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Fall 2012

Not a fish Tale: The true story of Dry Fly’s Beginning

Building your success with a bold brand Distilling a retirement plan: One couple’s New venture


Table of Contents A Letter From OuR Founders

6

Never Too Late: the Story of the Hardware Distillery Co.

8

When a Plan Comes Together: The Story of Coppersea Distilling

10

A Beautiful Mistake

12

Two Guys Walk Out of An Office

14

Grain to Glass

21

Be Bold, Be Different

23

Black Swan Cooperage, LLC: A Family Affair

25

The Nose Knows

28

The Resurgence of Craft Distilling

30

Great American Distillers Festival 2012

34

14 25 34


learn the

Nuts & Bolts of distilling

All online. Real world educators. Pay only for what you want to learn. 12 modular courses, covering all aspects of starting and operating an artisan distillery. As low as $29 per class!

www.distilleryuniversity.com


Volume 1 Issue 1 Fall 2012

Editor

Brian Christensen

Publisher

Rockwell Rutter

Creative Director

Amanda Joy Christensen

Photographers

Amanda Joy Christensen Dawn Hanson



Contributors

  

Sales & Marketing

Michael Kinstlick George Manska Jason McCammon Scott Schiller Ashley Monroe

Artisan Spirit magazine is a quarterly magazine by Artisan Craft Distilling University www.artisanspiritmag.com (509) 473-9034 703 W. 7th Ave. Suite 220 Spokane, WA 99204 All contents © 2012. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced without the written consent of the publisher. Neither Artisan Craft Distilling University nor Artisan Spirit magazine assume responsibility for errors in content, photos or advertisements. At Artisan Spirit, we take the opportunity to enjoy many different craft spirits and adult beverages. However, it’s also our responsibility, and yours, to always drink responsibly. Know your limit, and never drink and drive. Artisan Spirit’s number one goal is to share and celebrate the art and science of Artisan Craft Distilling. But please remember to follow all the laws, regulations, and safety procedures. Be safe, be legal and we can all be proud of the industry we love.


A Letter From Our Founders:

What

the hell Rockwell Rutter & BRian Christensen visiting Wishkah River Distillery

You know what we’re talking about — that ice cold feeling that creeps up on you in the middle of the

are We Doing?

by helping other startups and enthusiasts begin to connect the dots. So how DO you connect the dots? How do you go from late-night internet research to filling out TTB paperwork and assembling

night, stirring you awake after an evening spent doing “research” your still? While researching and talking with countless distillers (i.e. tasting competitors’ spirits while scouring the internet). It and enthusiasts we’ve found it boils down to three key elements: starts with the best of intentions, a dream of how cool it would

Community, Patience and Education.

be to make our own spirits. Then it hits, you realize you know

Community: the craft distilling industry is still so small that

nothing about TTB licensing, or what a mash bill is, or even how

it’s actually better to have competition than to be a monopoly.

much hard work is in-front of you. “What the hell are we doing?” Every bottle a customer sees on the shelf entices them to try You’ve decided to pour your life savings and your foreseeable something new, to broaden their horizons and expand their palate. future into creating the best spirits that can fit into a bottle. It’s like going to an ice cream shop and seeing the 31 flavors. You’re not alone. The same thing can be said of hundreds of With only a handful of flavors, a customer is going to get bored other distilling professionals across the country. In 2000, there

with tasting the same old thing over and over again. The more

were just 24 operating craft distilleries in the United States; by

flavors there are, the more frequently they return looking for the

2011, that number has grown to 234 (with many others likely

next great taste they can share with their friends. Don’t be afraid

operating “off the radar”).

to help out your neighboring distiller - whether it’s brainstorming

We found ourselves in the same position when we decided that marketing ideas or going in together on a shipment of grain, the distilling would be right up our alley. Once we hit this moment relationships you’ll build can one day save you. of realization a second, scarier reality set in. There were very few

Patience: if you don’t consider yourself to be a patient person,

sources of quality distilling education, information, or training. that’s one quality you should work on as you move forward with How were we going to learn this stuff? That second question set your distillery. Everything about making spirits requires patience, in motion our desire to fill a role within the distilling community

from the Herculean task of working with the various government

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agencies to simply waiting for your still to produce your latest recipe. Don’t get discouraged - good things come to those who wait.

Education: as one of our mentors and educators likes to say “Distilling is about 25% art and 75% science.” The art you can enjoy, but the science needs to be exact. Quality education is one of the hardest resources to get a hold of, but it’s also the most important. We will provide news and information on the most successful workshops, online classes, and highlight a network of experienced educators around the country. You will learn everything from marketing and business planning to fermentation and distillery layouts. That’s what this publication is all about. These pages will be filled with inspiring stories from distilleries, industry information, spotlights on vendors and distributors, new entrants in the market, and anything else that might give our readers a helping hand. We’re all excited to be starting this new journey alongside you. Together, we can build an industry we will all be proud of.

If you have suggestions on how Artisan Spirit can serve you better, or if you would like to become a contributor please visit us at www.artisanspiritmag.com or call (509) 473-9034.

Howsweetest Sweet it is . . . Crafting the

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www.ArtisanSpiritmag.com 7


Never Too Late

w

the Story of the Hardware Distillery Co.

Written By Rockwell Rutter Photography by Amanda Joy Christensen

hat do two sexagenarians do when they’ve got a passion for fine spirits and time on their hands? The only thing you can do:

start their own artisan distillery. Husband and wife team Chuck and Jan Morris first began toying with the idea of hand-crafted alcohol when they helped their son Cody start his own craft brewery, Epic Ales. Jan, an attorney with 25 years of experience, began taking classes to help her son navigate the tumultuous waters of licensing, distribution and other complicated aspects of the business. Meanwhile Chuck, a long-time structural engineer, began putting his talents to work in bringing the brewery facility up to code and outfitting it with the proper equipment. Five years later, what began as a family effort has become a successful contributor to the craft brew world. In the meantime, Chuck and Jan were getting restless; when Jan got laid-off from her position as an attorney, she set about finding the next addition to her already diverse skill set. When advised that she look to past experiences to help guide her, the family convened again and began discussing how a distillery could complement Cody’s thriving Epic Ales brewery. The consummate researchers, Chuck and Jan soon found that a nearby community college was holding week-long workshops in the art, science and business of artisan distilling. They signed up, took the course and the decision was made: the Morris’

make unusual demands like, “Barrels must be stored on

would be distillers.

