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SPRING 2015

THE INTREPID LIFE OF one BARREL

squeeze

MORE MONEY  OUT OF YOUR MASH



?

ASS IN AMBASSADOR

DO YOU PUT THE

7

RULES FOR YOUR NEXT

BIG TASTING EVENT defining

“ THING OF VALUE”


TABLE of CONTENTS A LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

8

THE LIFE OF A BARREL70 Follow a barrel through it’s biography-worthy life

THINK OUTSIDE THE MODEL AND THE BOTTLE

11

A word from John McKee

MEET ME IN MONTANA

74

Willie’s Distillery of Ennis, Montana

TIED-HOUSE POLICY AND THINGS OF VALUE14 Beyond the basics

DSP FEDERAL REPORTING

77

Monthly Report of Production Operations TTB Form 5110.40

CALIBRATING PEOPLE

19

Johnny’s Art & Science of Distillation Column

BARREL CHEAT-SHEET

80

Croze? Tyloses? Microxygenation? Take a peek at our notes.

THE FIELD GUIDE TO DRINKING IN AMERICA

22

A Traveler’s Handbook to State Liquor Laws by Niki Ganong

YOUR NEXT MARKET IS…ABROAD

27

Exporting may be the best new market for your spirits

7 RULES FOR YOUR NEXT BIG TASTING EVENT31 Lessons learned at Distill America 2015

2015 AMERICAN CRAFT SPIRITS ASSOCIATION CONVENTION

35

Overview and medal winners

ALLERGENS39 In alcohol and on the label

BUD’S INFAMOUS AD

Squeeze more money out of your mash

NAVIGATING BUILDING & FIRE CODE CHALLENGES

86

Moderate vs High Hazard Classification

HOW TO LEASE EQUIPMENT

90

with Boston Capital Leasing

MEASURING AND CALCULATING ALCOHOL IN DISTILLED SPIRITS AND LIQUEURS

94

Emphasis on Contemporary High-Extract Containing Spirits

43

DON’T BE AN ASSHOLE98

46

GAS CHROMATOGRAPHY AND THE MODERN CRAFT DISTILLER

Could we see the same from big distillers?

ALL IN THE FAMILY

OPTIMIZING DISTILLERY PROFITS BY IMPROVING YIELDS82

Family first, business second

Wield your knowledge with kindness

100

Rum 103

STAVE & THIEF SOCIETY

51

The Bourbon Sommelier

ST. GEORGE SPIRITS

54

IF WE LABEL IT “CRAFT,” THEY WILL COME… OR WILL THEY? 103 What do consumers really want?

of Alameda, California

WHY OAK?

59

SAN ANTONIO COCKTAIL CONFERENCE

105

Imbibing for a cause

Strength, Durability, Purity, Flavor

THE WHOLE PACKAGE

62

DIY: PORTABLE MIXER/ AGITATOR

108

Build it yourself

Notes from Artisan Spirit’s first workshop

SLOE DANCING

65

ADVERTISER INDEX

Spirit Works Distillery of Sebastopol, California

from the COVER

St. George Spirits in Alameda, California. Image by Amanda Joy Christensen. See their story on page 54.

110


Issue 10 /// Spring 2015 PUBLISHER & EDITOR CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Brian Christensen

Amanda Joy Christensen

CONTRIBUTORS Luis Ayala Julie Bryant Chad Chriestenson Amber G. Christensen-Smith Patrick Heist Morgan J. Hurley Johnny Jeffery Pennfield Jensen Heidi Karasch Chris Lozier Neal MacDonald

         

ILLUSTRATOR

Ryan Malkin Jim McCoy John McKee Carter Raff Jeanne Runkle Steven Seim Kellie Shevlin Alan Smithee Marc E. Sorini Gary Spedding Alice Seim

PHOTOGRAPHERS Amanda Joy Christensen Jason Parker Carter Raff

  

SALES & MARKETING

Jason Risner Brenton Salo Paola Thomas Ashley Monroe

innovative & custom solutions

20+ years experience 100% dedicated customer service

ARTISAN SPIRIT is the endorsed publication of the American Craft Spirits Association. ARTISAN SPIRIT is a quarterly publication by Artisan Spirit Media. www.artisanspiritmag.com facebook.com/ArtisanSpiritMagazine

gdchillers.com

twitter.com/ArtisanSpiritM

1.800.555.0973 General Inquiries (509) 944-5919 Advertising (509) 991-8112 PO Box 31494, Spokane, WA 99223 All contents © 2015. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced without the written consent of the publisher. Neither Artisan Spirit Media nor ARTISAN SPIRIT magazine assume responsibility for errors in content, photos or advertisements. While ARTISAN SPIRIT makes every effort to ensure accuracy in our content, the information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. We urge our readers to consult with professional service providers to meet their unique needs. 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.


LEARN FROM OTHERS. It’s no secret that craft distillers can learn a great deal from their brewing brethren. But what other lessons can be sought from a wider range of industries? Everything from the hospitality industry’s experience in customer service and the food industry’s branding successes, to the innovations found in cider and mead. What lessons can distillers learn from other industries?

