Our Story

Doc Pepe's Lab started in a 10'x10' room, upstairs above the Carmel Bakery, where the first batches of barrel-aged cocktails were prepared in five gallon charred oak barrels.


At the time, Christian "Doc" Pepe was managing the bar program at Vesuvio Restaurant in downtown Carmel, California. The cocktails he prepared were not only unique and delicious, they allowed for speedy service since they were poured straight from the bottle to the glass. At first, only two cocktails were offered at the bar, the Manhattan and the Negroni. These cocktails contain only spirits, which lend them naturally towards barrel-aging. Then one day soon after, a customer inquired whether or not it would be possible to prepare a barrel-aged Old Fashioned. Seeing this as an interesting challenge, Christian set out to create what he believed to be the first ever bottled Old Fashioned. After weeks of experimentation, a recipe was created, and the resulting cocktail was soon outselling every other bottle on the bar, save for well vodka.


The cocktails were originally poured from glass wine bottles labeled with permanent marker, and were kept for the most part out of sight, since there wasn't any room on the back bar for them. Wanting to better showcase the bottles for customers, Christian and his team developed the first packaging concept for Doc Pepe's Lab. During a winter cleaning session, fellow bar steward Jay Wallace suggested placing the bottles front and center on the bar, where the vodka was normally placed. "People don't need to see the vodka." he said, "They know it's there." The following weekend, the bottles were placed on back bar at Vesuvio, and there was no turning back.


"People who saw the bottles for the first time, initially just wanted to know what they were." says Christian. "They had never seen anything like that before, a fancy cocktail in a bottle, it was a real conversation starter. People wanted to buy them off the shelf, half empty." Of course, according to California beverage law, the cocktails could only be served by the glass at Vesuvio, and nowhere else. "It took some time, but we eventually completed the necessary steps to become a real product."


Fast forward to today, and the cocktails at Doc Pepe's Lab are blended in 55 gallon barrels, instead of the 5 gallon baby barrels of old. The lab outgrew itself and moved over the hill to Monterey, California, but the bottles at Vesuvio remain in their original locations, front and center on the back bar. Our cocktails are still prepared according to the original recipes, first written on the back of a paper plate in a tiny room above an old bakery.


We hope you enjoy what we have created!

Contact Us


For questions, comments, product placement information, or anything you wish to share with us, please email the following individuals directly.

Christian Pepe

Founder & Chief Liquid Architect



Michael Davi

Marketing & PR Director



Doc Pepe's Lab™ Single Barrel Cocktails™,

Doc Pepe's Lab™ Cuvee Reserve Barrel™, 30-39% Alc./Vol.

©2016 Doc Pepe's Lab, LLC. Monterey, CA.