end, not on their sides.” Chuck, though, knew better. Using

The local workshops provided them with a great resource

the knowledge of building codes he learned as a structural

of practical information. The education they gathered

engineer, he was able to cut through some of the red tape

became the bedrock for them to grow their dreams as a

and move forward. Similarly, various government offices

business. They also made friends with fellow distillers,

have gotten involved regarding the installation of a costly

and received the encouragement and support needed to

fire sprinkler system. Even though the distillery is the only

propel them forward at a breakneck pace.

business in Hoodsport, WA to have one, correspondence with

Soon after embarking on this journey, however, Chuck

government officials has taken weeks, sometimes months.

and Jan found themselves met with opposition from

How does a husband and wife team like the Morris’ stay

almost every angle. By being the first applicant for a

motivated when it seems like there’s no light at the end of the

distiller’s license in Mason County, WA, building officials

tunnel? According to Jan, “We’re generally not discouraged at

didn’t quite know what to do with them. They would

the same time. When things get tough, we’ve learned to lift

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each other’s spirits and keep going.” Both of them remark on

citrus forward, and is intended to be enjoyed with crab and other

how valuable the support from family and friends has been. In

foods that go well with a citrus note. Plans are in the works for

addition, the Morris’ have found a tremendous resource in their

brandy and eau-de-vie to be distilled from local fruits. Many of

Hoodsport neighbors. “The outpouring of support from the town

them will be made from local honey.

of Hoodsport has been incredible,” says Chuck. “Everyone who

And the finishing touch on their extensive spirit portfolio?

has had to work with the building department has had nothing

Whiskey of course, a whiskey with a Northwest sensibility. It will

but sympathy.” Most of all though, the crystal clear vision they

have an alder smoke flavor. They hope to work with the Hama

both hold of finally being able to open for business is what keeps

Hama Oyster Co. to smoke the barley. The whiskey will be aged

them motivated. Chuck and Jan have learned to retain their

in the basement of The Hardware Distillery Co., which opens up

passion for fine spirits, even in the face of heavy adversity. Almost everything about distilling excites Jan and Chuck.

to the Hood Canal, so that the whiskey can breathe the salt air as it ages.

Maybe they are easily excitable, or maybe they have finally

The Hardware Distillery Co., and the Morris’ are ready to

arrived at a career that will satisfy their talents and interests.

open. They are just one certificate of occupancy and sprinkler

Jan’s love of the industry and products are evident when she

system approval away from starting their dream job. They have

says “A craft distiller’s license gives rise to creativity, because

no illusions that life will get much easier from there, but they are

the distiller is rewarded for using Washington State products

eager to meet the challenges ahead. When asked what advice

to make spirits. The variety of produce available in Washington

they have for other dreamers deciding to enter the craft distilling

State is amazing. There is no end to the possibilities for new

industry, they keep it short and simple, “Expect the unexpected,

types of spirit or for the re-invention of old favorites.”

both good and bad.”

Chuck and Jan also hold lofty ambitions for the variety of quality spirit they envision brining to life. Jan loves gin, so she is working on ideas for gins to be paired with the seafood bounty of the Hood Canal. There will be a Crabby Ginny, which will be

The Hardware Distillery Co. is located in Hoodsport, WA. For more information visit www.thehardwaredistillery.com or call (206) 300-0877.

Artisan Stills for Artisan Distillers Still Design and Manufacture Steven Cage steven@artisanstilldesign.com 403-795-0602

Import and Distribution Neil Robinson neil@artisanstilldesign.com General Inquiries Amanda Robinson amanda@artisanstilldesign.com

Area Representative Indiana & surrounding states Eric Stauffer eric@artisanstilldesign.com 317-426-6005

Area Representative South Carolina & surrounding states Robert Redmond robert@artisanstilldesign.com 864-320-4803

www.ArtisanSpiritmag.com 9


e

veryone is used to hearing the

Coppersea intends to become America’s

stories of the would-be distillers

premier heritage method distillery. But

overcoming impossible odds and

what are “heritage methods?” When

obstacles in the pursuit of their dream. This is a different kind of story - while Coppersea has had their own set of trials and tribulations, they were also lucky enough to have Lady Luck smile on them

When a Plan Comes

Together

asked, Kinstlick explains, “We are deeply committed to making spirits as closely as possible the way they were made for generations on farms and in villages across frontier America; using local ingredients and water, fermenting mashes

with a whole list of good fortune. Coppersea Distilling resides in the

in wood tanks and barrels, and distilling

sleepy hamlet of West Park, NY, in the

in simple, direct-fired pot stills.” With

beautiful Hudson Valley about 75 miles

America’s renewed interest in authentic,

north of New York City. Angus MacDonald, Master

Distiller,

conceptualized

the

idea in the mid-2000s. When Michael Kinstlick,

CEO,

joined

him

several

years later, Coppersea became a reality. The company formally began operating

the

Story

of

Coppersea D i s t i l l i n g

Authority licenses in mid-2012.

recipe for success. Their facility, on a bluff on the West side of the Hudson River, began life as a print shop of the nearby Holy Cross Monastery. Staying true to their vision of using heritage methodology in production,

in 2011, and began production after obtaining its Federal and NY State Liquor

time-tested methods, this sounds like a

Written By Rockwell Rutter Photos provided by coppersea distilling

an 80,000-gallon cistern was installed directly uphill from the distillery house.

10 www.ArtisanSpiritmag.com


This unique (and some would say lucky) setup allows Coppersea fruits, and with expansion plans on the horizon, these same local to gravity-feed water directly to their fermenters and stills. Why farmers will be tapped to grow specific varietals for Coppersea. all the extra hassle? “The advantage of gravity-feeding is that our This commitment to local sourcing extends even beyond the mash will never pass through an impeller pump, which pulverizes production cycle; used mash is turned into animal feed, further and macerates the grain,” says Kinstlick. “Our wood fermentation supporting the local agricultural community. tank sits in our production loft, where ‘downhill’ means into the

Coppersea’s product line is as diverse as it is community-

stills, and our stills are on hydraulic lifts to enable easy loading minded; their focus is on whiskeys of local grains such as rye, and unloading.”

corn, and barley, and eaux-de-vie from seasonal fruits such as

The current Coppersea workhorses are two 100-Gallon Hoga peaches, plums, and pears. A strong emphasis will be placed stills from Portugal, each with a simple cap top and worm on the bounty of Hudson Valley agriculture and feature unique condenser. Their belief is that by using direct-fired pot stills, expressions of spirits from the produce of individual farms with they’re allowed more control over the pacing of each run than the their signature “Single-Farm Sourced” line. highly-engineered column variety much in vogue today, resulting

Coppersea Distilling is the poster child of what can be

in spirits with deeper flavor and more essence of the source. accomplished through clever sourcing techniques and an With yet another stroke of luck, Coppersea managed to procure a awareness of market needs. Many of you have already read their limited supply of used wine barrels, most of are used for aging. famous industry report, “The U.S. Craft Distilling Market: 2011 Others are transformed into fermentation tanks of local fruits, and Beyond,” which can be found on the Artisan Spirit Magazine while a larger tank will soon serve for grain runs.

website (artisanspiritmag.com). Follow their model, and you just

In addition to their closely-held belief in heritage methods, might find your luck changing, too. Coppersea also stands by their commitment to using only the best ingredients available in creating their products. MacDonald Coppersea Distilling is located in West Park, NY. For more information works closely with local farmers to source their needed grains and visit www.coppersea.com or call (845) 444-1044.