From craft distillers to cooperages, this industry is attracting a lot of attention from the general public. Being unique, local, handmade, etc...is becoming evermore sought after by consumers. Tours of your business are a good way to involve potential customers and community around you, to touch, feel, and see your craft first hand. Keep your tours to a specified time-frame each week to accommodate your production flow. — Heidi Karasch

There has been experimentation recently in the wine industry, but by and large, both wine makers and brewers know the great importance of temperature control during fermentation. In the distilling industry, there seems to be a growing consensus regarding proper fermentation practices, and the importance of controlling the fermentation temperature. There are a few distilleries in particular that pay great attention to fermentation, and I think that their attention to detail shows in the consistent quality and flavor of their product. Breckenridge and Smooth Ambler are two that come to mind. — Paul Johnson

We’ve worked with entrepreneurs in the beverage business for over 20 years. One principle that always stays true: stick to what you know. Trends will always have some influence on the consumer, and there is an art to riding that wave. However, creating a solid foundation with good, quality products and building from that core will be what sustains the brand. While consumers love choices, the value they place on quality and consistency creates brand loyalty. — Colleen Thomas

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Our mission at ARTISAN SPIRIT is to share and celebrate the art and science of artisan craft distilling. We are humbled by the support of our sponsors. With their help, we can further our common goals of supporting creativity, innovation, and integrity within the industry One of the most valuable tips our customers could provide is we all love so to start thinking about your spirits bottle as early as possible so much. that both the functional and branding requirements are factored into the package design from the start. Distillers otherwise may invest too much time and money in the conceptual stage, only to find that the finished design creates challenges in manufacturing, filling or shipping. — Danielle Catley

Here is a tip from our own industry and experience. At times we have introduced new products to cool receptions and later, when one brave company buys the product, magically others follow suit. Customers like to play it safe and it takes them longer to accept changes than anticipated. Keep innovating! — Kevin Dunbar

IL DIST D PRO BY

LERY

S UCT

L AS

ER-O

N

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A LETTER FROM THE EDITOR: If you don’t put something in writing or say it out loud, and it just lives in your head, can you ever really be held accountable for it?

That question struck me after getting a letter from a fan not long ago. I say a letter from a fan, and not a “fan letter,” because while it was very complimentary it had a catch, a warning if you will: “I only hope as you become more successful you do not turn into something that loses its startup feel.” An ominous, but fair warning. Yet, I don’t expect, or even want Artisan Spirit magazine to stay a “startup” forever. In some ways we are past that descriptor having made it past the magic two year danger zone most new business constantly hear about. But I think I get the point. Success and time has a way of eroding away at values and philosophy. Admittedly, our set of values was pretty much made

So, let’s make it official. These are the things we strive for internally and encourage in the industry as a whole:

»» Honesty, integrity, and transparency »» Promote the stewardship of knowledge »» Equal opportunity »» Lifelong learning »» Collaboration and teamwork »» Rising tide floats all boats »» Always provide more content than advertising »» Be profitable, this is still a business

up on the spot, but they mean a lot to us. The problem

This isn’t enough to make Artisan Spirit bulletproof

highlighted by our fan was, we know them and live

to the erosion of time and success, but hopefully it will

by them, but we have never really put ourselves in a

help to keep us honest, and give you a chance to call us

position to be accountable to them. That’s a problem

out if we ever fall short.

because if they really do mean something we need to

As always, we want to hear from you. Whether you

make sure we can measure ourselves against them not

have a concern, a story idea, or a thumbs up, we’re just

just now, but months and years from now.

a phone call or email away. We’re in this together, and we’re looking forward to sharing the journey with you!

Brian Christensen

CALL:

(509) 944-5919

EMAIL:

brian@artisanspiritmag.com

WRITE: 

PO Box 31494 Spokane, WA 99223

8 WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM


Craft distilleries... you’ve got

our attention!

Rick Wehner Direct: 303.800.1063 Fax: 303.459.6968 Toll Free: 800.930.0570 Email: rickw@breweryfinance.com 615 Commerce Street, #101 Tacoma, WA 98402

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Partner. Grow. Succeed.


WRITTEN BY JOHN MCKEE

Make a white “whiskey, vodka, and

in Sebastopol, California is a great example of looking

outside

the

model and the bottle. Sure,

gin, use the revenue from

they have vodka, gin, and whiskey,

those sales to get you through until

but their crowning achievement is a distilled

your aged stocks are ready to sell.

and macerated Sloe Gin. This Sloe is a deep

It’s pretty much the standard business model of a new craft distillery, and for the first entrants to the industry, it actually worked really well. Ask the guys at Dry Fly Distilling, Death’s Door, or any number of the great first wave microdistilleries. However, how many of the second, third, _nth waves of microdistilleries have opened on that same model and been told by liquor stores, bar owners, and other accounts that they just aren’t interested in a white whiskey, gin or vodka - there are too many already out there. Which leaves the new distillery sitting on a business plan that doesn’t have legs. You’ve seen it happen; maybe it’s happened to you.

dark red, making Campari look watered down by comparison, made from a recipe they hold close and is hands down one of the top 20 spirits made by a microdistiller in America. It is unique, flavorful and abounding in something new. When they walk into a new account, they don’t lead with vodka or gin or white whiskey, they lead with the Sloe and when the account manager is blown away by what they just tasted, Spirit Works has kicked down the door for their other product lines. (Read more about them on page 65.) So too with New Deal Distillery in Portland,

Remember, you are a DSP, which stands for Distilled Spirits Plant, not a Distillery Spirits Plant. The difference is critical in charting a different path forward.

Oregon. Their Ginger Liqueur is a thoughtful and handcrafted product that fits into their markets like an apple falling on Newton’s head — people just get it, instantly. Like Spirit Works’ Sloe, this is not a flavor adjunct in NGS, it’s a handcrafted

SLOE GIN

WE NEED TO START THINKING ABOUT THINGS DIFFERENTLY

GINGER LIQUEUR WWW.NEWDEALDISTILLERY.COM/OUR-PRODUCTS/GINGER-LIQUEUR

this one before:

Spirit Works

LEARN MORE WWW.SPIRITWORKSDISTILLERY.COM/INDEX.PHP/SPIRITS-SLOE-GIN

S

top me if you’ve heard

THINK OUTSIDE THE MODEL AND THE BOTTLE

WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM 11


spirit, a milky liqueur with Ginger overflowing the bottle edges.

and Ralph’s advice is what led me to think outside the model

It’s amazing, and in my opinion also in the top 20. As above,

and the bottle.

with new accounts they open with the Ginger and soon thereafter

Spirit Works, New Deal, and “accidentally” Headframe

they’re being asked about the remainder of their product lines.

