Ralph brings all of this expertise to bear as an advisor to Joshua Tree Distilling Company.
With 17 years of experience in multimedia design, Sara has a keen eye for detail and an award-winning ability to bring new ideas to life. After working for agencies of all shapes and sizes, she co-founded Hustle Creative in 2014 to offer a more cost-effective option for brands looking to execute animation and interactive projects without bloated agency overhead. Since then, Sara has collaborated with large and small clients across industries, including recognizable brands like Coca-Cola, Lowes, Charles Schwab, and Getty Images. Sara also has experience working in the alcohol sector, previously doing work for Gran Gala, Corazon Tequila, Cayman Jack, and Glass Mountain Wines. Sara loves wild desert landscapes and beautiful night skies and was thrilled to come on board as the design director for Joshua Tree Distilling Company!