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www.ArtisanSpiritmag.com 11


AbeautifulMistake Sometimes a mistake can end up changing the world. Christopher win. These glasses have problems which are catching up to them Columbus, the Post-It Note, and now: NEAT glass. Invented rapidly as we educate the experts on what actually occurs when during a glassblowing class error in 2003, the NEAT glass uses nosing. NEAT dispels myths and solves these problems. NEAT is a complex mix of technology and art to make one of the most the shape of flavor. interesting advances in drinking technology since the mini-flask. ASM: What are your barriers to entry/how are you overcoming Artisan Spirit Magazine recently sat down with George Manska, them? CEO of Arsilica, Inc. and asked him to explain a little more about the NEAT glass and his company.

GM: There are two major barriers to any new invention, and both apply to NEAT. The first barrier is those who desperately cling

Artisan Spirit Magazine: Can you give us some insight into Arsilica to tradition, resist change, and believe there is no reason to and where it all started? change. We overcome this by traveling to shows and conventions George Manska: NEAT is the result of a glassblowing class demonstrating the differences. The second is education, and mistake in 2003. We engineered and perfected the dimensions many people simply don’t want to be reeducated in scientific and shape using GCMS, science, and extensive panel evaluations detail. We explain NEAT in layman’s terms so minds aren’t over the next 8 years. In 2012 we formed Arsilica, Inc., a Nevada boggled by physics and chemistry, and most can quickly get the C corp. We are located in Las Vegas, NV.

logic.

ASM: What sets you and your products apart from competition?

ASM: What keeps you motivated?

GM: We don’t view other glasses as competition since they GM: When we do a comparison, the standard response is a wide are design patented only without functional claims. NEAT is eyed look and WOW! That is plenty of motivation. We know scientific and functional, and science knows no competition. exactly how to use science to provide the maximum enjoyment Design patents relate to eye appeal, and experts had to develop from spirits. As we educate people, they show their friends, and techniques to coax aromas from the pretty shapes. Those NEAT is on its way to become the chosen glass in the not-sodistant-future. Our functional glassware will soon be available for all spirits. We really are changing the way the world drinks, and that is one of our tag lines. That’s huge motivation for us.

ASM: What about the craft distilling industry excites you the most? GM: We are both pioneers searching for truth. Craft distillers are passionate about their craft. So are we. Craft distillers are willing to try something different. So are we. Craft distillers understand the importance of producing great product, and so do we. Since NEAT showcases all the subtle aromas, it has to become the tool of craft distillers who want to know what discerning noses will find in their product. We have a lot in common and we need each other.

ASM: What is the #1 misconception about the process of drinking a spirit? techniques perpetuated certain “myths” and distortions of fact GM: Misconception #1: Alcohol aroma is acceptable. Spirits that now run rampant among most experts, some who discount drinkers adapted to alcohol odor and never questioned the scientific aspects. Eventually, science, truth, and function convergent rim glassware because no other way existed before

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NEAT. Alcohol numbs, that’s why the nurse rubs it on your arm (but always American made), and that will happen when the when you get a shot. Studies prove alcohol anesthetizes, numbs, general public embraces the tremendous advantages of NEAT. and over time kills olfactory neurons, deadening the sense of We are utility patent pending USPTO, PCT. Patent approval will smell. Sense of smell degrades with age, so why hasten the determine the future expansion. Soon we will be releasing more process unnecessarily? The shape of NEAT actually separates products which play major roles in changing the way the world the ethanol and drives it away from the nose, opening up a new drinks. perception and intensity of aroma. We love to ask “What’s hiding ASM: What advice do you have for other professionals in the craft in your glass?” Approximately 87% of NEAT users love the lack distilling industry? of alcohol odor and claim more intense perceptions from spirits, and 13% think spirits should smell like alcohol.

GM: Don’t believe everything you hear as truth until you determine relevancy to your inner beliefs; and before you trash a mistake,

ASM: In what ways do you strive to best serve the craft distilling ask yourself if it has another use. That wisdom changed my life industry and their fans? forever.

GM: We serve the industry by educating the public, and giving ASM: Thank you for your time, George. them a choice. Traditional glassware shortchanges the benefits of It’s innovative companies like Arsilica that will continue to well-made spirits to the consumer. Also, NEAT is an indispensable drive industry growth and expansion. Next time you’ve made a quality control tool, shortens blending times, improves blending mistake, whether it’s a distilling run gone bad or simply not what accuracy, intensifies subtler aromas, and helps the distiller you expected, take a page out of the NEAT glass book and ask, make a better product. Using NEAT in the distiller tasting rooms “What else could this be?” results in instant sales. NEAT opens new markets to women and sensitive noses repulsed by the whiff of strong alcohol. Chefs

George Manska, CEO of Arsilica, Inc and co-inventor of the NEAT glass. For more information visit www.theneatglass.com or call can detect the subtle seasonings while drinking straight spirits. (702) 332-7163. pair more dinners with NEAT spirits because the diner’s nose Tobacco aficionados swear by NEAT spirits pairings. All these

things are good for the craft industry, and distillers need to embrace us as their “go to” glass because we drive sales and complement each other.

ASM: What are your favorite craft spirits? GM: NEAT has completely opened our eyes at Arsilica, Inc, and we try everything. What NEAT does to old rums is phenomenal. Absinthe and Grand Marnier have never been so enjoyable. Women can drink aged tequilas without whiplash and nose burn. We now appreciate all spirits because flavors intensify without ethanol on the nose. Everyone we know uses NEAT to explore and broaden their perspectives. We are still so intrigued by the change that we are too busy exploring to pick favorites. It’s just different now. What we choose now seems to depend on our mood.

ASM: What are your growth plans?

