When seducing the Bartender is good business Wonâ€™t you be my Neighbor: tips on Becoming the distillery around the corner
Whatâ€™s in your bottle? Start with the very best of ingredients
Table of contents A Letter From the Editor
The Sound of Success An interview with Steven Stone of Sound Spirits
fighting to stay Small The Story of Last Mountain Distillery
Love at first sip The Cascade Peak Spirits Story
Thinking Outside the Bottle American liqueurs with Italian flair by Elixir Craft Distillery
Built to Last The history behind St. Louis Litho
Starting at the source20 Agriculture and distilling; feature
Hello, My name is...31 A guide to introducing your new distillery to the neighborhood Closer than Local The Stein Distillery family
Rogue Spirits A conversation with Jack Joyce
The Golden Age of Spirits Happy Hour History presents a historical primer of spirits through the ages
Hammer Time 44 A peek into the Craftsman Copper workshop with James Davies Advertiser index
The Bartenderâ€™s Role28 In the Craft Distilling Revolution
from the Cover
Volume 1 Issue 2 Spring 2013 Publisher
a little of what we do.
Amanda Joy Christensen
Tom Barwick Amanda Joy Christensen Sammy Golom Zach Mansfield
Sales & Marketing
Jason Barrett Kristi Gamble Chris Lozier David S. Mayne Scott Schiller Jordana Shell Ashley Monroe
Artisan Spirit magazine is a quarterly magazine by Artisan Craft Distilling University www.artisanspiritmag.com facebook.com/ArtisanSpiritMagazine General Inquiries (509) 944-5919
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703 W. 7th Ave. Suite 220 Spokane, WA 99204 All contents © 2013. 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.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Our mission at Artisan Spirit Magazine is to share and celebrate the art and science of artisan craft distilling. We are humbled by the support and sponsorship provided by Rogue Spirits, St. Louis Litho, and Tapi. With their help, we can further our common goals of supporting creativity, innovation, and integrity within the industry we all love so much.
Celebrating their 10th Anniversary, Rogue Spirits is an artisan varietal distillery creating award winning, multi-ingredient small batch spirits on traditional hand crafted copper pot stills. Rogue Spirits has won 140 awards for taste, quality and packaging and are available in 45 states and 5 countries. Since 2008, Rogue has remained committed to saving the terroir of Oregon hops and barley, one acre at a time by growing, malting, roasting and smoking their own.
St. Louis Litho has three locations nationwide with over 130 years of combined printing experience. The team at St. Louis Litho proudly serves their customers and works with them to build long term relationships that anticipate their future needs so that they can grow together. With digital, flexo and offset printing capabilities and a wide range of finishing
An AC Label Company
techniques, St. Louis Litho can service every aspect of your print packaging needs.
For over 60 years our company has produced cork stoppers and a wide variety of bottle closures. Family-owned and operated since its inception, Tapi USA continues to develop new products and enter new markets. Tapi USA is proud to support the growth of the artisan distillery industry and is honored to be the Bottle Closure Sponsor for the Artisan Craft Distilling University and Artisan Spirit Magazine.
Seriously. Thank you. 6窶『ww.ArtisanSpiritmag.com
A Letter From the Editor: Here’s issue #2 and we still don’t know what the hell we’re doing. And that’s ok. The team here at Artisan Spirit Magazine came away from
spirits, both entrepreneurial and distilled, are inspiring and
the first issue with a pretty incredible high. To say that people
encourage us to try harder and reach further. Our goal is to
in the artisan craft distilling
support creativity, innovation,
industry. We intend to do
supportive would be a tragic understatement. There are few
other occasions where we have
encountered individuals and
stories. The content will speak
companies so willing to freely
for itself and we will strive to
share their time, knowledge
always put quality information
ahead of sub-par content. In
Everyone at Artisan Spirit
the future this may cost us a
Magazine would like to take
few fans, but if it allows us to
a moment and thank all the
maintain our vision and helps
to support this industry, then it
will be well worth it.
efforts by submitting content, providing
advertising with us. All of those people took a chance on a magazine that didn’t even
Seeing our magazine on store shelves for the first .time was unreal. You guys helped make it happen.
exist yet. You are incredible.
I respectfully ask every one of you to let me know what you think. Tell me what you love and what you hate. Call,
email, or write me. It will make us better in every way. Just be
Now is as good a time as any to further clarify what Artisan
warned, if I catch you on the phone, I’m going to ask a LOT of
Spirit Magazine is. We are a division of Artisan Craft Distilling
questions. Our ultimate goal is to make a lasting contribution
University, which is independently owned and operated,
to an industry that we’re falling more in love with every day.
and whose ultimate goal is to create a forum for distillation
Learning from your feedback is the single best way for us to
education. We are not part of any specific distillery, we are not
serve the industry we are so proud to be a part of.
a subsidiary of a large still manufacturer, or beholden to anyone but ourselves and our readers. In fact, we are a bit naïve. We’re suckers for honesty, and appreciate the simple philosophy of “do what you say you are
going to do.” Artisan Spirit accepts money for advertisements because that’s our business model. We love our advertisers and admittedly think they are pretty great for supporting us and the industry. However, we do not accept money in return for content
placement. Some of the first advice we received when entering
the industry was, “Take money when it’s offered, but never sell your values.”
(509) 944-5919 703 W. 7th Ave. Suite 220 Spokane, WA 99204
At Artisan Spirit we love small batch craft distillers. Your
Steven Stone (pictured at right), owner of Sound Spirits in Seattle, WA has made quite a name for himself since opening up his distillery in 2010. An engineer by trade, he’s always had a fascination with making things with his own two hands, especially high-quality spirits. When he decided it was time to open his own shop, Steven didn’t just tip-toe in; he dove right in headfirst, ick quickly rising to become President of the Washington Distillers Guild. We got P hotogra y by Tom Ba rw ph in touch with this remarkable individual to find out exactly what makes him tick.
ASM: What set you on the path to becoming a craft distiller?
ASM: Do you consider yourself a “micro-distiller” and what does that mean to you? SS: I had a foundation in that I brewed beer at home for over ten years. So, I knew quite a bit about fermentation. Combining SS: I am most definitely a micro-distiller. On the tours sometimes, that with a love of cooking, science and entrepreneurship made we actually joke that Sound Spirits is a nano-distillery! To me, me feel like I had the right skills. Additionally, the craft beer the term means small, batch distilled, hand crafted and high and wine industries had done well in Washington; spirits were quality. a natural next step. At the time I started planning, no one was distilling in Washington.
ASM: How did the startup process go for you?
ASM: Tell us a little about your line of spirits. SS: Ebb + Flow Vodka is a single malt vodka made from 100% Washington Palouse Malted
SS: Getting started is really tough because of
Barley. Unlike many mass market vodkas that
the tremendous barriers to entry. The paperwork
are just water added to neutral grain spirits, we
is extensive, the regulations are never ending
do mash, ferment and distill this one from
and equipment is expensive. Plus, the
scratch, grain to bottle. The reviewer at
federal production license can only be
DrinkSpirits.com said that it might be
submitted for approval once you’re ready
“the best vodka made in America.”
to roll. So, you have to spend quite a bit
Ebb + Flow Gin is a bold, but balanced
of money up front for equipment, build-
gin. It was crafted to bring out the best
out and rent before you can even apply!
in classic cocktails, with a rich balance
Additionally, we were the first distillery
of flavors: herbal, citrus and spice.
to start production in Seattle since the
Using a blend of malted barley and a
Prohibition era. So, we had a lengthy
neutral base, this gin has depth that
permitting period with the city.
other gins lack. It’s batch distilled with
Juniper, Coriander, Cardamon, Orange Peel, Angelica Root, Elder ASM: What keeps you motivated to keep moving forward? Flower and Orris Root. SS: I’m energized by our fans. It really means a lot when people Sound Spirits Aquavit is a traditional Scandinavian spirit with voice their love for our products. caraway, dill, coriander, fennel and anise. It is light, spicy and balanced and is a pleasure to sip neat in the traditional chilled fashion or in a cocktail. This March we’re launching Depth Liqueur – Cacao, Depth Liqueur – Menthe, Depth Liqueur – Vow of Silence. And finally, we have our first whiskey in the barrel. Like our Ebb + Flow Vodka, it’s a single malt. We expect it to be out in about a year.
ASM: Any advice for new craft distilleries entering the industry? SS: Craft distilling as an industry has really taken off around the country, especially on the West Coast. Washington alone has over 44 in production now, with another 25 holding licenses and 16 more pending. I like to tell people, “Just because you like to eat and you like to cook, it doesn’t mean you should open a restaurant.” In the same way, people should not start a distillery
ASM: Where do you get the ingredients for your spirits, and what unless they have thought it through. I would suggest writing a makes them the right choice for you? business plan, even if it’s only to collect his or her thoughts. SS: The barley for our vodka and whiskey is grown in Eastern Oh yeah, another thing, you most definitely want to have your Washington and malted in Vancouver, WA. Our gins and liqueurs significant other on board, 100%. use a 50/50 blend of our barley base plus a neutral grain base
ASM: We would like to thank Steven for taking the time to correspond
distilled in Kentucky. Our spices and botanicals come from all with us. The next time you’re in Seattle stop by their tasting room to over the world. We try to be as local as possible, but above all meet Steven and try one of their great spirits. insist on the highest quality for our ingredients.