Spirits all found a niche product outside the traditional model

At Headframe Spirits, we had an accidental success in our

by thinking of products lower in the Standards of Identity than

Orphan Girl Bourbon Cream Liqueur. We originally intended it as our answer to people who, “Just didn’t like the hard stuff,” a lower proof cream liqueur. We thought it would be an interesting additional, but ultimately minor selling spirit in our portfolio — we too were following the model vodka, gin, white whiskey.

the first four subparts. As a result...

WE’VE TAPPED INTO THE DESIRE OF OUR MARKETS FOR SOMETHING BOTH NEW AND UNIQUE FROM A MICRO.

We were wrong. It is our biggest seller, quickly becoming the

I would suggest that if you follow Ralph’s advice (even if it

cornerstone of our entire brand. Hell, we even made a movie

was in answer to something totally different than the topic of

about it.

this article — sorry Ralph if I’ve gone somewhere with this that

The first ADI conference I attended about six years ago gave

you hadn’t intended) to look further, you might find something

me the best advice I’ve ever had from any spirits conference,

of interest and value not only to you but also to your customers.

which came from Ralph Erenzo at Tuthilltown. He looked out on the room, in response to a question, and said, “Read the

Cheers, John

Standards of Identity at least once a month.” I forget why he said that, but I’ve done it religiously ever since. In that document is your key to understanding our industry as Distilled Spirits Plants and not Distillery Spirits Plants. We don’t make cream for our liqueur, we make the hooch but not the cream,

John McKee, along with his wife Courtney, are the owners of Headframe Spirits in Butte, MT. When John isn’t writing under a deadline, he can be found adding great people to the “Good Guy Distillers” club. Join him? john@headframespirits.com

12 WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM


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BEYOND THE BASICS: TIED-HOUSE POLICY AND THINGS OF VALUE

Marc E. Sorini is a partner in the law firm of McDermott Will & Emery LLP, based in the Firm’s Washington D.C. office. He leads the Firm’s Alcohol Regulatory & Distribution Group, where he concentrates his practice on regulatory and litigation issues faced by suppliertier industry members. His practice for distillers includes distribution agreements, distribution counseling and litigation, product formulation, labeling, promotional compliance, compliance strategy, and federal and state tax and trade practice enforcement defense.

BY MARC E. SORINI

immediately after the repeal of Prohibition. At that time, many lawmakers and policy leaders viewed the “tie” between prehe Fall 2014 issue of Artisan Spirit magazine introduced Prohibition “saloons” and either distillers or brewers as a factor readers to the unusual and rather complicated legal concepts contributing to the drunkenness, illegal activity, and violence

T

arising from the “tied-house” laws. It covered the general found in those saloons. With retailers dominated by their concepts of: suppliers, the thought was that these retailers’ were forced to

a) Separating the retail tier from the upper tiers of the take actions against the interests of the local community. But – to state the obvious – this is not 1910, and it is fair to think

industry

b) Federal and state regulation in this area

critically about the policy underlying these laws. In particular, given the endless “tweaking” that these laws and regulations

c) The federal scheme prohibiting “inducements” leading undergo (especially at the state level), distillers would be wellto “exclusion”

d) Cross-tier ownership prohibitions e) Restrictions on upper-tier assistance to retailers.

served to form their own opinion about how tied-house laws fit or should fit into national and state alcohol policy. Unlike many other features of the current regulatory system

(e.g., the three-tier system, franchise law), tied-house laws This article takes readers a little deeper into the subject of arose in the 1930s immediately after the repeal of Prohibition. tied-house laws by pondering the policy behind them and Indeed, the celebrated 1933 (pre-repeal) treatise on regulating examining some hot topics on what constitutes prohibited “thing a newly-legalized alcohol beverage industry, Towards Liquor of value” assistance to retailers. But remember that tied-house Control, included tied-house among its recommendations for laws exist on the federal and state level, and that each state states regulating alcohol through a licensing system. But the has the authority to enact its own particular variations on the precise reasoning provided by the authors looks decidedly dated tied-house concept. While a few states simply adopt federal law, today (From Chapter 4, Page 29 of the Center for Alcohol Policy most have enacted their own statutes and regulations, leading 2011 Edition): to substantial variations between the laws of different states. As The ‘tied house’ system had all the vices of a result, no article could possibly capture all the complexities absentee ownership. The manufacturer knew involved, and distillers should seek their own counsel before nothing and cared nothing about the community. making a particular investment or running a particular marketing All he wanted was increased sales. He saw none of program. the abuses, and as a non-resident he was beyond

POLICY QUESTIONS Recall that the tied-house laws separating retailers from their

local social influence. Surely today no one can reasonably argue that a remote

producer and wholesale suppliers (lumped together as “industry manufacturer (or wholesaler or retailer) lies beyond social members” under the federal tied-house regulations) arose influence in this day of national and international broadcasting,

14 WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM


Google, and social media. Indeed, national alcohol policy today

“THING OF VALUE” Recall that in restricting assistance from manufacturers or

often is driven by local events (e.g., the Central Washington wholesalers to retailers, most tied-house laws prohibit a broad University students sickened after drinking Four Loko) that array of assistance culminating in the catch-all term – “thing of become magnified by today’s ubiquitous media. Moreover, the value.” To quote the federal tied-house regulation as an example, fear of remote manufacturer ownership seems selective and the law restricts the provision by industry members to retailers of

misplaced today given that most states routinely license massive “equipment, fixtures, signs, supplies, money, services, or other national retail chains – whose owners are absent and reside in things of value.” 27 C.F.R. § 6.21(c). Quite naturally, many another state or country – to sell and serve alcohol. distillers often ask what constitutes a “thing of value.” The early embrace of tied-house also requires some context.

