Inside the Story: Reno family celebrates the season with locally-brewed eggnog
It's that time of year where friends and family raise their glasses and toast to the holiday season.
Many of those glasses will be filled with a local family's eggnog that has been spreading holiday cheer here for generations.
It's the Francovich Holiday Nog, a secret recipe with a history as rich as the nog itself.
“It opened in 1870 and closed in 1957, so it operated for 87 years in downtown Reno,” says Sam Francovich.
The nog's beginnings date all the way back to the birth of Reno.
It was first made in the Winehouse restaurant back in the 1870s. “They didn't do it for commercial gain; they just did it as a giveaway,” explains Sam.
And that's how it was for decades, until about 18 years ago, when the Francovich family decided to bottle it up and sell it.
“It's a huge undertaking, and we work very hard, but we love it. It's still a family run business,” says Sam’s daughter Marissa.
Sam Francovich, who family members say is the quarterback of the operation, remembers the early days of their venture.
“They allowed us to bottle it in our restaurant, and then we would put it in shopping carts and push it over to Scolari's, and Scolari's would sell it for us.”
Nowadays, their operation is much more advanced and streamlined, but come bottling day, they go old-school.
They Gather around the conveyor as a family about six times a season, putting the final touches on their trademark drink.
Family friend and fellow nog-maker Simon Brown explains the process best: “It gets the families together gathering around for the holidays, and they've also turned it into a nice small business. So it has a real warm feeling to it.”
Perfect for the holidays, but as the company quarterback says, when it comes to eggnog, it's got a short shelf life.
“You can't give it away after New Year's,” explains Sam. "It's a Christmas drink, a holiday drink and after that, they don't want anything to do with it!”