ASM: How did you build a distribution network for your spirits?
Sound Spirits is located in Seattle, WA. For more info visit
SS: Before the transition brought on by I-1183, the state was www.drinksoundspirits.com or call (206) 651-5166. doing a great job of distributing our product all over the state. When privatization took over, I toyed with the self-distribution model. After all, Washington is the only state in the U.S. that allows for that ability. But, I decided to go with a distributor and let them handle the logistics side of things. So, their distribution network/channels became mine. Going forward, we will be trying to expand our network to include other states.
ASM: What sets you apart from the competition? SS: We strive for authenticity and quality, not only for what’s inside the bottle, but in how the brand is presented and in the packaging. Some would argue that to run a successful business as a distillery, a person should not even bother doing any distilling and just buy and bottle a larger producer’s product (rebrand). That is not what we are about.
ASM: What excites you the most about the craft distilling industry? SS: I’m really excited by all of the new innovation that we are going to see in products. Distilleries will be trying new recipes and techniques, introducing the public to new categories and new flavors. Don’t get me wrong, there will be plenty of adherence to time tested practices, but we’ll see boundaries pushed and new frontiers created - whiskeys using different smoked grains, gins with exotic botanicals, etc.
to stay small
The Story of Last Mountain Distillery || written by Jordana Shell || pHOTOs By Sammy Golom In the heart of southern Saskatchewan is where one couple’s dream of a micro-distillery is flourishing. Back in 2010, newly
born. Last Mountain will go into history as Saskatchewan’s very first micro-distillery.
married Colin and Meredith Schmidt were enjoying a holiday in
The humble duo would’ve been happy had their vodka sold
Last Mountain Regional Park, when they firmly decided upon two
at least 200 bottles in the first month of operation. Instead, in
things for their future.
the company’s opening weekend they sold well over that mark.
One: they wanted to run a business together which would allow In addition, Last Mountain’s sales predictions for one year were them flexibility for their sprouting family.
outdone in just three months, and by the end of their first year in
Two: they wanted this business to generate quality products for operation they had already exceeded their 5 year goal. its consumers.
These two pioneers in Saskatchewan quickly realized that their
And so the idea for a micro-distillery began to bloom in their tiny garage was no match for their customer’s insatiable thirst for minds. Over the next while the newlyweds poured over Ian
Last Mountain’s vodka. Things
tougher for the tiny operation. Even with all of their sales and
community sought was
up its own problems. The family was stepping on each other’s toes as they worked in the incredibly tight space trying to keep up with the demand for their product. Negotiating with suppliers for smaller loads of things
Left to right: Ryker Schmidt, Colin Schmidt, Meredith Schmidt, Shannon Babey, and Darryl Babey
like bottle caps and labeling was a challenge. Suppliers
Smiley’s book, “Making Pure Corn Whiskey: A Professional
were not used to dealing with such small loads that a micro
Guide for Amateur and Micro Distillers.” It was the “...bible of distillery asked for. They were growing too quickly and they distilling for us...” as Colin puts it. Colin emailed Ian, hoping
needed a solution, fast.
to get some direction for their budding idea and much to their
That solution came in the form of Darryl and Shannon Babey,
delight, Ian responded. Their correspondence quickly developed
local supporters of Last Mountain Distillery. These two provided
into a working relationship and even now, Ian is the Schmidt’s
the funding and the growth management that the company
desperately needed. Colin and Meredith then consulted with
Within the year, Colin and Meredith converted a less than Ian Smiley about a better distillery unit and he suggested they glorious 500 square foot garage into their workspace. Last
speak with Steven Cage, a co-founder and designer at Artisan
Mountain Distillery, named in honor of their marriage place, was
After much research, Colin and Meredith decided to go with
Cinnamon” and “Prairie Cherry” from Over The Hill Orchards.
Artisan because it was a unique and affordable design, and
Meredith bounces Ryker, their young son, on her lap and smiles
other companies had raved about their products. Steven was an
proudly as she talks of the future and their excitement for it. “...Our
up-and-coming local “little guy” which was a trait the couple
roles will change as we grow and fit into our new facility and
could easily identify with. Colin and Meredith’s experience with
get the store and touring operation up and running.” Colin and
Steven was described as “excellent.” The Schmidt’s also found it Meredith’s story is a dream come true. One they’ve worked hard beneficial to work with someone nearby, being only hours away if they ever needed someone in person. Last Mountain Distillery made a splash in the world of spirits when Alberta’s Rumhowler Magazine rated the Schmidt’s vodka higher than the well-known Grey Goose Vodka. Meredith describes Last Mountain’s vodka to have a uniquely sweet aftertaste to it. “It makes a delightful sipping vodka.” She says. Last Mountain Distillery directly controls their distribution. A challenge in itself, but in this way Colin and Meredith avoid having to charge a higher price for their vodka than if they went through the SLGA or liquor board. Colin states that they’ve never desired that Last Mountain Distillery be either the cheapest or the most expensive on the shelf. Last Mountain’s sole mission, as it always has been and will continue to be, is to produce a quality and
and continue to work hard for. They’re doing what they love, with
affordable product for the public and to have as much local
the people they love, for the community they love.
community involvement as possible. The relationship with land
Last Mountain Distillery will be a glowing historical treasure for
and farmer, from grain to spirit, from beginning to end will be
the province of Saskatchewan. A family-run business dedicated
their principle focus, and will lead to highest quality products. to providing Saskatchewan with premium quality spirits. A family Colin and Meredith have no desire to expand further. They hold
who is proudly local, and fiercely loyal to the land of the living
onto their small business mentality with fierce pride and want to
always be a local “little guy”. They do desire to create new products, however. They will Last Mountain Distillery is located in Lumsden, Saskatchewan. be coming out with a line of rum and whiskey. The ambitious For more information visit www.lastmountaindistillery.com or team will even dabble in some specialty liqueurs like “Honey call (306) 541-9399.
love at first sip T he
Cas c ad e P eak Sp ir it s s t o ry
Photos courtesy of Cascade Peak Spirits
Written by R ockwell R utter
hen David and Diane Paulson first met in 2004 over a revised their business plan around a rye-based vodka, instead. few vodka cocktails, they never knew that their shared It was this kind of “thinking-on-your-feet” that would set the
love of fine spirits would lead them both into a new career, not to tone for the next few years as they waded through the litany of mention a marriage (!). As fate would have it, the two lovebirds governmental and logistical hurdles so many of our readers are are located in Ashland, OR, just 4 hours away from one of the familiar with. nation’s craft distilling hot-spots, Portland, OR. For a time, it
As time went on, David and Diane realized that in order to have
seemed like David and Diane couldn’t leave the house without a good product and a successful business, they needed the right being reminded of their distant dream of starting a distillery. people and the right training. After placing a want-ad looking for Whether it was a craft vodka tasting at a liquor store, or visiting a skilled distiller to help them organize and develop their recipes, local distilleries while on vacation, the desire to open up their they were lucky enough to find Thomas McKenzie, who was own shop continued to grow.
instrumental in getting Cascade Peak off the ground. He moved
Since both David and Diane have a strong commitment to in with the Paulsons for three weeks and gave them an intensive sustainability and green practices, the logical course of action education in the art, science and business of distilling. Says for them was to focus on purely organic products. After doing Diane, “Hiring an experienced distiller was one of the smartest some research they began to see just how intensive the process things we did to overcome our lack of distilling experience.” of opening and running a distillery is, and made the choice to
Of course, running a distillery is much more than just
enroll in a Bavarian Holstein Distilling course in Flagstaff, AZ. producing quality spirits. Over the course of a year, David and Through the class, David and Diane were able to have a lot of Diane learned all about the detail work that goes on behind their questions answered, including a reality check regarding the the scenes (i.e. managing supply inventory, human resources, pros and cons of organic production. When their original plan to marketing, shipping and receiving, plus a host of others). Again, offer organic potato vodka proved prohibitively expensive, they the two found that by bringing the right people on board, the job
that was once insurmountable became
been the love and support of their fans
much more manageable.
and community. “There have always
With operations running smoothly,
been these incredible people that show
David and Diane set to work on crafting
up, give us their blood, sweat and
the finest organic spirits they possibly
tears for a while, support us, cheer us
could. To date, their product mix
on and then move on down the road,”
consists of the following:
If the past few years are any indication,
vodka and gin; ORGANIC NATION
Cascade Peak Spirits is poised for even
vodka is smooth on the palate
more success. They’ve just agreed to
with some hints of vanilla and
increase distribution along the East
a creamy mouthfeel. ORGANIC
Coast, and are preparing to launch in
NATION gin is a very complex,
New York at the time of this writing.
tasty savory gin. It has lemon
They’re also planning on growing
balm, angelica, fresh cucumber,
their sales in Oregon, Washington and
black pepper and more.