The goal of the tied-house laws’ prohibition on assistance While many alcohol regulators today tend to place tied-house at or to retailers is designed to preserve retailer independence from near the center of alcohol control policy, Towards Liquor Control domination and control by suppliers and wholesalers. The framers dedicated just one page out of 98 (not including appendices) to of the statutes and regulations recognized, of course, that they the subject. Moreover, as its authors strongly favored a “control” could not anticipate every type of assistance imaginable. Thus,

model of regulation, the “tied-house” prohibition appeared as they included the “thing of value” language as a catch-all and, just one of ten specific recommendations for what they viewed as such, the law rarely even attempts to more precisely define as a sub-optimal regulatory system through licensing private the term. businesses.

Unfortunately, often a “thing of value” is simply So does that make tied-house law nothing but an anachronism? whatever the regulator with enforcement Perhaps, but perhaps not. Today, many view tied-house law as a authority over the law identifies as way to even the playing field for smaller producers and importers. one. Many state regulatory bodies In a system with open and legal “pay to play” dynamics, small turn out a steady stream of companies without massive promotional budgets might not interpretations of their tiedsucceed in penetrating the distribution system. Indeed, some house laws. Unfortunately, point to Europe – where the tied-house concept is largely few of these are published unknown – as an example of how pay-to-play dynamics can (although there are lead to reduced consumer choice and the dominance of retailer- notable controlled private label brands. leaving

exceptions),

most of the Of course, there are plenty of arguments against the continued industry in the dark about existence of these laws. On a broad policy level, the existence and what precisely they can and proliferation of special rules strikes many as examples of special- cannot do. interest legislation run amok, with the politically well-connected So although

UNFORTUNATELY, OFTEN A “THING OF VALUE” IS SIMPLY WHATEVER THE REGULATOR WITH ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITY OVER THE LAW IDENTIFIES AS ONE.

we cannot protecting their businesses at the expense of smaller competitors provide any definition of what and the public. If tied-house policy is so critical to the California constitutes a “thing of value,” we can

citizens’ welfare, for example, how can one justify the California address a few hot topics as interesting food legislature’s enactment of numerous special exceptions for for thought. For example, on one level any advertising of a brand

some of the biggest alcohol venues in the state (sports arenas, provides a “thing of value” to retailers selling that brand. But, of etc.) – venues that carry more risk of alcohol-fueled misconduct course, no regulator – federal or state – takes the position that than the average bar or liquor store? On a more practical level, brand advertising constitutes a prohibited thing of value. the rigid language of many of the laws, coupled with restrictive But advertising that mentions a specific retailer is a different interpretations by regulatory authorities, can lead to absurd story. Indeed, subject to the possibility of explicit exceptions in

prohibitions divorced from the original policy of keeping retailers the law, many regulators have viewed advertising that mentions independent from manufacturers and wholesalers. a specific retailer as the provision of a “thing of value” and

In the end, each distiller will form his or her own opinion about therefore falling within the tied-house prohibition on assistance these laws. But for the foreseeable future, tied-house law will to retailers. This position becomes increasingly problematic in remain a feature of the regulatory landscape.

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today’s social media world. With brand sites and distiller and

the only one sourced from local, certified organic ingredients.”

wholesaler employees tweeting about events and activities, a Hopefully every alcohol regulator in America would agree that restrictive view could condemn a tweet from a retail location as this communication of information from distiller employee to providing free advertising – a “thing of value” – retailer employee does not provide the retailer with a prohibited to that retailer. At some point, this likely

thing of value. But let’s face it – this information is valuable to

must lead to reform, both because the retailer. The retailer might, for example, decide to increase

A RESTRICTIVE VIEW COULD CONDEMN A TWEET FROM [A DISTILLER AT] A RETAIL LOCATION AS PROVIDING FREE ADVERTISING – A “THING OF VALUE” – TO THAT RETAILER.

social media is too ubiquitous to suppress and because of the

the number of shelf facing bourbon in order to capitalize on this newfound knowledge.

significant First Amendment

But in today’s world of large retail chains, of course, brand and

issues raised by the most

industry information is no longer left to a sales person speaking

application

to the guy or gal behind the counter. Making multi-million dollar

of the tied-house laws

purchasing decisions for thousands of retail locations demands

to

a more sophisticated approach – today epitomized by “category

restrictive truthful

commercial

speech.

management.” Category management seeks to increase category

The provision of brand

(distilled spirits, wine, etc.) through collaborations between

and industry information

retailer and industry members (whether distiller or wholesaler)

presents another case. Every

that usually feature substantial amounts of data exchanges

sales person relies upon and

between the tiers. Under this system, manufacturers and

relays information about their

wholesalers work with industry-wide and retailer-specific data

products and the state of the industry to provide retailers with sophisticated purchasing, stocking, in order to make a sale to a retailer. Think and advertising advice (all with the goal of increasing category of a typical statement a salesman might make: “Bourbon

sales, of course). While simply a more sophisticated version of

whiskey is growing share quickly right now, and our bourbon is

the short salesperson conversation above, a few regulators have

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hinted that the scope and scale of advice provided in today’s more suspicion from alcohol regulators. Arguably such an category management environment crosses some unstated arrangement merely involves a more formalized authorization scale line and may be viewed as providing a prohibited thing to use the supplier’s intellectual property – just like the sign of value (or specifically services) to the retailer in question. with the whiskey brand example above. Many regulators have Given that today’s large off-premise retailers all employ category agreed, and branded bars have proliferated around the country. management techniques, regulators need to figure out ways to But at least of few state regulators have viewed branded bar accommodate modern business practices to laws usually written arrangements as providing the retailer with a prohibited thing of over seventy-five years ago.

value and consequently have not permitted this practice. And at

Branded bars present yet another interesting modern puzzle. By least one has reasoned that the practice is permitted, but only if providing branded product, signs, point-of-sale (POS) materials the retailer pays a fair market value royalty to the supplier for the and the like to retailers, manufacturers and wholesalers have right to use the intellectual property. always provided retailers with valuable intellectual property (i.e. trademarks and copyrights) that helps the retailer’s business. A

.....

