SONO 1420, Small Batch Distillery Featuring Hemp Distilled Spirits, Opens in South Norwalk

Kristin L. Wolfe

It was a vote of 14 to 20.

One hundred years ago in 1919 Connecticut State Senate couldn’t ratify the 18th Amendment which made Connecticut one of two states at the time to defeat prohibition. 

It was a real moment in history, and now a real moment for SONO 1420, the revolutionary new distillery in South Norwalk making waves in the world of spirits. As far as everyone knows, they are THE only distillery around using hemp seed in its remarkable mash for whiskey as well as other parts of the plant for its flavorful and aromatic essence in gins, bourbons, and ryes.


Owner Ted Dumbauld kinda sorta stumbled into this business. He is well-versed in the world of business, however. With a degree from the Naval Academy, an MBA from MIT and years under his belt as a Wall Street trader, he’s on top of logistics, mechanics, and what it takes to succeed. After a stint as the CEO for Curaleaf, one of CT’s four medical marijuana growers, he knew the landscape of the plant was moving beyond the stigmas attached to recreational use. With so many opportunities abound and a hankering for a really great bourbon, SONO 1420 has launched. And, at the helm with Dumbauld is his business partner Ami-Lynn Bakshi; together, they are taking advantage of the times to create some downright delicious spirits.

Photo: Andrew Dominick

Photo: Andrew Dominick

The bottles are robust, bold statements representing the party of deliciousness going on inside. On the one hand, resembling large, fancy perfume bottles, on the other they appear like massive hunks of ice; SONO’s design efforts are not shy. They will call attention to themselves on any shelf or bar. And, with flavors coming from terpenes (contained in the essential oils of the hemp plant) and other botanicals, the medley of Sindica gins (Bangtail, SkySail, and Midnight) have something for every palette. From mellow and floral to inyourface strength, one of these will suit your fancy. As a sucker for French 75s, I was floored by the amount of flavor the SkySail offered, even in a small, classic 60z champagne glass. It was refreshing, with a citrus crisp tang. My fella had the “This isn’t Moscow” Bourbon Mule and it would turn anyone into a bourbon drinker. Often the potency of ginger overpowers everything it is meant to play with, but not in the case of SONO’s bourbon. It stood up and gave a salute!

Photo: Andrew Dominick

Photo: Andrew Dominick

Wait until you see the location. Leather chairs, rich, deep dark hues, and barrels galore. It’s a sprawling, wide open space begging for a party. The staff in the tasting room is knowledgeable and friendly and know they are a part of a creative new movement. Take a tour of the space and just see how the distilling works; you’ll see a portion of the indoor herb and botanical garden used to experiment with and infuse their boozish with compelling new flavor combinations. We got to try a bite of a “buzz button” or sometimes called a “Sichuan button” from Brazil that starts out mellow on your tongue then is followed by a surprising zing.


Dumbauld is pleased with the first couple of months of business. “It's been a good start - we're seeing more and more people from farther and farther away come and visit us. Plus, we are getting traction with several restaurants in the area along with some of the local package stores.”

Photo: Andrew Dominick

Photo: Andrew Dominick

What’s Happening Now

As the sunshine slowly but surely peeps out, Dumbauld says they want to take advantage of the outdoor space and invite food trucks to the space, given their massive potential to bring people to a space let alone be the perfect compliment to great drinks.

SONO 1420 is also now bourbon-barrel-aging some maple syrup, so we should look for that product in the near future. YUM, I have a pack of bacon just waiting to be dunked.

Hmm, what’s that? You’re noticing today is 4/20. Time to celebrate!

Not only is it 4/20, but it is the day SONO 1420 kicks off with a slew of CBD Mocktails….And, if it can’t get any more interesting, it is also the owner’s daughter’s birthday…

Tasting Room Hours

Sat 12 - 6

Sun 12 - 6

SONO 1420 Distillery
203 635-2100

19 Day Street

South Norwalk, CT USA 06854