California by 30% this year, partly by
Whiskey, a certified organic rye, aged 22 months in the barrel. The organic rye comes from a small farm just 45 miles away from the distillery, making it a truly locally sourced product.
focusing on key market demographics derived from extensive research. From an idea sparked over a couple of vodka cocktails to a fully-operational craft distillery, it’s nice to see this love story have a happy ending.
Cascade Peak Spirits is located in Ashland, OR. For more information
One of the factors the Paulsons attribute to their success has visit www.organicnationspirits.com or call (541) 482-3160.
We’ll be in Denver! Stop by our booth @ the 10th Anniversary ADI Conference & Vendor Expo!
Howsweetest Sweet it is . . .
barrels in the industry
1605 Commerce Ave S Park Rapids, MN 56470
218.237.2020 Heidi@BlackSwanBarrels.com www.BlackSwanBarrels.com HONEY COMB® TECHNOLOGY PATENT PENDING
Thinking Outside the Bottle
American liqueurs with Italian flair
Written by Rockwell Rutter . Sometimes
in order to make something new, we have to return to our roots.. This is a guiding
principle of Andrea and Mario Loreto, brothers and co-founders of the Elixir Craft Distillery (Eugene, OR). When Andrea (pictured at right) moved to the U.S. from Florence, Italy in 1998, he brought with him a wealth of knowledge on herbs, spices and the varying effects they can have in different liqueurs. His time spent sampling the finest tastes of Italy convinced
Photo courtesy of Elixir Craft Distillery
him to approach the growing American distilling industry with his own unique approach. Rather than focus on the traditional vodkas, whiskeys, etc., Elixir uses rare and fascinating botanicals to make liqueurs that taste like they came right from the Old Country. For hundreds of years, Italy has produced some of the world’s finest liqueurs and amaros (herbal liqueurs drunk as a digestif).
It’s this kind of innovation that is driving the success of Elixir. They currently have two products on the market:
Calisaya Calisaya is a cinchona-based liqueur the Loreto brothers
The practice, unfortunately, has come into decline recently developed from a centuries-old authentic Italian recipe. Cinchona and specialized homemade products are being supplanted by is a plant long celebrated in the New World for its ability to treat the mainstream. Elixir brings things back to basics with their malaria (due to its high quinine content). Jesuit missionaries in custom “flavor organ,” a device that Andrea built with which to Peru discovered this “miracle” bark in 1600 and brought it to experiment with new flavor profiles. By collecting small samples Rome two years later, whereupon the exceptionally bitter bark of an array of different herbs and botanicals, the flavor organ was mixed with wine, honey, water, and other herbs in order essentially becomes Andrea’s lab - he can experiment with new to render it palatable. Initially created for medicinal purposes, and different combinations until just the right mix is found.
cinchona calisaya liqueurs quickly endeared themselves to the
residents of Old Europe. Four hundred years later, cinchona land with its particular “terroir” (sense of place). Even today, remains a cherished ingredient of the superior Italian amaros the iris symbol (fleur-de-lis) appears on official documents and that are staples in liquor cabinets across Europe. The delicate emblematic buildings throughout Florence. Iris celebrates this and complex flavor of Calisaya is imparted by an array of spices, distinguished history in a sophisticated botanical liqueur derived herbs, and flowers working together to smooth and enhance the from pure iris root. Iris is crafted with all-natural ingredients with base cinchona aroma. The product represents the meeting of the no additives, emulsifiers, or coloring. It can be enjoyed neat, on finest “foodie” cultures in Italy and North America. The majority the rocks, or in a range of cocktails. of the ingredients are imported from Italy to take advantage of the country’s ancient tradition of herbal liqueurs and welldeveloped market for precious spices, while the bitter orange extracts responsible for the fresh scent of Calisaya are handcrafted in Oregon from an annual crop of the finest Valencia oranges.
Elixir Craft Distillery is a perfect example of “outside-thebottle” thinking. Our marketplaces (and liquor cabinets) are quickly becoming home to a lot of the same stuff. As such, the average consumer is blessed and cursed with the paralysis of choice, meaning they have so many options it’s difficult or impossible to choose. The Loreto brothers have shown that by
creating a product that is unique and directly linked to their heritage, they can stand out from the crowd and put their name
on something they can truly be proud of. As the artisan distilling Iris is a complex botanical liqueur. It is fitting that the noble market in the U.S. continues to expand and develop, the success iris flower has served as the official emblem of Florence and stories of tomorrow will be those who embrace their uniqueness, the aristocracy since Renaissance times. The regal iris has and not those who hide among the rest. been prized throughout the centuries for its proud beauty and aromatic rhizome. Then as now, iris plants dot the hillsides of
Elixir Craft Distillery is located in Eugene, Oregon. For more
Tuscany, weaving their way through vineyards and imbuing the information visit www.elixir-us.com or call (541) 345-2257.
St. Louis Lithographing Co.
Built to Last Written by Brian Christensen
Photographs courtesy of St. Louis Lithographing Co.
ttributing value to a phrase like “established in 1921” Sensitive (STLPS) in Louisville, KY, which was opened in 2003 isn’t as simple as it sounds. It can be surprisingly easy to respond to the rapidly growing demand for self adhesive to take the age of a company for granted. But for the labels. Opened as a Greenfield operation with a single press and
people working at St. Louis Lithographing Co., being a part of a handful of employees, STLPS now has a fleet of state of the art something that has been in operation for over 92 years carries Flexo presses all producing premium quality, highly decorated with it a great deal of pride. St. Louis Lithographing Co. opened labels. In December of 2006, St. Louis Litho joined forces with as a small trade shop in 1921, providing specialized printing and AC Label, bringing additional pressure sensitive capacity and finishing to local commercial printing companies. With the repeal adding very high quality digital printing and finishing to the of Prohibition in 1933, the company seized the opportunity to overall portfolio. Located in Provo, UT, AC Label also provides a enter into the growing market for spirits labels, a market that it manufacturing presence in the western U.S. proudly serves to this day. By 1950, labels became a specialty of
Jack Vogel, VP of the Eastern U.S. operations, says, “St.
the house, and St. Louis Litho expanded to focus its business on Louis Litho has strived throughout its long history to provide this particular market segment.
our customers with excellent service and high quality products.
Today the company has two locations created through its Through all of the challenges, we have managed to grow and history. The headquarters located in St. Louis, MO, which focuses develop an extremely successful company.” on offset printed, glue applied labels. And St. Louis Pressure
Vogel’s 11 year tenure with the company still puts him in the
employees. Both the average employee and customer time with St. Louis Litho is well over 20 years. “The average tenure even
with our company is amazing. Many people have
entire career with us.” says Vogel. “Certainly we is
businesses to survive these days. That said, with any change made in our organization, technology to evolve while maintaining competitive material costs. we remain dedicated to preserving our history and reputation. All of this accumulated knowledge and advanced technology is The high tenure is a constant reminder of this responsibility.” St. extremely powerful for a new or smaller distiller trying to step Louis Litho has the records to prove it. They purposely maintain into the market. At one point each of our larger customers was a historical archive of employees, customers, suppliers, company much smaller. It is a wonderful cycle to be a part of.” Rosen events and significant changes to their business. “It’s important concurs, adding, “The craft market has also come to improve St. to reflect. You can learn a lot from your history,” Vogel said.
Louis Litho as a company by challenging them in ways that larger
Jack Rosen, President and CEO of parent company AC Label, customers may not have. The craft market has forced us to keep LLC agrees. “Energy and enthusiasm are never more present innovating and maintain a robust R&D focus.” than when you enter our facilities. Through our private ownership
St. Louis Litho prides itself on supporting the growing craft
and management, we want to preserve the pride in the company distilling industry and has been a member of the American history and culture at
Distilling Institute for
St. Louis Litho.”