Craft distillers will need to ponder the policy behind tied-

liquor store, for example, puts up a sign for a particular brand house as the industry matures and becomes more capable of of whiskey in the hopes that the passing public will want the influencing the legislative and regulatory process. Moreover, as advertised brand and step inside in order to make a purchase – distillers grow they will face more opportunities to run up against certainly a valuable thing to the retailer. Once again, however, the cutting edge issues in tied-house law. I hope this article I am aware of no regulator who takes the position that such helps the understanding of both. universal retailer uses of a distiller’s intellectual property constitute a prohibited thing of value to the retailer.

Marc E. Sorini is a partner in the law firm of McDermott Will & Emery LLP. Nothing in this article should be construed as or used as a substitute property to a retailer for signage and fixtures (think of all those for legal advice. For more info visit www.mwe.com/Marc-E-Sorini or Budweiser bars at airports around the country), typically arouse call (202) 756-8284. Branded bars, where a supplier licenses its intellectual

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JOHNNY’S

ART & SCIENCE

of DISTILLATION

COLUMN

CALIBRATING

PEOPLE WRITTEN BY JOHNNY JEFFERY

c

alibrating analytical instruments consists of taking known calibrated to amyl alcohols they are impossible to forget - they quantities of a substance, telling your machine where have a biting chemical quality and make a perfect place marker

or when it will appear on a sensor, how the magnitude of the for whatever part of the run they represent, even if it’s just to say response corresponds to concentration, and letting the machine that the run will be over within the hour when the amyls come run repeated tests on different concentrations to calibrate to its off the still. sensor’s response curve. The same process applies to people

Specific oak extractives can be used as markers for the progress

and calibrating them to quality markers. A robust quality control of aging, or at least the extraction portion of the process. For process should never really be in the hands of one person. While example, eugenol is the characteristic aroma of cloves. It was it’s romantic to call yourself a master and take sole control over formerly used by dentists as a topical anesthetic. Clove has a distilling, blending and barrel testing, the best scenario involves subtle background element to the flavor profile of an aging spirit many people with some level of familiarity with the markers and is great for complexity. But, get it in too high a concentration and it makes the palate numb

you’re looking for. Calibrating people can be as simple as giving them a descriptor and a set of samples - some of which have it and some of which

“A robust quality control process should never really be in the hands of one person.”

and is associated with the drying sensation of high tannin extraction. Rather than the taster describing total barrel extraction, a sample of eugenol to nose as a specific marker

don’t. There are times where the

descriptors are indicative of something specific, like a botanical is a calibration tool that gives us a point of reference rather than in a gin, but there are also times when they are very general and a qualitative descriptor. describe a quality that is harder to pin down to a compound or

One last example: the particulars of juniper’s aromatic qualities

extraction of some kind. Both of these are valuable in different vary from Christmas-Tree pine to citrus. One descriptor that I’ve situations.

found commonly relating back to juniper is the term “bright.”

Specific compounds are valuable in training consistency. For While this is a subjective and ethereal descriptor like a parent example, distillers making cuts at the same point, every time. describing a child as talented, I’ve found that inadequate juniper It’s common in whiskey distillations to find amyl alcohols coming creates gins that are described as dull. Intentionally pairing a off the still in high concentrations at the same point in the late description of brightness with an isolated juniper distillate helps hearts/early tails cuts. This might mean the end of a run or the to couple the experience with the description we’re looking for. I’ve point where a cut is removed from the spirit. Once a palate is used this as a QC tool for maintaining consistency in gin. People

WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM 19


coming to the table wouldn’t necessarily look for brightness, but we train our tasters (our staff) to associate “brightness” with juniper and then have them go look for it in groups of tasting samples. Once we do the pairing they come back, over and over, using the descriptor in a way that is helpful adjusting the flavor of the gin to where we wanted it to be. As unspecific as the term sounds, when we consistently got gins that people were using the term bright on, we have a gin that meets our aromatic profile and that our consumers respond well to. The way I try to build a QC program using tools like this is to have everyone involved running through tasting notes and describing the qualities of the products. Then sitting down and walking through the contributors to the profile and discussing what we want to taste in the products. We get everyone’s buy-in on the markers we’re going to shoot for in each blend or distillation. From there we put together samples that represent exactly what we want and identify those that are lacking the specific markers to give our palates some perspective on how they taste in the absence of the marker and spend some time with these. It’s also great to have some specific compounds around to hone in on. Using this tool then involves bringing samples to people often enough that they keep their connection to the quality they’ve been trained on. Once every couple of weeks is usually enough to have people run through a set of samples. The samples don’t have to be production -- they can be from inventory. The purpose is to keep your tools calibrated on the markers they’ve been directed at. This way, when the production sample comes along and there really is a question of quality, they’ve spent enough time testing to be comfortable with the process. The really cool thing about this is that everyone becomes very intimate with the products. Tasting them in a more official setting gives us the opportunity to analyze free from the pressure of talking to people about what and why we like them. The often minor variations we get from seasonal changes, temperature changes in the still room and variation in botanicals become more obvious and everyone at the table has a background from which they can comment. This is a boiled down (I’m resisting saying distilled) methodology for implementing classic tasting

RA

ND

ING

panel methodologies that can be supported in a production

R IGNITE BEVE

AG

EB

setting where short staff might make it too burdensome to build complex systems around QC. It’s a great opportunity to taste the things that are often the wheelhouse of production staff too, and have some insight into what the hell is going on back there.

Johnny Jeffrey is head distiller at Santa Fe Spirits and consultant to the industry. Johnny can be reached at John@ArtisanDistiller.com.