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GM: Short term, we are establishing ourselves among distillers, industry critics, experts, and judging panels for spirits competitions and tasting events. They have the most to gain by using NEAT over non-functional glassware. Our product is American handmade, mouth-blown lead-free Chrystalyn. As

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www.ArtisanSpiritmag.com 13


Two Guys Walk Out Of An Office 14窶『ww.ArtisanSpiritmag.com


Written By Rockwell Rutter Photographs By Amanda Joy Christensen www.ArtisanSpiritmag.com†15


i

f you think starting a distillery in today’s

They’ve become the poster child for successful artisan

world takes more than a leap of faith,

distilleries in the U.S. It seems like they can’t fall down without

imagine what it was like 5 years ago. Back

coming out with a great new product, an inspiring marketing

then, most government agencies in the state

campaign or some new way of moving the industry forward.

of Washington hadn’t even heard the words

They’re responsible for changing the legal landscape regarding

“artisan distillery,” there were no examples

distillation in their home state of Washington, which has

to follow, and getting an investor was next

opened the door for dozens of newcomers to try their hand.

to impossible. Now imagine trading your

Add in numerous awards for their products and packaging, and

lifelong career, your 401k and your security

it’s easy to see why when these guys talk, the industry listens.

in exchange for the chance to live your dream. If that’s not

Don Poffenroth and Kent Fleischman, both seasoned veterans

enough, now imagine that you got it right — dead right — on

of the corporate marketing world, are responsible for Dry Fly’s

your first try. Sound impossible? Not for Spokane, Washington’s

meteoric success. The story begins, as it often does, amidst the

Dry Fly Distilling.

daily grind of corporate America.

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Don was the Director of Marketing for a $600M food company, and was rapidly approaching burnout. Like many people working for large companies, he was quickly becoming fed up with the endless meetings and the lack of any kind of real control. In Don’s words, “I wanted to be the captain of my own destiny” To ease the pain, Don’s favorite way of entertaining clients was to take them out to his favorite fly fishing spots located in the Montana backcountry. On one of these trips in 2004, he had the good fortune of meeting Kent, another suit from Minneapolis who was also quickly becoming exhausted with the banality of corporate life. After spending a few days knee-deep in the icy waters of some little-known creek in rural Montana, their friendship was born.

“I wanted to be the captain of my own destiny.” A short time later, Don began to formulate an escape plan. Using his contacts from working with the beer industry, his original idea was to start his own microbrewery. After he studied the market and started following trends, he found that the next industry to go big would be artisan distilling. After all, whiskey is what beer wants to be when it grows up. Putting his fingers to the keyboard, Don quickly put together a rough business plan and began looking for investors. His first call? None other than Kent Fleischman, his old fishing buddy. When Kent read through the business plan, he knew right away he wanted more than just an investor’s role. “Why don’t I just quit my job, move to Spokane and we can do it together?” was his response. Just like that, their friendship had transformed into a partnership that would change the face of artisan distilling forever. Any partnership between people requires those

www.ArtisanSpiritmag.com 17


18窶『ww.ArtisanSpiritmag.com


involved to possess the same values and goals in order to be

sprung up, aiming to fill the need for low-cost, high-quality stills.

successful. If one is focused on high-volume and low-quality

According to Don, these smaller scale workarounds can get you

while the other is focused on winning awards, an inevitable

started, but don’t allow for much room for growth. In fact, there

divide will form and the relationship will soon be poisoned.

is a huge shift from bootstrapped entrepreneurial folks, pooling

Luckily, both Don and Kent knew exactly the kind of company

together their savings in hopes of selling 2,000 cases their first

they wanted to build: one founded on integrity, above all else.

year. The new face of artisan distilling is becoming more and

To them, that means always doing what they say they will do. They never wanted to be all things to all people. They didn’t want

more well-funded, sophisticated business-people who aim to produce 10,000 or more cases their first year.

to be just another brand on a shelf, proclaiming to be the “best

What does this mean for you? According to Don, “In the

bang for your buck,” or something you’d have to dilute with

distilling game, you are either going to get in and be a producer

countless mixers just to choke

or not.” Gone are the days

down. Their identity was to be

where a good-tasting product

formed on producing a high-

with clever marketing can

quality spirit, using the most

make it in the artisan big

amazing raw materials they

leagues. Today’s distillers have

could possibly get their hands

to be ready to compete with

on.

philosophy,

the products, and wallets, of

they’ve grown from two guys

their well-funded competitors.

and a still to a five employee

When Don and Kent were

With

operation

this

distributing

first starting out, there weren’t

in

really a lot of educational tools

nearly 40 states. So what’s their secret? When

available. In fact, the first time

asked, the two distillers are

Don or Kent had ever even

surprisingly frank. “Materials

used a real still was when the

and equipment are absolutely

Christian Carl’s showed up at

critical.

one

their facility. Of course, there

mistake new distillers make

are the 100 year old books

is shorting their equipment,”

you have probably already

says Don. Dry Fly uses two

read, and there is always

450L Christian Carl stills,

the possibility of traveling to

and they couldn’t be happier.

Europe to take distillation

“Christian Carl is the oldest

classes, but for many that’s

continuous still manufacturer

simply not a viable option.

The

number

in the world so they know

After getting their feet on

what they’re doing when it

the ground, Dry Fly saw yet

comes to producing quality

another opportunity to not

equipment.”

only increase revenue, but to

According

to

Don, using Christian Carl stills allowed Dry Fly to learn as they

also spread the word about Dry Fly’s philosophy. By offering

went and still end up with a fantastic product. As Don and

week-long workshops to would-be distillers, Don and Kent

Kent became more proficient with the equipment, their end-

are able to show them exactly how a proper operation should

product’s quality just kept getting better and better.

function, from farm to bottle.

Still, forking over the amount of cash required for high-end

One might think this would only create more competition in

equipment is no small task. Dry Fly spent between $600,000

the market, but in reality it allows Don and Kent to “control”

and $700,000 to get their operation going, with most of it

the new entrants to a certain extent; students are shown the

going towards equipment and marketing expenses. With artisan

right way to do things and why. Over time, Dry Fly believes

distilling on the rise, many domestic still manufacturers have

this will only cause the level of quality in the artisan distilling

www.ArtisanSpiritmag.com 19


Dry Fly’s tips to maintain an edge when entering the Distilling world: “Get in and be committed” “If you’re going to call yourself an artisan, be one” “Try to take out the romance, in your own mind; you can get blinded by that” “At the end of the day, it has to be a successful business”

industry to rise, making better products for all. So where is Dry Fly headed now? After starting out as producers of vodka and gin and slowly adding whiskey products to their lineup, their product mix is currently about a third for each. The goal, says Don, is to eventually move the split to 50% brown liquor, 50% white. In the meantime, they’re once again raising the bar of artisan spirits by offering new, one-off products like barrel-aged gin, a new kind of whiskey made from a special hybrid grain, and a host of other specialty distillates they asked us not to write about (hint: there’s port in one of them!). When asked to sum up the philosophy of Dry Fly, Don paused a moment, as if to reflect on the trials and successes he and Kent have experienced over the last few years. From cashing in their 401k’s for capital, to learning how to operate

“Control the front end and develop processes that you can repeat every day, precisely; then you will be ok”

the still with nothing more than a manual, all the way to dropping off their first shipment to the state of Washington in the back of a pickup truck, these two knew that failure was never an option and they acted accordingly. Says Don, “It’s important to live from a fairly high horse; what we do is what we say we do.”