8 years and a Title
Sponsor for as long
as there was such an
opportunity. Jack Vogel
entry-level start-ups to
also sat on the initial
global distribution and
everything in between.
for the ADI, and will
And they feel that one
take part in this year’s
area of the market is
just as important as the
in Denver. “We love
other. “Our company
being such a significant
is very much focused
resource to the ADI and
on the ‘growth’ of the
their members,” Vogel
entrepreneurs join the
this means even more successful years of business,” Vogel ADI with a dream and a story, looking to us to help them make says. “Our larger, more tenured relationships were grown over that dream a reality. What can be more exciting than that?” time. Those long lasting relationships and high volume help our
To help their customers grow, the St. Louis Team starts out by
trying to understand the story that will market the new brand. Usually the customer will have preliminary artwork and an idea as to the size and shape of the bottle they intend to use. If not, the Design and Account Management team is able to assist there as well. St. Louis Litho uses a number of tools to help show customers a very realistic representation of what the end result will look like. This includes a vast array of decorating techniques available. Vogel further explains, “We have a new slogan we are using this year which is ‘Lead with Your Label’. It’s funny, yet understandable, how far down the road a start-up company can get implementing their business plan until they remember that their spirit will need a package to be sold in. Without sounding like they aren’t capable of making a good tasting product, we try to explain that the first sale to each individual consumer is most often made without the consumer ever having tasted the product
Raise your glass to quality! Clear, strong, and proudly made in the USA, All American beer bottles are the obvious choice to cap off your brew. From 12 ouncers to gallon jugs, we stock styles and sizes to match any thirst – and budget. For more information so that we can service your business call 813-740-8787 or email sales@allamerican containers.com.
on the inside. They usually purchase the brand the first time based on the package design. The taste of the product certainly sells it each time after. We unfortunately know of many instances where a great tasting brand never took off because the design of the package didn’t attract the consumer. It is critical, especially
with such a generation of experimentation, that the label and overall package stand out and be inviting. Over the last 10 years, the company has invested heavily in new digital, flexo and offset printing technology. In fact, half of all of the presses housed across all three locations were purchased within that time-frame. With more presses come more finishing techniques. Custom inks and coatings, screen print inks, textured coatings, metallic dusting, foil stamping,
otable spirits deserve a cutting edge experience Dissipates alcohol | enhances flavor
embossing and variable data printing are a handful of the many
Handmade Mouth Blown Lead-free Chrystalyn
techniques available. Ninety-two years of operation is an accomplishment for any business. In that time, the number of changes St. Louis Lithographing has witnessed in the industry and made within itself are staggering. But even more impressive, are the aspects the company has worked to maintain since their very first days: a passion to innovate, a fierce pride in their job, and the determination to treat everyone they work with as partners. These are characteristics that define many long lasting businesses, and which have the potential to keep St. Louis Lithographing around for another 92 years.
St. Louis Litho has facilities in St. Louis, MO, Louisville, KY, and Provo, UT. For more info visit www.stllitho.com or call (800) 611-6880.
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Starting at the Source Written by Brian Christensen and Rockwell Rutter Photography by Amanda Joy Christensen
Ask any 10 distillers out there what goes into their products, and you’re bound to get 10 different answers. One might say that his generations-old family recipe is what sets him apart, and another will tell you it’s all in the equipment. Regardless of the individual, however, there’s one essential factor that no distiller can get away from: quality agricultural ingredients. Without the right raw materials, no ancient recipe or technically-advanced piece of machinery is going to make a difference. So how does an artisan distiller go about sourcing the ingredients he needs? With grain, what separates one farm’s harvest from another’s? With botanicals, how do you know you can count on the herbalist to provide you with consistent yields, especially as your demand grows? To find out, Artisan Spirit went right to the source — we spoke with farmers that already have a relationship with artisan distillers and asked them the tough questions. Based on our research, we found there are four factors to look for when sourcing your materials.
service Our first stop was to visit Mitch Engel of Wisota Farms, located in rural Oakesdale, WA. Their 2500 acre operation is the primary provider of wheat to the famous Dry Fly Distilling Company in nearby Spokane, WA. Like many relationships in this industry, the bond between Mitch and Dry Fly was born out of a mutual love of fine spirits. In 2008, Mitch visited the distillery purely out of curiosity and the hope of a tasting or two. The boys at Dry Fly were delighted to hear Mitch’s story about being a 4th-generation wheat farmer, and were eager to talk to Mitch about being a supplier. Because Wisota Farms is a smaller operation, they were able to provide Dry Fly with a level of service that the previous wheat supplier couldn’t match. Mitch allowed Dry Fly to choose exactly what varieties they needed, something that had troubled them in the past. Even better, Mitch personally oversees the growth, harvesting, storage and delivery processes, ensuring that Dry Fly gets only the finest product. When asked, Mitch attributes much of the success of their relationship with Dry Fly to “being able to work with someone you trust.” At the beginning, Dry Fly’s only stipulation was that Wisota Farms could never run out of wheat, something that Mitch has kept his word on. Even on busy weeks for the distillery, Mitch is known to throw a couple bags of grain in the back of his pickup and hand-deliver it. It is this kind of service that separates “the wheat from the chaff” in this industry.
uniqueness Once you’ve found a few potential suppliers who can offer you the reliable service you need, the next step is deciding what they can bring to the table that will allow you to stand out from your competitors. Painted Stave Distilling (Smyrna, DE) used this approach and were able to craft part of their whole “brand story” around it. Smyrna is located in a region known for its abundant fruit and high-quality cereal grain production, so finding a list of potential suppliers was an easy task. One of Painted Stave’s ideals is staying involved in the local community, and they’re proud to say that 100% of their ingredients come from within 50 miles of the distillery. To take it a step farther, Painted Stave also works with a startup malting company and a nearby herbalist. By maintaining their commitment to working with local suppliers, their spirits really are “a taste of the community.”
relationships Now that you’ve got your list pared down to a few quality suppliers with something unique to offer, you’ll want to put your focus into the most important factor of all: the relationship between you and the farm. A new distillery is often faced with unexpected problems and challenges, so you’ll want to make sure the people you’re working with are those you can trust. Much like how Mitch Engel can sometimes be found driving a few bags of emergency wheat to Dry Fly, try to find people that will act more like a partner, and less like just a supplier. A perfect example of this thinking is the relationship that Cascade Peak Distillery (Ashland, OR) formed with one of its suppliers, Pacific Botanicals. PB is a small, organic farm that specializes in botanicals and herbs. When they started working together, Cascade Peak took it upon themselves to visit the farm and meet with owner Mark Wheeler one-on-one. After seeing the kind of true commitment and passion he had for growing his organic botanicals, Cascade Peak knew he was the one for them. Since that time, their business relationship has blossomed into a real friendship — Mark even became an investor in the distillery! (Read more of their story on page 13)
integration In a perfect world, each distillery would be responsible for raising its own raw ingredients, as this is the ultimate way to ensure quality at every step of the process. Unfortunately, this isn’t always an option for many of the cash and resource-strapped startups out there. In the case of Stein Farms & Distillery (Joseph, OR), however, sometimes things just work perfectly. Stein Farms has been in the family for three generations, producing high-quality grains like rye, wheat and barley. After doing some research, the Stein family saw that the burgeoning artisan distillery industry would be a perfect extension of the family farm business. (Read more of the Stein family’s story on page 33) A secondary example takes the approach of leasing the land directly from an established farmer. Rogue Spirits is an excellent case study of successfully integrating this process. Rogue works directly with the Colman family in Oregon to secure a steady supply of carefully chosen ingredients. In this way they procure 80% of the necessary raw ingredients for their spirits, and 60% of the ingredients for their ales. As you move forward with your supplier selection process, what creative ways can you think of to integrate your processes? (Read more about Rogue Spirits on page 36)
With many businesses, regardless of industry, it’s important to establish systems and procedures to guide your decisions. Doing so allows you to focus on big picture ideas while the details get sorted out as a function of the system. As you move forward in sourcing your own materials, use the four factor system discussed in this article to find partners in your own community that you can trust. Do you want to work with a major player in your market, or would you prefer a smaller shop that can grow alongside you? Whatever you decide, remember that it all comes back to the relationship that you share. Work with people you know, like and trust — that’s the true recipe for success.