20 WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM


FIELD GUIDE to DRINKING in AMERICA the

a traveler’s handbook to state liquor laws BOOK SPOTLIGHT WRITTEN BY CHRIS LOZIER

i

mbibing travelers and spirits

what to expect when you reach

producers know that liquor

your destination. Want a cold

drastically

beer in Indiana? Don’t buy it at a

from state to state and county

grocery store, they aren’t allowed

to county. Even buying a beer for

to chill it. Visiting Jack Daniel’s

your motel room can turn into

Distillery in Lynchburg, Virginia?

a fiasco. Food and drink writer

You might want to buy a bottle at

Niki Ganong tackles the issue in

the visitor’s center, because the

laws

can

change

“The Field Guide to Drinking in America,” one of the first books of its kind.

rest of the county is dry. The

book

researched

is

and

very

well

loaded

with

A comprehensive guide to the

revelations about the alcoholic

liquor laws in all 50 states and

origins of our favorite phrases,

the District of Columbia, the field

people and traditions. Ganong

guide tells you when and where

tells entertaining stories about

you can, and cannot, get a drink.

each state, like how the entire

But it is more than just a chart

state capital search committee of

for navigating the regulations, it

North Carolina awoke hung over

is a hilarious and intriguing look

one morning and realized they

at just how much alcohol and

had just purchased senator Joel

the demand for it has shaped

Lane’s land in Raleigh, thereby

our past and present laws and

ending their search and creating

culture. Stuffed with surprising

their capital.

stories, The Field Guide will grow your understanding and appreciation of America.

The writing is witty, funny and interesting.

Ganong

employs

plenty of wry tongue-in-cheek regional phrases that demand

Ganong examines the layered liquor laws enforced by the

a laugh, even when sober. Photographs, memorabilia and

federal, state, county and city governments. From the drive-thru

original artwork accompany the stories. The art is clever and

daiquiri stands of Louisiana to Utah’s “Zion Curtain” - a panel

illustrative and the photos and memorabilia are gems, like a beer

that prevents patrons from watching bartenders mix their drinks - advertisement sketched by Dr. Seuss. she explains the quirks and peculiarities that stand between you and your next beverage. A quick reference chart and simple symbol system tell you

Through the facts and stories, Ganong paints a picture of America’s changing approach to alcohol over time. While a few distilleries are currently making spirits in the nation’s smallest

22 WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM


state, Rhode Island, there used to be 22

avoid a long and fruitless search just to find

rum distilleries alone in the 1760’s. And

a drink, and familiarize you with state liquor

Harvard University used to have an on-

laws and traditions before you approach

campus brewery. While some of these

new markets.

differences are due to more efficient

You will also benefit from a deeper

shipping and production methods, Ganong

understanding of your own state’s alcohol

explains how much of the streamlining was

beverage past, which might help you find

a result of Prohibition, and she shows how

a new idea for your next product. And if

each state’s craft beverage industries are

you are facing antiquated and restrictive

again growing and diversifying.

legislation in your state, it is a great quick

“The Field Guide to Drinking in America”

by Utah’s “Zion Curtain”. In restaurants,

reference of what the industry looks like in

is a great resource for new and established

other states so you can see how your state

distillers, alike. It will keep you on the right

compares.

side of the law on your travels, help you

I am fascinated

cocktails may be served, but

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it

will

provide

you

with

a

may not be

nearly

inexhaustible library of strange facts

made in front

about American drinking culture to improve your storytelling in the tasting

PHOTO BY BRENTON SALO

room. Hello street cred!

of customers.”

Q&A NIKI GANONG WITH AUTHOR

CURIOUS TO FIND OUT WHERE SHE FOUND ALL THESE GREAT AMERICAN DRINKING STORIES, WE ASKED THE AUTHOR TO WEIGH IN ON HER NEW BOOK: HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE IDEA FOR THE BOOK? Well, my publisher and I are from control states, currently live in a control state, and we travel, so we recognize the benefit in knowing a place like a local. The idea for the book itself was conceived, fittingly, on a plane. We also realized that a book like this had never been done before. So it was an opportunity to contribute something useful to two subjects that we love dearly: drinking and traveling. WHO DID YOU WRITE THE BOOK FOR? The thirsty traveler! Anyone who, in the course of their travels, has found themselves facing an unexpectedly early last call. Anyone who has

had a sad and liquor-less Sunday because they were uninformed. Anyone who has had to choose between 3.2 beer or nothing at all because they didn’t know better. These are our people. Which is to say, potentially, anyone. HOW DID YOU FIND SO MANY FLESHY FACTS AND STORIES FOR EACH STATE? Nagging curiosity led me down many a rabbit hole to be sure! America’s history with alcohol is so vast and interesting that I just kept digging and researching. It was also a bit of an exercise in anthropology. Alcohol is a pretty intricate part of human culture, so we just kept asking ourselves what have the people in this specific place historically done to either make, sell, or

consume alcohol? Then we would follow that line of thinking forward to current day. WHAT STRANGE LAWS MADE YOUR PERSONAL FAVORITES LIST? It might be the easy choice, but I am fascinated by Utah’s “Zion Curtain”. In restaurants, cocktails may be served, but may not be made in front of customers. The end result is that drinks must be made behind a partition with this hilarious moniker. HOW LONG DID THE PROJECT TAKE FROM THE BEGINNING OF YOUR RESEARCH TO PUBLICATION? Close to three years.

WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM 23


Take a place like North Dakota, for example. I thought it would be difficult to write about, but when you consider that they are one of the top producers of barley in America, it opens up all sorts of doors.”

HOW HAS YOUR VIEW OF AMERICA CHANGED SINCE YOU STARTED THE PROJECT? My previously held stereotypes have been largely eliminated. Every state is incredibly interesting. Take a place like North Dakota, for example. I thought it would be difficult to write about, but when you consider that they are one of the top producers of barley in America, it opens up all sorts of doors. Agricultural scientists at the University of North Dakota are doing some really interesting work for craft brewers with their barley studies. And basically every state was like that. WERE ALL OF THE CONTROL STATES PROHIBITIVELY RESTRICTIVE, OR DID SOME OF THEM HAVE FAVORABLE SYSTEMS FOR BOTH CONSUMERS AND PRODUCERS OF SPIRITS? No, not all are overly oppressive. Take the control state of Oregon. Craft beer and booze are booming here, thanks to progressive legislation. Distilleries can do tastings and even open retail outlets.