Dry Fly Distilling is located in Spokane, WA. For more information visit www.dryflydistilling.com or call (509) 489-2112 .

20 www.ArtisanSpiritmag.com


Grain to Glass A sustainable take on producing Craft Spirits Written By Jason McCammon A movement has been around for a while now, an idea that is expanding, and now include craft distillers. Many craft distillers gaining ground in a variety of professions: Sustainability. The are now adopting a “Grain to Glass” approach, where the grain general concept of sustainability is the long-term maintenance to make their spirits is grown within a 50-100 mile radius of the of responsibility, which has environmental, economic, and social distillery, and the spirits are made with sustainability in mind. dimensions. It also encompasses the concept of stewardship, Not only does this practice keep the business “green,” it also as well as the responsible management of resources. The types promotes healthy business relationships with neighbors and the of businesses that have adopted this philosophy have been community. This promotion of community is a huge step in the

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right direction of being eco-friendly; investing back into local

the starch in grain to fermentable sugar is 1) liquefaction,

businesses, while also making excellent spirits. A question that

followed by 2) saccharification. Liquefaction frees the starch

begs answering is, how can this “grain to glass” approach be

from the grain and turns it into various smaller dextrins. Freeing

accomplished and/or why isn’t everyone following this model?

the starch is accomplished through heating to high temperatures

The literal cost of buying the grain locally could be a deciding

(175-212 F), while starch degradation is carried out by an endo-

factor for a few (more expensive), or perhaps the fact that the

alpha-amylase. The prefix endo- means “inside”, essentially this

local grain might not be of the commercial quality could affect

enzyme will break bonds at random locations on the “inside” of the

others, but it seems that the actual conversion of starch to sugar

starch molecule, which allows for a variety of smaller and larger

is the limiting factor in this approach. Starch in local grains

dextrins to be produced. Dextrins are smaller chain sugars that

needs some way to be converted into sugar. With cereal grains

vary in size from 1 to upwards of 20 chained sugars. This poses

(wheat, barley, rye) this can be accomplished through a process

a problem as yeast can only ferment small sugars, so anything

known as malting. Malting will “trick” the seeds into activating

larger than 1 or 2 connected sugar molecules is wasted. Which

their sprouting process (germination) and activating their natural

then leads us to the second step in the conversion process, or

enzymes which break down starch into sugar. The sprouting

saccharification. Saccharification is where an exoamylase, more

grain is then halted to preserve the enzyme activity through a

commonly known as a glucoamylase (or amyloglucosidase), is

heated drying process known as “kilning.” Once the grain is

introduced to break the larger sugars down into smaller sugars.

malted, this grain can be used to make spirits as it has its own

The exo- prefix lets us know that this enzyme works “outside”

diastatic power (enzyme conversion potential) so long as the

meaning it starts at one end of a chain and breaks off 1 sugar

grain is mixed with warm water and the enzymes are activated to

(glucose) at a time as it works all the way down the length of

convert starch to sugar. Malting is a long process that requires

the starch chain. Glucoamylase will eventually produce a fully

specialized machines, and strict regimes to accomplish the goal

fermentable glucose mash that minimizes waste, and can easily

of turning grain into malt. Unfortunately, this is something that

be turned into a high proof distillate.

can’t necessarily be done at home or at a distillery with limited space and resources.

There is not just one right way to accomplish sustainability, or any of the eco-friendly practices of today. This article seeks merely

Additionally, malting defeats the purpose of growing the grain

to offer a solid approach, whereby the use of industrial enzymes

locally, as the grain would have to be shipped out to get malted,

to convert the grain from a local farmer can promote community

then shipped back to get used. How then do these craft distilleries

reinvestment, and reduce the impact of transportation on the

do “grain to glass” without being right next to a maltster? They

surrounding environment. Save money, invest in the community,

usually follow another path, one of using commercial enzymes

and be sustainable through the use of enzymes in the distilling

to convert the starch of the grain into sugar for the yeast to eat.

process.

These industrial enzymes can be used to mimic the enzymes inherent to malted grain, or they can far surpass the potential of malted grain Typically the two main steps that need to be taken to convert

Jason McCammon is in Technical Sales at Specialty Enzymes and Biotechnologies. For more information visit www.specialtyenzymes.com or call (909) 613-1660.

22 www.ArtisanSpiritmag.com


A

s my mentor once defined the spirits business: “It

$50 price for a 2-year old version from a micro producer? At a

is a great business, once you make it.” As a fifth

certain point this is not a real value to the consumer.

generation distiller, I have a heartfelt respect for

So what is the answer? One of the greatest things that the

fellow entrepreneurs pursuing their passion and dream in the

emergence of micro-distilleries has brought about is that it has

distilling business. There is truly no better business. However, I

challenged the mindset of tradition. It is my opinion that it is

am genuinely concerned that there are a lot of new distilleries

vital that you create defendable positions based on things that

that will not be around after a few years, and not because there

people can care about and genuinely identify with. Creating a

are a lack of opportunities or no space for them to exist. While

truly unique combination of every variable you can control is

that may be a fair and easy assessment for any industry, I believe

vital to your success. Grain bills, flavors and flavor types are just the beginning. Branding, packaging,

the biggest reason most distilleries fail is because too many owners focus solely within the confines of the walls of the distillery. In theory, our industry is very simple thanks to the

retailer. The reality is that there is a very complicated formula for success in the spirits world. While I, too, love shiny copper, unfortunately it takes a lot more than a pretty still and a personal passion to create and sustain

a

successful

business.

encourage you to put yourself your distributor, retailers,

and,

of course, end consumers. While

you

and

I may love your story and passion, consumers need to

to which you must also Written By Scott Schiller

designate

extensive

effort to. All of this must be coupled with significant effort

Be

and

capital sales

in and

marketing activities in kind. In you put

short, should just

t n e r e f f i d

I would like to really in the shoes of

consumed are all components

Bold

three-tier system: as a distiller you make a product and sell it to a distributor who sells it to the