Bartender’s Role in the craft distilling industry Written By Kristi Gamble photography by Amanda Joy Christensen
hese days the modern patron is finding a new way to Sure, vodka will always be a standard tried and true base liquor, drink. Terms like “artisan”, “organic” and “crafted” but what really inspires us are unique gins, local rums and are commonly seen everywhere. Our society is whiskeys that challenge our palate in new and exciting ways.
trying to get back to the roots of how we produce our spirits and
In this surge of excitement for the world of spirits, new micro-
away from commercialized mass-production. The current culture distilleries are popping up all the time. The idea of “doing it of cocktails is following suit; there is new-found respect for the yourself” seems to be taking over. These distilleries create small traditional art of distillation and creation of finely crafted drinks. amounts of spirits compared to big names like Jack Daniels, but The masses want to know what they are drinking and how it is what they do is specialized and unique. This is what the craft made. Bartending is finally starting to be recognized as a culinary bartenders are looking for. Bartenders today want products that art and experience. Bartenders are no longer just the “pretty face” are local and use fresh ingredients. They take pride in being able behind the bar that dazzle you with their Tom Cruise-style flair. to say things like “this is made from wheat grown a mile away”, Now they’re referred
to as “Liquor Geeks”;
actually grows his own
There’s a new found
respect for supporting
our communities and
They’re gathering the
helping one another
knowledge to properly
guide even the most
also want to see the
through the vast and
traditional spirit and
mysterious world of
spirits. Because the
With all these new
cocktail has become
such an intricate part
of the culinary experience, bartenders are now calling for the competition is inevitable. What makes one distillery stand out same passion and ambition from a distillery that they expect from the other in the eye of craft bartenders? One approach from themselves.
includes using new techniques and creating new flavors. An
The trend of craft bartending takes the history and skill behind innovation that has piqued my interest recently is the use of the classic cocktail and applies it to a more innovative platform. rotary evaporators (which uses glassware, not a copper pot). This It’s about finding a harmonious balance between the style of has the potential to create some of the cleanest, purest, brightest the original cocktails and a modern use of fresh and unique tasting liquors yet. The evaporator uses a process of vacuum ingredients. It’s a homage to the time when drinking wasn’t just to distillation at room temperature to separate liquids or combine get tipsy, but more about the experience, ceremony, and process flavors based on their relative volatility. This process allows for of enjoying a finely crafted cocktail. Steps are important, just as the extraction of desired notes and aromas gently by removing is the taste, appearance, texture, temperature, and ultimately water and using low temperatures. The result is a specifically finding the right drink for the occasion and atmosphere. A vital concentrated flavor. part of this process is the careful selection of the proper spirit.
As well as being an incredibly stable and clean form of
Craft bartenders want to be inspired by the products they use. distillation, the use of rotary evaporators can also be seen as
about the author: Kristi was born and raised in Spokane, WA where she started working in restaurants at a very young age. As soon as her 21st birthday hit she started bartending, and found it to be a true passion. A brief relocation to Portland, OR advanced her education in classic and craft cocktails. Working in several different bar atmospheres, from tiki lounges to big name corporate chains, created a well-rounded level of experience. She considers herself a “Humble Servant of Booze” and strives to inform others of the fascinating history and art of spirits.
a new way to infuse. In a bath of vodka, put fresh ingredients foams, different shapes and forms of ice. However, at the end of in the receiving end of an evaporator. The co-distillation results the day it’s just about making sure that the experience caters to in a new liquor packed with a more true and pure flavor than their taste and that they feel taken care of. It is crucial that the typical infusion. These new approaches bring great opportunity distilleries we support do the same. for spirits unlike anything we’ve ever tasted before. Although,
Our society is waking up from the fog of consumerism, in which
it is important to remember that sometimes simpler is better. we were often fooled by flashy logos and the false promise of a Again, it’s about finding the balance between the respected and better quality of life. We’re smarter, we’re wiser, we care about proven traditional ways of distilling and the newer sciences that the products we buy, and we want the real thing. No artificial can be applied.
flavors, no high fructose corn syrup, no red dye #40. This world
Another way to attract bartenders as fans is to maintain of crafted spirits is growing and thriving. As it develops it’s good business practices. Specifically, fair prices, consistency, important that we speak up and ask for the products we want and steady product flow and great customer service. After all, this support our local businesses, communities and each other. industry is all about service. As bartenders, our first priority is the hospitality that we extend to our guest. We may want to introduce Kristi Gamble is Bar Manager of Clover in Spokane, WA. For more our customers to all kinds of amaros, tinctures, bitters, flavored info visit www.cloverspokane.com or call (509) 487-2937.
give one of Kristi’s creations a try:
The 21st Cast 1.5oz. Dry Fly Barrel Aged Gin .75oz. Sweet Vermouth .5oz. Galliano .5oz. grapefruit juice 2-3 dashes Angostura Bitters shake, strain coupe garnish with grapefruit twist or flamed peel
o l l H ename is my
w e n r u yo istillery ol cal d A Guide to introducing yourself to the neighborhood written by Jason Barrett So you want to open a distillery? Wonderful! Welcome to one of the most exciting, and by far most heavily regulated industries in the United States. As I am sure you are aware, getting into the
Local Fire Department Water/Sanitation Department
distilling business is a complicated endeavor. But for today, let’s
just talk about working with local government and how to be a
City Business development office
good neighbor. It all starts by following three simple rules: communication, communication and oh yeah, proactive communication. Once you have selected your location, or at least the general area where you want to be located, you want to start telling people that you are coming to town. Before you go and hang a sign on the building and let the public think what they will about you, it’s a good idea to reach out to talk with the folks around you on
Local SBA office Other craft food companies nearby, both in our industry and outside of it And what might these interested parties ask of you? Will you be getting a license?
a more personal level. You can do this by presenting your plan to
Do you plan to pay taxes?
interested parties before they hear about you from someone who
Isn’t that dangerous?
doesn’t want you in “their backyard.” Who are these interested parties, you ask? Well, here is a short list we interacted with:
How do you know how to do this? Will you be a bar? Or a night club?
City zoning commission
Will you be a restaurant?
Neighborhood business association
How many seats will your restaurant have?
County Planning Department
What kind of food will you be serving? (Even if you continue to tell them you are not a restaurant, expect
Local Police Department
that many people will assume you are.)
beverage and had no complaints about them as a business. In
Will you have smokestacks?
fact the local business association likes to hold their monthly
Will there be an odor?
meetings in said tasting room. By using those who came before us
How will you dispose of waste?
as an example of the kind of business we want to be, many folks
What will your hours be?
were able to visualize our operation as a part of the community
How will you handle the increased traffic?
and quickly we were welcomed with open arms.
Now this communication campaign also opened a lot of doors What about security? How will you keep our kids out of for us. Bankers, lawyers, city councilmen, and brothers of liquor your operation? store owners all came and saw our presentations. Many were What about people who get drunk during your tastings?
more than willing to lend a helping hand, make an introduction or
What are you making again? (Again everyone seems to think you’re a brew pub even if you have told the crowd
inform us of someone else we needed to talk to. In fact, through
at least ten times that you are not.) Do you have the proper zoning?
this process we found out about a local job training program that is going to help us get our staff specialized hands on experience we would not have been able to afford otherwise. We also learned just as much about zoning, noise ordinances
Will you be a strain on local infrastructure?
and special tax districts from the people in our community as
Will you be a blight on our community?
we did from the folks at city hall. Oh, and I forgot to mention
As you can see most of these questions can be boiled down to
the best part all of this communicating we have been doing: the visits to our website are growing every month; we are gaining
one thing: overcoming stereotypes. When you start to explain that new Facebook friends and Twitter followers’ every day. By your operation is a small craft food company that will enhance simply communicating our vision we have rallied our community a local community, not detract from it, many of these interested
around our cause rather than fighting them to be in existence.
parties will quickly flip to
But it is all because we
your side. In fact, in our
were proactive, because
own experience we got
everyone. We just had to get past the initial concerns that we wanted to locate a Jack Daniels size operation right in the heart of the city. When they found out that we could fit our first month’s worth of product
“By simply communicating our vision we have rallied our community around our cause rather than fighting them to be in existence.”
because we let anyone who wanted to be involved have a voice before we went ahead and built our facility. And that kind of support is going to make all the difference when we open our doors to the public in a few months. It is truly a pleasure to be a part of this exciting
in the back of a hatchback
and rapidly evolving craft
they started to sing a very
distilling industry and I
different tune. The key here again is communication, most of the
hope you have found this information to be helpful. If you’re
folks initially thought we were going to be a massive industrial
ever in Rochester NY, you will have to look us up and stop in
complex full of valves and pipes and smokestacks with trucks
for a taste so you, too, can share our little slice of the American
coming and going at all hours of the day and night.
Now we were also very lucky, we had a local microbrewery nearby that we could use as an example. Almost everyone in the Jason Barrett is a Distiller and Managing Member for 24Ligne LLC community had been to their tasting room, enjoyed a fine craft in Rochester, NY. For more information visit call (703) 791-9702 .