HOW WILL YOU ADDRESS THE OFTEN FLUID NATURE OF BEVERAGE LAWS IN STATES AND DEAL WITH MATERIAL THAT MAY BECOME OUTDATED AS THE LAWS PROGRESS? For immediate updates we intend to use social media. Through a combination of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, our website and our newsletter we’ll post the latest booze news. In the long term, we’re also are planning for future print editions. WHAT CAN DISTILLERS GAIN FROM READING YOUR BOOK? They gain an insight into the drinking culture, history and law of the entire country. In the alcohol industry, spirits are much more heavily regulated than wine and beer. Distillers will benefit from seeing how their products are treated differently from state to state. It was also pretty inspiring to talk to a distiller in Utah. That’s passion, right there. Niki Ganong is a food and drink writer from Portland, OR. She is a frequent contributor to epicurean publications and is a frequent beer judge. The Field Guide to Drinking (Overcup Press, April 2015) is her first book.

24 WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM


COME VISIT OUR BOOTH AT THE ADI SHOW!

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YOUR NEXT MARKET IS…

ABROAD WITH MORE DSPS THAN EVER BEFORE, EXPORTING MAY BE THE BEST NEW MARKET FOR YOUR SPIRITS written by RYAN MALKIN

“Everyone should be going abroad,” says Adam Spiegel, owner and distiller at Sonoma County Distilling Co. After all, you avoid paying federal excise tax and skip the localization issue facing many craft distillers seeking to expand beyond their home markets. There is so much “saturation in other states,” says Spiegel, that “quality may take a back seat to it being made down the block.” Because the US is so competitive, Noah Rothbaum, author of the The Art of American Whiskey and founder of drink trend consultancy Liquor Intelligence, says you may have more success competing abroad. “The demand for American craft spirits abroad has blown up over the past few years,” says Rothbaum. According to DISCUS, spirit exports from the USA grew from 7.3 million proof gallons in 2013 to 10.7 million proof gallons in 2014. Like any new market, the first step is determining who drinks

hailing from New York may hold more prestige abroad than

what you produce. “You have to understand the difference in the

a product from, say, Indiana, Vachon notes. Yet, as it should

market and know why you want to do it,” advises Paul Hletko,

be, it’s about the liquid. If the liquid is superb, price is a less

founder of Few Spirits. DISCUS data is readily available online,

important aspect. However, packaging, he says, is key to your

but it’s no surprise everyone seems to be drinking American

success in the EU. “There is no silver bullet when it comes to

whiskey. The biggest export markets for American whiskey,

packaging, it just has to look amazing,” advises Vachon, who

according to DISCUS data, are Australia, France, Germany,

imports such brands as Balcones, Few, New York Distilling, and

Japan, and the United Kingdom. In the United Kingdom, for

St. George. The good news is there is room for growth for craft

example, “American whiskey is in vogue, along with hamburger

spirits in the EU: craft brands have the potential to increase

and barbecue restaurants,” notes Michael Vachon, head of

sales at least 90% over the next ten years, according to Vachon.

brand development at UK distributor Maverick Drinks. Gin, he

The allure of business trips to Europe or Asia should not

says, is also doing well, though there are a lot of them so yours

dissuade you from forgetting our neighbor to the north. For

had better stand out. Outside the UK, gin does well in warmer

some, it may be right in your backyard like it is for Headframe

climates like Italy and Spain, notes Brian Facquet, distiller at

Spirits. “Draw 500 miles around Butte, Montana and you get

Prohibition Distillery.

Vancouver and Calgary,” says owner John McKee. McKee likes

However, don’t expect success in your backyard to necessarily

shipping to Canada not only because it’s so close to his distillery,

translate into success abroad. In the US, says Vachon, “you can

but also because NAFTA tariffs going across the border to

get away with an OK product with local support but that does not

Canada are dropped so he’s not paying the excise tax or tariffs to

in any way correlate to international success.” Sure, a product

Canada. Canada is “a very serious market” for Headframe Spirits

WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM 27


notes McKee.

involves logistics and managing customs. Navigating movement

Once you’ve established which markets make sense for your

of the product from your warehouse to the border, across the pond

spirits, find a local distribution partner. “It’s not much different

and into a foreign country should be managed by your distributor

than another state in the US, you can’t rely on the distributor to

partner. “All you should have to do is have the product ready

do everything for you,” says Hletko, who plans to dramatically

to go at your warehouse,” says McKee. “You get it at our dock

increase export business this year. For Hletko, he appreciated

and you pay for it at our dock, it’s up to you to sell it,” he says.

that Vachon of Maverick Drinks took the time to fly to Chicago

Sure, McKee is the distributor’s partner, but the distributor must

from London to see the distillery. “Anyone can buy a pallet of

“commit to buying and selling the damn thing.” Other distillers

goods, but we want dedication from a distribution partner,”

agree. Most distillers receive a down payment, in U.S. dollars, from

explains Hletko, who is now exporting to Australia, Canada,

the distribution partner when the purchase order is submitted.

Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Panama, and the UK. Meanwhile,

The distiller then receives the remainder of the payment before

Facquet attended a DISCUS trade show to better understand

the product is shipped. That way, “you’re not worried when your

the market and was approached by an interested importer and

container leaves whether you’re going to get paid,” notes Facquet.

distributor. Now he’s selling his gin in Italy and Spain. After

Although the distributor’s freight forwarder manages the

Spiegel’s whiskey was in an article, he was approached by a

customs and shipping, there is still the little matter of TTB

well-known EU distributor. Now Sonoma County Distilling’s

paperwork. The TTB needs to know that the product was in fact

whiskey is available in much of the EU as well as in Singapore.

exported, freeing you of your obligation to pay taxes on that

In fact, Spiegel does one-third of his total volume in exports.

product. Don’t have acceptable proof of export? TTB will no

However you meet a potential distributor—an event, networking,

doubt want you to pay up. There is an option for a “drawback,”

being approached—working with a reputable partner is key.

where you pay taxes and follow up with proof of export and

Here are some tests to know whether a potential partner is

request your tax money back. However, most distillers prefer the

reputable: Be sure the distributor knows all of the rules for labels,

option of exporting without payment of tax, avoiding putting up

bottles and importing into that country. In addition, exporting

the money to begin with.