Be

and even how your product is

as much

thought and capital into every variable

know and get more

that will take place outside of the distillery as those inside of

than that. Variables such as your origins, why you entered the

it. Distributors are constantly bombarded on a daily basis to

business, and that you are “local”, (and a slew of others), are not

represent new products. Retailers are physically forced to pick

enough for everyone in the rest of the channel to care. You also

and choose what they will carry, and then often receive various

must provide real value to the trade. How long do we all think

incentives for choosing the ones that they do. Our dear consumers

it will be before consumers look past the cache of new entrants

are even at a greater risk, as they often do not have the time,

and start comparing the price of a 10-year old whiskey at $30

capacity, and/or interest to research and find out about you. It is

from a highly regarded, established distillery, to that of a typical

vital that you have the resources to directly communicate with

www.ArtisanSpiritmag.com 23


each member within the channel. Brands that do not leverage

For Vodka, Whiskey and Other Fine Spirits

these relationships rarely succeed. This is why we can point out beautiful esoteric products that have disappeared, and then shudder when someone orders the number one category seller in their cocktail. Make no mistake, this is rarely a coincidence. If capital cannot be adequately dedicated to both sides of the “wall”, it is much better for you to explore a contract arrangement for your production. This will allow you to still produce a product as you see fit, but also give it the opportunity to succeed. Now let me be clear that I am not suggesting smoke and

Custom built stills to suit all of your distilling needs

mirrors. I am all about authenticity. There can be nothing more damaging to the artisan movement than distillers who do not take responsibility by producing quality products or intend to mislead consumers. To some degree, all artisan producers represent each other. If a consumer ventures out from their name brand go-to in order to try an artisan version of that category, and have a bad experience, the likelihood of them trying another artisan product is greatly diminished. The same holds true if one of our colleagues misleads the consumer about their methods of production or source of ingredients. Lastly, it is just as important to be honest with yourself. This business is very tough and requires significant capital. Take the time to do it right in all of its aspects. If you rush your label design, people will see it. If you rush your formulations, people will taste it. You never want to look back in regret and wish you had made more of an effort or had a little more capital. There are simply too many other options from which consumers to choose from. Give consumers a reason to want to talk about and try your brand. Give them a reason why they cannot use anything else in its place. Have a position that it is only your brand that they can identify with. I will leave you with one simple way to start to differentiate your brand. Make a conscious effort to support American made products and companies. There is nothing more disappointing to me than when I see a brand wrapped in the American flag

German Craftsmanship at its best for over 80 years

and touting they are an “American spirit”, but then source their packaging from overseas. I fully acknowledge American made is not always an option nor worthy, and rarely the cheapest. However, this simple position already separates you significantly from lots of other offerings, and speaks to many consumers on a very personal level. As my grandfather, himself a distiller, used to say: “Buy-buy American, or it’s bye-bye America!”

Scott Schiller is a fifth generation distiller and Managing Director of Thoroughbred Brands. For more information visit www.ThoroughbredBrands.com or call (502) 533-7071.

24 www.ArtisanSpiritmag.com


Black Swan Cooperage, LLC:

A Family Affair Written By Rockwell Rutter

O

Photographs By Dawn Hanson

ne person’s dream can be another’s nightmare. For of cooperage experience and serves as head of R&D and chief example, spending each and every day surrounded by of operations. Mary Ann, Heidi’s mom, keeps the office running family members in a high-pressure environment sounds smoothly and the books balanced. Jacob, Heidi’s brother, helps

like the kind of scenario that could push someone to their wit’s as shop foreman and according to Heidi, “is the lead problem end — for the Black Swan Cooperage, LLC of Park Rapids, MN, solver.” Rebecca, Heidi’s youngest sister, who when not taking however, this is all just part of a normal day’s work; and they classes at the local high school comes in to help out wherever couldn’t be happier.

she’s needed. Even Dawn, who took the photos on this article

The Karasch family is widely known as being the producer and is Heidi’s cousin, works at the cooperage when not at her of high-quality barrels for the artisan distilling industry. At the own business, North Wood’s Photography. center of it all is Heidi (Black Swan’s owner), chief cook, barrel

If you’re like many people, reading the above paragraph

maker and also oversees the sales and marketing arm of the caused your blood pressure to rise and a cold sweat to break company. Russ, Heidi’s dad, brings to the table over 20 years out. The Karasch’s, however, find that running a family business

www.ArtisanSpiritmag.com 25


is one of their greatest strengths. “Being a family owned business definitely keeps things interesting, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. We all have our strengths and weaknesses and therefore feed off each other for encouragement, support, and a good swift kick in the butt if we should need it,” says Heidi. “We are a family first and are very lucky to all share the same goal and vision, to see this cooperage and each other succeed.” In addition to their unique organizational structure, Black Swan stands out in many other ways. For example, their guiding principle is that by being innovative, creating quality products, making strong customer ties and sharing their knowledge with the community, they feel they can provide the best service to their customers. A perfect example of their commitment to innovation is their use of a patent-pending technology called HONEY COMB® that they developed to aid in the aging process. HONEY COMB® barrels and inserts are specifically designed to help their customers get their products on the shelves faster, without foregoing quality. HONEY

COMB®

inserts

are

incredibly

diverse, as they can be used to wood age/ flavor spirits, beer and wine, and are available in 8 different wood species in addition to the traditional white oak. Offering this product in different wood species (i.e. hickory, yellow birch, cherry, and hard maple to name a few), allows for a thicker recipe book that includes new flavor profiles and the ability for their customers to differentiate themselves in the market.

craft spirits: micro-oxygenation, filtration, and sweetness from

While Black Swan is definitely on the cutting-edge of cooperage wood sugars. technology, they also stay true to time-tested methods going back

• Micro-oxygenation: allows the exact amount of oxygen spirits

hundreds of years. For example, company policy dictates that need in the maturation process. It aids in the chains forming no glue or chemicals hold a barrel together, only craftsmanship between the alcohol and wood molecules, which helps smooth and steel hoops. A stave (the narrow piece of wood that makes and mellow the spirits. up the barrel) is handled 7 times prior to being made into a

• Filtration: What is char, but pure carbon, it does a similar

barrel. It takes 1800lbs of hydraulic pressure to press down job to spirits as it does in your water filter, ie. filters out the their galvanized steel hoops. So why all this attention to detail? undesirables. Any off flavors in the distillate are filtered out by According to Heidi: “The barreling process does three main things to flavor profile

the layer of char in the barrel. • Wood sugars: The reason we toast our barrels prior to charring

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is to caramelize the woods sugars, to make them more easily extracted by the spirits, and at an accelerated pace. This process not only gives spirits at least 90% of its sweet wood character but also its color. Spirits aged in a barrel with no toasting will still be able to extract the woods sugars, but at a much, much slower rate (years).” So what’s next for the Black Swan Family? If you think they’re ready to start slowing down, think again. According to Russ, plans for the future include developing brand-new, unique products, bringing them to market and essentially moving the entire cooperage industry forward through technology. They also want to control as much of the barrel-making process as possible, truly

otable spirits deserve a cutting edge experience

making it an artisan profession. The next step in this endeavor is building their own stave mill. In the 1890’s, at 7 years, becoming a cooper was one of the longest apprenticeships in any trade. Nowadays what it takes to become a cooper is this: a desire to be a part of what some consider to be a dying craft. But if Heidi and the rest of the Karasch family have anything to say about it, we can plan on seeing this artisan profession around for a long time.