Closer than Local the Stein Distillery Family Written by Chris Lozier — Photos courtesy of Stein Distillery “The long bar in the tasting room is often lined with customers
They held a family conference and gave the idea serious
for its entire length during the summer months,” say Stein
consideration. To start a craft distillery in Joseph, they would
Distillery owners, Austin and Heather Stein. Behind the bar, be pioneers in the area. The closest distilling neighbors were a large bank of windows frames the distilling operation. Here, a four-hour drive away in Boise, Idaho, so there would be no customers can view the beautiful Arnold Holstein still and the
local distilling community to promote sales. To make this work,
American white oak barrels while talking with the artisans that they would have to stand on their own in the region and make make it happen. It takes a wide variety of resources and talents to build a good
noteworthy spirits. They knew the likelihood of making a distillery a reality, and
craft distillery, and it takes a great commitment to combine
more importantly a successful reality, was not certain for anyone.
them all into a unified effort. But the close relationships the
But they also knew that they had a few advantages that many
artisans have with each other, with their ingredients and with
distilleries did not. They formed a plan with the faith that they
their purpose is what makes a distillery better than just good. could overcome all the challenges, using with the skills they had Stein Distillery of Joseph, Oregon is one of the success stories in craft distilling because they not only have the resources and talents, they have them all in one place and one family.
in their own family. To begin with, Heather has a great deal of contracting and legal experience. Helpful, considering one of the biggest challenges
Austin and Heather Stein founded the distillery in 2006. For new craft distillers face is obtaining licensing. “The most three generations, the Steins have been growing grain at their difficult part was dealing with all the paperwork required by the family farm just outside of Joseph. But in the early 2000’s, grain State and Federal Government to open a distillery,” she says. It prices were so low and costs were so high that they weren’t
took almost a year, working on the paperwork when she had time,
always making a profit. Austin said the family discussed ways
but fortunately Heather was able to clear all of the government
to keep growing grain and “a distillery came up as one option.”
hurdles herself, something that many distilleries would have to
seek professional legal assistance to do.
spirits and last year they sold more than 1270 cases.
Completing the paperwork was just the beginning. To receive
In just over three years, they have increased their production
their permits and licenses, they needed to have a working
six times. Heather attributes their growth to the quality of
distillery that could pass inspection. Austin, Heather and their their spirits, saying, “We are not rushing into our products. We accountant and bookkeeper, Austin’s mother Diana Stein, had
are ensuring what we make and sell is a great product that
to secure enough capital to buy two lots in Joseph, build the
consumers will enjoy and come back to purchase again.” From
facility and fill it with extremely expensive distillation equipment, the beginning, they have focused on quality over quantity, and all with no guarantee that they would be able to make spirits. If Austin says their spirits “speak for themselves.” the permits and licensing were denied, they would have been
Stein Distillery employs this philosophy of quality throughout
stuck with not only
the entire process,
the debt but also a
and it starts in the
building and a pile
field. One of the
of equipment they
had no use for. Still
of craft distilling
they kept to the
forward with the
had what it took to
means that they
make their dream a
possible as locally
After buying the land, they again
family to build the
facility. The Stein
family has been in
added benefit of
this group, some
have built a good
of them even grow
name for themselves with the quality of their work. Austin’s
their own ingredients. While the majority of this small population
brother Adam and their father Dan broke ground in 2008, and
of grower/distillers grows fruit, a very small number of rare
by 2009 the father, son and their crew had a 6000 square foot distillers grow grain. facility ready to go.
Dan and Austin Stein plant, irrigate, harvest and mash the
They ordered an Arnold Holstein still from Germany and tanks
grain on site at their family farm. While neutral grain spirits would
from Austria. “When the equipment arrived it was in pieces in
be less expensive to produce, Austin says that raw grain spirits
three large crates and the manufacturer neglected to include “hold a bolder, more flavorful profile,” reducing the ethanol taste a manual,” said Austin. Like all the challenges before, the
of lesser quality spirits. Throughout the summer, they grow
solution had the last name of Stein. Austin used his equipment
wheat, barley and rye, and this diversity in grains allows them
installation experience and the ingenuity inherent to his name to
to produce many different spirits. Along with the rye vodka, they
assemble the equipment for the inspection.
make rye whiskey, blended whiskey, bourbon, Steinshine, light
They did everything right and received the licenses and permits
rum, whiskey barrel aged dark rum and wheat based rhubarb,
they needed. In November 2009 they began producing rye vodka, huckleberry, blackberry and raspberry cordials. and in 13 months they had expanded their lineup to five kinds
While the 10,000-foot Wallowa Mountains that flank their
of spirits. Within two and a half years, they were producing 11 farm are beautiful, they bring cold nights, early frosts and a short
growing season. Though they can grow the grain and the rhubarb, the climate prevents them from growing the corn, blackberries, huckleberries and raspberries themselves. They buy the corn from Dan Stein’s cousin who has a farm a few hours down the road in Hermiston, Oregon. All of the berries are Oregon-grown, as well, and Stein uses this real fruit in their cordials instead of flavorings. While good quality flavorings are available, the crew at Stein uses real fruit to keep the process complete. They believe the integrity of their spirits becomes the integrity of their brand.
For Vodka, Whiskey and Other Fine Spirits
The quality of the dry ingredients is just part of the equation, and the relationship between the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients is just as close as the relationships between the distillers. Stein uses pure glacial water that travels only a few miles from its source high in the Wallowa Mountains to the bottle. When the glacial snow and ice melts, the water pours quickly down over waterfalls and through jagged alpine canyons into glacially carved Wallowa Lake. On the backside of this lake’s
Custom built stills to suit all of your distilling needs
eastern glacial moraine is the Stein family farm, and on the north end of the lake is the distillery. The cold water that flows from the lake to irrigate the grain at the farm is the same water that grain is distilled with three miles away at the distillery. To avoid the chlorine taste municipal purification would impart to the spirits, the Steins had a well drilled. As a result, the pure water they use to distill the spirits is sourced from directly beneath the distillery. So when you pick up a bottle of their rye whiskey, rye vodka or rhubarb cordial, the three spirits they completely produce every aspect of, none of the ingredients inside were ever more than a few miles away from each other at any time. At Stein, the close relationship of the high quality ingredients and the close relationship of the crew combine to make a perfect representation of what craft spirits really are. They are the combined essence of a place, of their ingredients and of their artisans’ purpose. The closer the relationships are between these parts, the better the quality of the whole product. Everyone on board has been involved since the beginning so they are all on the same page. From the sewing of the grain to the bottling and marketing, the same close group of people controls the entire process, leaving no loose ends. Each member of the
German Craftsmanship at its best for over 80 years
crew has worked hard to build the business into the success that it is. They know the distillery’s history and direction because they are part of it, and this unity of purpose results in the highest quality spirits.
Stein Distillery is located in Joseph, Oregon. They distribute throughout Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee. For more info visit www.steindistillery.com or call (541) 432-2009.
Rogue S p irits a conversation with Jack Joyce written by Brian Christensen pHOTOs courtesy of Rogue Nation
hat comes to mind when you hear the word “craft”? driven desire to try something new. In 1995, Oregon State Most
scale introduced new legislation that allowed anyone with a pre-existing
production”. By definition this is correct, but something tends to brewpub to pay a one-time fee of $100 for a distiller’s license. happen as companies start to find success. They grow. By “craft” Simultaneously, Rogue’s millwright mentioned that he had standards, Rogue Ales & Spirits is big — really big. They have learned how to build a still while working as a merchant seaman. over 300 employees, and have been selling their products in all And with that, Rogue spirits was born. 50 states for over a decade. At a point like this, there seems to be no way that a company can retain its “craft” standards. It must inevitably give up a part of its soul, sell out, and become corporate. Or so I thought. This preconception was shattered the
the Rogue Spirits family:
first time I spoke with Jack Joyce, owner and CEO of Rogue, and
Oregon Single Malt Whiskey
he told me, “Most things here happen by accident; we don’t plan
Dead Guy Whiskey
Hazelnut Spice Rum
In fact, Jack doesn’t much care for the classic corporate culture or standard business operations. He had no intention of following
in anyone else’s tracks, or copying a tried and true model of
business. By way of explanation, Jack shared the story of David and Goliath, including a few key details most people leave out,
Pink Spruce Gin
“First David went out with a shield and spear like Goliath, but
he saw he would get his ass kicked. Don’t take someone on by
“We make something that we like; the rest will come on its own.”
The millwright, turned still fabricator, began work creating Rogue’s first still from scratch. According to Jack he chose not to purchase that first still elsewhere for a simple reason, “It’s better to build a solution then to buy solutions.” You can add one more job listing to Jack’s, and by association Rogue’s, resume: Farmer. Rogue made the decision that they wanted more direct control over their supply of ingredients. With a large supplier they had no guarantee that their preferred breed
So instead Rogue follows a simple code, “We make something of aroma hops would be available long term. In addition, Jack that we like; the rest will come on its own.” That started in 1988 had no way of knowing where their ingredients were harvested. when Jack first started making beer that he liked. It’s worth noting By growing their own, they ensured a steady supply of raw that prior to founding Rogue, Jack spent 15 years practicing law, ingredients and gained the ability to tell their customers exactly went on to raise cattle in the 70s, and then worked as a VP of where everything comes from. Yet, as any farmer would warn you, Nike for 6 years. “I didn’t want to be president of a billion dollar the trade hasn’t come without risks as Rogue learned recently company; it was time to start something new,” explained Jack. when an entire crop of rye was wiped out. “That’s when you Rogue went on to create an impressive and diverse line of craft know you’re a farmer.” But Jack remains proud of their decision brews that captured the imagination of their loyal fan base.
saying, “It’s not cheaper… but you can tell them (the customers)
Ten years ago, Rogue decided to bring their personal touch the truth.” to the craft distilling arena. But true to form, it wasn’t about
Honesty is something Rogue has chosen to hang their hat on.
diversifying their holdings or developing a new revenue stream. When asked why more people and businesses don’t speak their Instead, it was a combination of good timing and an employee mind as he himself does, Jack responded quickly, “They are afraid,
there’s no road-map. They
asked for a final piece of
don’t know what people
advice for up and coming
will say or think. I grew
distillers, Jack wasn’t shy.
up not caring what people
“Don’t quit your day job…
Rogue is also
start small… don’t have
very proud of their roots
a 10 year plan — do a 1
year plan.” And perhaps
of pioneering. “America
most importantly, “Build
doesn’t give itself enough
your brand with trust. Be
credit. We are far more
trusted for something.”
The final question I put
else today, and American
to Jack, was if he had
consumers are innovative
any intention of repeating
too. Even our retailers are
his adventurous history
willing to innovate and be
and starting any new and
adventuresome. We are risk-takers.”
grand adventures. His answer did not disappoint. “I’ve got at
Rogue has made it a point to support their fellow risk takers least one more in me, I’m just not sure what it is yet.” I can’t whenever they can. Furthering that goal, they have taken a leading wait to see what surprises Jack and Rogue have in store for the role in the craft industry by staging the yearly Great American future. Distillers Festival in Portland, Oregon. Jack suggests that fellow distillers and enthusiasts alike “Join everything you can. Be a Rogue Spirits are headquartered in Newport, Oregon. For more info part of as many things as possible. Misery loves company.” When visit www.rogue.com or call (541) 867-3660.
.make Sure you don’t miSS a Single iSSue.
$20 for A WhoLe yeAr of eDucATion, inSiGhT, neWS, revieWS, inTervieWS, AnD more.
This Little Brand >>>>>>>>>>>> Went to Market >>>>>>>>>>>>>> written By Scott Schiller
So, you now have a product that is ready for. ask all of our fine distributor colleagues to appreciate and support. the market. The “D” word now enters the equation. Many But even if you go down that path, you’re still going to need to small distillers and brand owners often fear distributors. These
work with a distributor to sell your product with the outside world.
thoughts may sound familiar: “They are a necessary evil.” “It is a As such, let me share with you some things to build a successful monopoly.” “It is not fair.” “I will just start my own distributorship relationship with a distributor. and sell direct; my cousin owns a sweet conversion van that I can
Distributors sell things that they personally do not drink and
use”. While that ‘87 Astro, with the rear built-in cooler option is
know are not the best, but they sell them because the consumer
indeed sweet, the fact of the matter is that the 3-tier system may
buys them. While your product may taste better, look better, etc.,
be one of the best things to ever happen to small brand owners.
etc. than the bigger brands represented at your distributor, these
Would you ever want to maintain a fleet of trucks, research
bigger brands pay the majority of the distributor’s overhead,
every licensee and the “current” decision maker, set up an
are supported by multi-million dollar marketing budgets, offer
appointment with the buyer for two weeks in advance (knowing that they may not remember as they have their own business to run), and track them down for payment for the (2) bottles you sold them thirty days ago? Thanks to distributors, most financial and marketing plans don’t have to account for such expenses and challenges. Now of course there is the issue of selling direct to
Two Realities To Keep In Mind >>>>>>>
sales personnel that work
The market does not need another alcoholic
in the market alongside the
beverage >> If you have failed to create a unique
brand/offering why should the consumer care?
these bigger brands are volume
Distributors are not obligated to represent products >> If you do not have the means to in
invest their resources to build YOUR business? The truth is, just because you want to enter the market, does not mean a distributor has to represent you.
sellers, it takes virtually no time for them to sell. And as distributor reps work largely on commission, for every minute they spend hand-selling one bottle of your product, they can unload cases of the other. The large brands pay the rep’s
consumers on site at your
To be absolutely clear, I fully believe that, when done
mortgage, the boutique ones
distillery, which I am a very
correctly, there is an amazing opportunity for new products
may occasionally pay for a
large proponent of and would
to be successful in today’s market.
Now that the great secret is out, that distributors are in business to make money, how do YOU help them do that?
by independent companies. Controlled markets are where the individual state has some authority/ownership over the physical distribution of products via product listing, warehousing, physical
Three Ways To help distributors succeed >>
distribution, and or retail stores. Most suppliers shy away from control states as they are often perceived as being more reserved
Plan objectives with them and mutually commit to
and a little trickier to navigate. However this also means that
the elements that will be required >> What does
there is usually a lot less competition! So, if you take my advice “ideal” look like for you and is it reasonable to them? and invest in marketing activities and sales personnel, your What are some market insights that both of you should be likelihood of success in a control state is often far greater than
aware of? What are the top accounts you want to target
that of a similar open state.
and how many cases should be expected to be sold over
So, once you do have an interested distributor, be sure that the course of the year? How often will goals be measured? you understand what they will bring to the relationship. What will happen if we are falling short, what will happen if we are exceeding?
Four Considerations before you sign >>>>
Provide the tools and training for their personnel
to be successful >> Sell sheets, brief videos, press, and budgets for items such as menu placements and incentives are vital. It is also important that you check back in with the sales teams semi-annually to refresh them on the brands and to update them on key happenings and success stories. Help sell >> Work the marketplace not only alongside
the distributor on work-withs, but physically target key accounts on your own and help sell in your products for them. (Note: This does not mean taking a PO or delivering product. Be sure to check each state’s laws and permitting on supplier soliciting. Also be sure to keep your distributor in the loop of your activities through detailed follow-up and notes.)
A key thing that you should do before any of this is to determine market selection. If you hold the belief that you want to launch
Market & Account-type coverage >> Does the distributor physically cover the entire state, and what type of accounts do they really cater to? As an example, a wine- focused distributor may cover the entire State of Illinois, but their only consistent focus is white tablecloth restaurants in metro Chicago.
2 3 4
Financial support >> What are their policies on paying for samples and pricing discounts? Is this distributor willing to invest a certain percentage back into your brands, or for certain costs/opportunities? Buying policies >> Will they commit to certain case minimums per order, or minimum annual volumes? National strategy >> Is this particular distributor a part of, or aligned with, any other distributors in other markets that can help you grow?
your brand in NYC, followed by South Beach, followed by L.A.,
Overall, be patient. I am not suggesting you worship the with a potential launch in Vegas on the way there; be warned that distributor, but be understanding and look at the relationship you will be waiting in the distributors’ lobby with a large group over the long-term. Also, do not sign with a distributor you know of people. All with Tommy Bahama martini edition short sleeve
is not the right fit. If your brand performs poorly, it is very hard
shirts on, and all with the same strategy. Every company in the
to convince another distributor to bring you on. Remember, great world wants to compete in those markets and often spend their brands are not built overnight. It takes lots of little wins over entire budgets in those same markets. While it may not be sexy several years to prove that your brand has what it takes to be to say that you are the number one vodka in Dayton, OH, the
cases will speak for themselves. Not to mention the cost to sell them there will be far less, meaning far more profit for you.
Scott Schiller is a fifth generation distiller and Managing
This also brings up another key point: open versus controlled Director of Thoroughbred Brands. For more information visit markets. Open markets are where distribution is fully handled www.ThoroughbredBrands.com or call (502) 533-7071.
The Golden Age of Spirits
By David S. Mayne
Golden Age of Spirits we need to take
Less than a hundred years ago
a trip in the way back machine and
including all future generations would
got involved with alcohol in the first
and some history.
again. They created a constitutional
we were hunter-gatherers. I have
at Wildwood in Portland, Oregon.
alcoholic beverages would be forever
tribes found some type of fermenting
Csanky does a special thing with gin
my drink and glanced across the bar
properties. There are many cases in
a drink of his choice. He returned
cocktails. How historically ironic, I
We live in the greatest time in the
history of the world — the golden age
explain why as I offer an anecdote
never be able to enjoy a legal drink
of distilled spirits and cocktails. I’ll
Recently, I enjoyed Happy Hour
amendment to insure that drinking banned. I thought of this as I sipped
see the big picture of how humans
place. For most of human history
no doubt that at some point various
fruit and discovered its mind altering
at a group of women enjoying their
nature of animals doing just that.
with a Gin & Tonic. Ah the Gin &
thought, considering in large degree
years ago when humans made a
Empire during the first ugly phase
Prohibition in the first place.
permanent agricultural settlements
contraire Ryan’s Gin & Tonic was
the asteroid that wiped out the
on Earth 65 million years ago. Only
evolutionary significant — surplus
cocktails so I asked him to make me
Tonic, the drink that helped save an
it was women who helped bring about
But it wasn’t until about 11,000
dramatic shift into a new lifestyle —
that our booze drinking history really
one of the best cocktails I’ve ever
dinosaurs and nearly killed off all life
With agriculture you get something
made my taste buds swim in ecstasy.
a small handful of distillers survived
of globalization. Boring you say, au
had with a rich flavor spectrum that It tasted so good it wasn’t fair.