Black Swan Cooperage, LLC is located in Park Rapids, MN. For more information visit www.blackswanbarrels.com or call (218) 237-2020.

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www.ArtisanSpiritmag.com 27


w

hether

you’re

a

simply smelling the spirit, bobbing your head and saying, “Not

spirits

bad, not bad,” to the person next to you. Because of all this

veteran or a relative

mystique, numerous myths have arisen that could prevent you

seasoned

newcomer, part of properly appreciating a fine spirit involves studying the subtle

aroma

it

produces (called “nosing”). This practice is far more than

from experiencing a whole new world of spirit appreciation.

Myth #1

Adding water opens up whiskey. To “open up” wine or

whiskey means enhancing the evaporation of the alcohol in the spirit. When using tall convergent rim glasses (think short and fat) that concentrate odors at the nose, add a few water drops to cut the burn. Remember, adding water raises surface tension, and closes down ALL evaporation including alcohol. Less alcohol is mistakenly perceived as “opening up”, because there is less alcohol aroma detected after adding water. Water doesn’t “open

The Nose Knows

up” anything drinkable by humans. If you have to add water you are using the wrong glassware (unless you can’t handle the alcohol sting of straight spirits on the palate).

How to Properly Nose Your Spirits written By George Manska

Myth #2

Tulip shaped glasses are better. If you

want to smell something besides alcohol, choose something besides the tulip shape. Convergent rim glasses place all the alcohol at your nose, which can be overwhelming. A shorter glass allows you to nose close to the spirit where complex fatty acid ethyl ester aromatics lurk (the tasty stuff). Also, with a fatter glass you get a larger amount of evaporation

area,

which

means more of the spirit will be evaporating at once. Finally, choose a glass with a flared rim; this will cause the harsher alcohol vapors to dissipate before it actually hits your nose.

Myth #3

Chilled

stones or ice “smooth” a spirit. Adding chilled stones or ice decreases the

temperature

and

reduces evaporation, closing it down. If you want to know what’s in the spirit, never add ice or stones. Ice cools, melts and dilutes.

28 www.ArtisanSpiritmag.com


Stones cool, but do not melt or dilute. Have a good reason if you insist on it. The only practical use of stones is in a cool cocktail you don’t want to dilute with melted ice. If you use stones in straight spirits, you shouldn’t drink it straight.

Myth #4

March 11 - 15, 2013

Legs or “tears” in spirits or wine indicates quality,

high residual sugar or “body”. It’s all about the difference in viscosity, miscibility, and surface tension gradient between alcohol and water. Alcohol and water do not mix uniformly, and surface tension differences actually pull water away from alcohol. Legs mean absolutely nothing, and they appear in all spirits and wine regardless of quality, body, or residual sugar. There goes one of the oldest bar pick-up lines.

Myth #5

Breathe through nose and mouth at the same time

when nosing spirits. Partially true, it works well with convergent rim glassware, slightly easing whiplash and nose burn. Use a glass that dissipates alcohol so you can breathe deeply and detect more aromas without the nose burn.

Myth #6

Hand heat ruins the drink. While it does coax out

more aromas, don’t overdo it or you will detect things you wish you hadn’t. Used properly, hand heat is a valuable tool to evaluate quality and make informed buying decisions. Used indiscriminately, it ruins the drink. Most importantly, don’t forget that what you’re trying to do is have a sensory experience, not impress your friends. Sample the aromas of your favorite spirits, then branch out to some newcomers or wild cards. Don’t over-think it, or you’ll end up missing the truly intricate and complex aromas that fine spirits can offer. If nothing else, just remember: the nose knows.

George Manska, CEO of Arsilica, Inc and co-inventor of the NEAT glass. For more information visit www.theneatglass.com or call (702) 332-7163.

imagine your aD here

www.artisanspiritmag.com | (509) 473-9034

Take Your First Big Step to the Next Big Thing with us! Do what over 170 others have done and join us for our next week long workshop; Artisan Craft Distilling. This industry is growing fast all over the country. This workshop is dedicated to the training of those who want to start their own distillery in the business of Artisan Craft Distilling. The workshop covers the art and science of the distillation process. We discuss what a floor plan looks like and where you buy equipment. There is hands on training every day in addition to the classroom work. Since this is a real business, we cover in depth business and marketing planning. TTB paperwork is covered too. There is a couple of evening networking events. We have invented a board game we play called Booze Clues. This is a real ice breaker tasting and learning game. We have a lot of fun too. We will be starting our 4th year with our next workshop March 11 – 15, 2013. Take your First Big Step to the Next Big Thing with us. Check out the agenda and testimonials and register at

www.artisancraftdistilling.com Cheers!

www.ArtisanSpiritmag.com 29


resurgence Craft Distilling the

of

Historical Context & Craft Beer Comparison

O

written By Michael Kinstlick with Special Introduction By Rockwell Rutter

ne thing that separates the artisan distilling industry apart from many others is the open exchange of information between what would normally be considered competitors. Too often we see corporate espionage, back-door deals and an overall sense of secrecy and mystery. What makes our industry special, is that through lending a helping hand and simply sharing one’s own experiences, we will all end up with better products and a stronger trade. A perfect example of this “freedom of information” ideal is the recent report done by Michael Kinstlick, CEO of Coppersea Distilling in West Park, NY. This veritable treasure trove of deep industry knowledge took considerable time to research, compile and write - and the best part? Mr. Kinstlick is kind enough to give it away for free. While the full version is available on the Artisan Spirit Magazine website (artisanspiritmag. com), Kinstlick was able to provide us with a special Artisan Spirit Magazine version, which you’ll find in this article. Read on, take notes, and next time you’re in southwestern New York, stop in and pay Coppersea a visit. It’s selflessness like Coppersea’s that is moving this industry forward.