Perhaps it was because Ryan
Csanky distills the Aria Gin himself. He also makes the tonic water. This
was no bathtub gin and tonic. It
made me appreciate the phenomenal
level of artisanship now available to
the spirits drinker and it all almost
Prohibition and it set the craft back for decades.
important things — a division of
labor to perpetuate that surplus, a
government to manage that labor,
The beginning of booze
plus professional armies to protect
that surplus from outsiders who
want to steal it. Best of all, surplus
But I am getting ahead of myself
food created leisure time. Time to be
understand why we are living in The
that surplus fruit and grain into beer
creative and figure out how to turn
Nectar of the gods So as villages grew into towns
that then became city-states the
first empires developed. Humans recognizing that the beer and wine
were awesome — the greatest thing since fire — decided that various
Gods, Ninkasi and Bacchus (to name a few) must have been responsible for their creation.
Ancient civilizations immediately
put these beverages to good use.
Beer paid for the pyramids, and in newly democratic Greece the smart
folk were all drinking wine (mixed
with water) and enjoying wild sexy bacchanalias and don’t even get me started on the Romans.
But what about distilled spirits
you ask? Those would require a
technological innovation that lay beyond the Egyptian, Greek and
Roman civilizations. Why? Because
they were pre-scientific, slave based
societies that were conservative in
their view of change. If you’ve got slaves to do your work, then you’re
machines to do it for you. Without
a scientific outlook on the world you
don’t question things as much. So you
innovate a lot less and your society stays the same for a long, long time.
The Water of Life It wasn’t until the so-called dark
ages that the breakthrough in spirits occurred. While Western Europe was
muddling around the Islamic world
was kicking butt. They had innovative sailing ships, a vast trading empire
and after rediscovering ancient Greek
texts they were beginning to practice
a rudimentary form of science. One
streets. In order to make an honest
man who you have probably never
days wage many monks started
started it all by inventing the alembic
medieval marketplace. Over the next
heard of is Jabir Ibn Hayyan, who
plying their distilling skills in the
still and turning wine into the ‘water
100 years distilling became widely
of chemistry and he described the
products very popular.
of life’. Jabir is considered the father
substance his still produced as “of
little use but of great importance to science.” Silly man.
Monks have all the fun
beverages using lots of interesting raw materials get made over the next
few hundred years. Empires and
Kingdoms rise and fall and spirits
follow wherever humans go. In 17th
century London there was a Gin
The bummer for him and his
Craze followed by a Gin Epidemic.
not enjoy the benefits of his discovery.
Meanwhile in the new world
Islamic compatriots was they could
The Koran forbade the drinking of alcohol, an Arabic word. Now flash forward to the Middle Ages where
distilling is now in the province of
democracy gets fueled by taxes on
several hundred years later through
The-World might have been preceded
employed the Alembic still to create
Washington distills whiskey at home
still produced was considered a
Pennsylvania in 1794 to put down a
Catholic monks. It reached them both invasions and trade. The Monks medicine. The water of life that the
by several shots of rum. George
in Virginia while sending troops to
panacea for just about everything.
Whiskey rebellion. The public got so
the time it probably was. They also
inaugural party they were booted out
Considering the state of medicine at
added medicinal herbs to alcohol that
drunk on spirits at Andrew Jackson’s of the White house in order to save
both concentrated and preserved
the furniture. Hard cider helped
presidency in 1840.
their healing properties. Can you say
The Dissolution of the Monasteries Then in 15th century Britain King
Henry VIII decides to suddenly go all
Protestant and in an event called The
Dissolution of the Monasteries he
takes over (some would say pillage) all the Catholic properties in his
elect William Henry Harrison to the
In the mid to late 1800’s the art of
the cocktail is developed. The father of bartending, Jerry Thomas creates
the first cocktail bible in 1862. But
fancy cocktails were not a drink of
the middle and working class and
definitely not a drink that women
could enjoy. In America women
weren’t allowed to drink in public at all.
realm, forcing the monks out on the
42 42 www.ArtisanSpiritmag.com www.ArtisanSpiritmag.com
a dry spell Back
consuming gallons more alcoholic
beverages per person than we do
today and this lack of self-control
turned America into a Nation of
Drunkards. That in turn fueled the temperance
mostly by women who had been
excluded from the male only saloon culture. Women of that time had
absolutely no rights and were often
the victims of drunken abusive
husbands who spent all their family’s money in saloons.
Near the turn of the 20th century
the Women’s Christian Temperance
13 long dry years where among other
from tainted spirits the public had
occurring. We’ve gone from about 50
social disasters 13,000 people died
renaissance in craft spirit making is
groups who realized Prohibition had
The variety and quality of what they
Democrats gave America a New Deal
is truly astounding.
the support of new secular women’s been a mistake, Roosevelt and the
in 1932. That New Deal included the right to drink again. Yeah!
The golden age Today we live in a new and strange
collectively swimming in an uber
surplus of food, energy, information
and free time. Our extreme wealth,
liquors and beers toward handmade
revolt away from mass produced
spirits. Thanks to more enlightened regulations
across 45 states in less than ten years. are producing solely for our pleasure
So revel in your time! Go out and
start sampling some craft spirits
and the new cocktails that creative
politically crafty Anti Saloon League
disaster of Prohibition. Then after
micro-distilleries to over 250 spread
historically speaking, has fueled a
joined forces to bring about the
reached a tipping point. Thanks to
Union, the largest organization in the United States at the time and the
bartenders are concocting with them.
Please remember to think and drink responsibly.
David S. Mayne is series creator and host of Happy Hour History, an exciting new Internet series that begins with a cocktail and connects it to an important historical event that changed our modern world forever. At the show’s conclusion a notable guest mixologist will demonstrate how you can make the featured cocktail at home. For more info visit www.youtube.com/happyhourhistory
Hammer Time Written by Rockwell Rutter // Photo courtesy of Craftsman Copper
ou can hear the sound of the hammer hitting metal even
itself is expensive enough, but factoring in shipping, import
before you enter the shop. With each blow, the metal is
taxes and insurance makes it nearly cost-prohibitive, especially
for those on a limited
much like the way
a beach with every
remove some of these
wave. James Davies,
owner of Craftsman
getting some attention
Copper (Olympia, WA),
for it. The Kymar Farm
knows that in those
Distillery in Schoharie
County, CT recently
where the magic lies.
In the 19 years he’s
Copper to produce a
been smithing copper,
700-liter alembic still
for their operation. It’s
an expert in shaping
their largest project to
and forming a piece of
date, but James isn’t
metal to very exacting
worried. “So far it has
been a great challenge
gotten his start in
and a LOT of work, but
in the end it will all be
fixtures, he was eager to expand his product line
few more interesting
worth it.” Just
States doesn’t mean
options. After doing
you have to sacrifice
buddies in the craft
takes pride in the
brewing industry, becoming an artisan still manufacturer seemed
appearance of their final products, emphasizing that copper
like a natural fit.
smithing is just as much art as it is science. Says James, “I
Many of our readers know the difficult and exhausting process
think the idea of creating a beautiful still that works as well as it
that comes with buying a still from overseas. Paying for the still
looks is tantamount to every small batch distiller.” James earned
a Fine Art degree from The Evergreen State College, and uses those principles throughout the still design process. “Everyone wants something they can display with pride, something to be the centerpiece of their facility.” Being a true craftsman is what James is all about. This means not cutting corners and focusing on quality above all else. For example, on the big project for Kymar Farm, James estimates he’s swung that hammer over 25,000 times and he’s not even close to being done. Upon completion though, Kymar Farms will have the distinction of having a still that was painstakingly handcrafted and customized precisely for them. Going forward, James has big plans for the future. In a world where artisan occupations are quickly dying out in favor of mass-marketed manufacturing outfits, his commitment to quality copper smithing is unwavering. James plans to begin passing on his knowledge and expertise to interested young people, thereby creating the next generation of skilled copper craftsmen. “It’s important to make sure that the art of what I do is not lost to time.”
Artisan Craft Distilling Your First Big Step to the Next Big Thing!
Craftsman Copper is based in Olympia, WA. For more information visit www.craftsmancopper.com or call (360) 486-4962.
Week long workshops dedicated to training those who want to start their own artisan craft distillery. Intensive classroom curriculum includes: Legal | Financial | Business Plans Plus! Hands-on full batch runs in a distillery Extensive networking
2013 Workshop Schedule Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada February 25 - March 1 Heritage Distilling Company Gig Harbor, WA March 11-15 (sold out) June 24-28 | September 16-20 | November 4-8 (Additional regional training to be added as requested)
Join us! Register today at
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The beautiful Wallowa Lake, source of all water needed to produce Stein Distilleryâ€™s spirits.. Read their story on page 33. Photo by Zach Mansfield
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