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Market Summary The Craft Distillery industry in the United States is undergoing food culture businesses have proven fertile grounds for Craft explosive growth right now. The number of identifiable Craft Distilleries as well. Washington, amazingly, has grown from its Distilleries in production has grown from 24 in 2000, to 52 in initial entrant in 2007 to 17 in 2011. 2005, to 234 at year-end 2011, and new entrants are showing up with regularity.

Other notable states include Texas, where Tito’s Vodka (1997) was the sole entrant until 2007 and now has company, Colorado,

The Craft Distilling industry in the United States began in with Peach Street, Stranahan’s and Leopold Brothers making California, in 1982, with the entry of two firms, Germain-Robin and an early mark, and New York, where the passage of the Farm Jaxon Keys Winery (also known as Jepson Spirits). The following year Distillery Act lowered the licensing cost from $20,000 to $128 St. George Spirits and Domaine Charbay, also both in California, and has resulted in a flood of new entrants. The upper Midwest joined them. It is no accident that the first four firms are all based states of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ohio feature strongly as well. within a hundred miles of each other in Northern California, one of

Also of interest is the lagging behind of the Southern & Trans-

the epicenters of the “Food Revolution” of the 1970s, and both the Appalachian states considered to have strong roots in folk center of the US Farm Winery revival in Napa and Sonoma and the distilling (“moonshining”). The reasons are many, but now that founding place of U.S. Craft Brewing industry.

many of these states have gone from none to one to three or four

The Pacific states of California, Washington, and Oregon, entrants, I would expect their numbers to continue to grow as leaders in Craft Brewing, Farm Wineries, and other “locavore” they have elsewhere.

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The bigger story, as seen in the progression in the maps on the left is that in 2000 only 12 states had operating Craft Distilleries; today Craft Distilleries are operating in 45 states, making this a truly national phenomenon. Should the Craft Distilling industry continue along its current growth trajectory, the number of Craft Distillers in the United States will likely grow to more than 1,000 over the next 7-10 years. Just as the Craft Brewing industry continues to do, Craft Distillers are creating new jobs and invigorating local communities with value-added manufacturing.

History of U.S. Distilleries In the late-19th Century, the number of (legal) distilleries in the United States was well into the thousands. As was true across a range of industries, the spread of mass marketing, national transportation networks, industrialization, and urbanization led to consolidation even well before Prohibition virtually destroyed the small distillery market in the United States. Prior to WWI, the total number of licensed distilleries in the U.S. was over 1,000. Even immediately after Prohibition, there were several hundred distilleries, a number that would decline to fewer than 100 in the early 1980s, when the U.S. Craft Distillery market was in its infancy. While the recent up-tick in the number of distilleries barely registers on a graph that includes such scale differences, observing the same data against the US Winery and US Brewing markets (Graph #1) gives a good sense of the opportunities for Craft Distilleries. The US Winery market, after recovering to over 1000 firms after prohibition, declines to a low of 330 in 1967. Today there are over 3000 Wineries (and double that number if non-growing producers are included). Similarly, the US Brewing industry consisted of thousands of small firms in the late 19th-Century before similar economic and social dynamics reduced that number to fewer than 50. Today there are over 2000 Craft Brewers with almost 10% of the US beer market by dollar sales. Finally, when we compare the number of Craft Distiller entrants with the number of Craft Brewers using the industry founding date as a “reference clock,� (Graph #2) we see an uncanny similarity. While there are naturally differences in the markets, I believe the resurgence of Craft Distilleries in the United States is still in the early innings.

32†www.ArtisanSpiritmag.com


Graph #1

Graph #2

Craft Distillers are thriving in both traditional product producers making unique products transformed their respective categories, such as Vodka, Gin, and Rum, as well as introducing industries. Should the Craft Distilling market continue to grow new product ideas, such as the emergent trend in “White to form, Craft Distilleries in the U.S. will inevitably number over Whiskey,” sold with very minimal barrel aging. Craft Distillers 1000 within the next 10 years. have opened facilities across the country and brought a renewed regional vigor to spirits production.

Michael Kinstlick is CEO of Coppersea Distilling, LLC.

The Craft Distillery market is following closely the models of For more information visit www.coppersea.com or call the Farm Winery and Craft Brewery markets in which specialist (845) 444-1044.

www.ArtisanSpiritmag.com 33


Great American Distillers Festival 2012 Written By Brian Christensen Photographs by Amanda Joy Christensen

The 8th annual Great American Distillers Festival in Portland, Oregon was a resounding success by any measure. The two-day event brought together over 1300 spirits enthusiasts and 35 distillers for an opportunity to share stories, discuss craft distilling, and taste their art. However, the size and scope of the event isn’t a concern of its founders at Rogue Ales. When asked what kind of goals and growth projections they have for coming years, Rogue’s owner Jack Joyce, clearly states, “We don’t do goals. It’s not important to get bigger, we want to get better.” The Great American Distillers Festival came into existence after Jack’s experiences seeing the Great American Beer Festival start small, and mature into a great resource for the craft brewing community. Rogue wanted to do the same thing for the upstart craft distilling industry which was too small at the time to effectively self promote itself. The vision from the beginning was to set the stage for craft distillers to gain education and gather resources as a trade show event. Jack wanted to give artisans “the opportunity to talk to other pioneers.” In addition, the Festival offers a chance for Craft distillers and vendors to meet face to face.

34 www.ArtisanSpiritmag.com


The festival doesn’t stand on ceremony. The floor is open to the public who bring with them a love and enthusiasm for the craft on display. As Jack simply states, “Where else can you go to touch a distiller?” Enthusiasts can taste spirits and talk shop, often with the person directly responsible for creating the spirit they are enjoying. Despite the festival’s lack of focus on growth, it has continued to increase in size and significance. Just as the industry it represents has

grown.

When

we

asked

Jack what excites him the most about

the

future of the artisan craft distilling i n d u s t r y, he

answers

without hesitation, “It’s being part of a revolution.” A position the folks at Rogue are no strangers to. The 9th annual Great American Distillers Festival will be held October 18-19, 2013 in Portland, Oregon.

Visit www.distillersfestival.com for more information on attending or exhibiting at the Great American Distillers Festival.

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Artisan Spirit 703 W. 7th Ave. Suite 220 Spokane, WA 99204

Profile for Artisan Spirit Magazine

Artisan Spirit: Winter 2012  

The magazine for craft distillers and their fans.

Artisan Spirit: Winter 2012  

The magazine for craft distillers and their fans.