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28 WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM


EXPORT WITHOUT PAYMENT OF TAX

1. FILL OUT TTB FORM 5100.11

WITHIN 90 DAYS, FOLLOW-UP WITH



www.ttb.gov/forms/f510011.pdf. In Hletko’s opinion, “the paperwork is very difficult to handle on your own. It’s not the level of paperwork, but the problem is messing it up. A lot of export rules were designed for large corporations with large legal departments,” he says. “We don’t have a large legal department to handle it and I’m not a particularly well versed in export law.” A suggestion from Spiegel: take adequate notes throughout and have them handy when preparing the form. Form 5100.11 is generally used to provide notice to TTB that you’re going to export.

SEND THE FORM TO TTB PRIOR TO

2. EXPORTING,

telling TTB you’re exporting this particular

product.

Like any market, whether it’s another state or another country, Vachon rightly notes, “you need to put in the shoe leather to

3. ADEQUATE PROOF THE PRODUCT

WAS INDEED EXPORTED. What documents are acceptable to prove the product was exported to a non-contiguous foreign country? Most DSPs rely on the export bill of lading. Exporting is outlined in 27 CFR part 28. Bills of lading in particular are discussed in 27 CFR 28.250. The requirements for a bill of lading that will be accepted by TTB as proof of export, although not exhaustive, include that the bill of lading is signed by the carrier and contains the name of the exporter (if different from the shipper); the name and address of the consignee; the number of packages or cases; and the serial number from the 5100.11 form.

»

CHECK OUT TTB ONLINE for helpful info... www.ttb.gov/itd/distilled_spirits_producer_untaxpaid.shtml

to Europe, define the market, and you can share with a new audience how you make booze in your home state.

be successful.” In Europe, Vachon warns, “you can’t get away with a four year old bottle of LDI rye.” But if you have quality product, a great label and capacity, exporting may be your best next market. Plus, as Spiegel notes, you get a chance to travel

Ryan Malkin is principal attorney at Malkin Law, P.A. a law firm serving the alcohol beverage industry. For more information, visit www.malkinlawfirm.com or call (212) 600-5828.

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7

R

FOR

U

YOUR

L

E

NEXT

S

BIG

TASTING

EVENT WRITTEN BY NEAL MACDONALD

SCENE: March 1, 2015, Distill America. Imagine you’re a proud distiller (probably not a stretch). You enter the Edgewater Hotel—a beautiful building in Madison,

Wisconsin with an outdoor ice-skating rink, and it’s so damned cold outside people can skate at all hours of the day. You carry a box of your bottles, a pocketful of business cards, and a partially rehearsed speech extolling your product. You get a table with a nice white, hotel-issued skirt, you unpack, and then…and then the thing starts.

This isn’t some mild-mannered liquor store tasting where

TWO OPTIONS:

1. 2.

you’re the only one around pouring a quickie for a furtive, slightly guilty parent with kids in the car-shaped grocery cart-you’re in the Big Leagues now! It’s the drinking version of the famous pit at Wall Street. People are shouting, laughing, drinking, and thrusting their little, logoed Glencairn glasses at you with leering eyes and gaping mouths. It’s loud. It’s hot. You’re one table among seventy and you have a paltry one or three bottles out of 400+ on offer at the venue. The more you pour the more it looks like every person coming up to your table has tried all 399 other spirits before getting to your booth. Pouring, you’re

even remember you? And your feet are killing you.

Seize it! This is your moment to shine!

We say, take Option 2. You are craft spirits and your stuff needs to get tasted or people will never know how awesome it is. Large scale tasting venues are exactly where you should be. We’ve been attending Madison Malt Society’s Distill America and we’re describing this very scene in Madison every winter for six years running. For all the chaos, here’s the good:

»»

We’ve seen people who would never try horseradish vodka suddenly fall in love with it.

»»

We’ve seen people who’ve never heard of organic whiskey go to a liquor store first thing the next day (hung over!) to buy it.

wondering how many of these 600 or 700 stumbling passersby are actually going to try your stuff. And if they tried it, will they

Panic! Run away! Vow never to attend again.

WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM 31


»»

We’ve seen been people who swear that they hate licorice suddenly become absinthe enthusiasts.

»»

We’ve seen any number of small-town vodkas suddenly convert all kinds of fans.

»»

Almost as important, even when not capable of trying everything at the event, these people still come away with a sudden appreciation of the scale and quality of craft distilling!

In short, you have the opportunity to sway opinion in ways that no other venue can possibly hope to match. Better yet the sheer numbers of craft distillers are a rising tide that lifts all ships. Even people who never taste your stuff will know that craft spirits are

okay. So participate, and in participating, here are seven things we think will help. A lot of this is common sense but then again, common sense is solidified by uttering it out loud...

1

GO YOURSELF;  BE YOURSELF;  YOUR SUCCINCT SELF.

2

BE TOLERANT.

You will hear crazy stuff. We saw a strapping viking man

with a long straggly beard very seriously explain to Joel Vikre of the Vikre Distillery that all aquavit was traditionally made from potatoes and

flavored with hops…while Vikre was pouring his aquavit into the gentleman’s

No one tells your story better than you. Did

glass. Joel, to his credit, merely smiled and said, “Very interesting! My aquavit

you set out to make something that has a

happens to be flavored with caraway and you might like it. Give it a try!” You are

character of beer for hot summer nights?

bound to hear just about anything from all kinds of poseurs, wannabes, know-it-

North Shore Distillery certainly did with their

alls, and cretins. Smile, nod, remember that alcohol italicizes the good and the

Sommerweizen and they let people know

bad in people, and pour.

about it. Be quick and get right to the pour (er, point). But be helpful, as in, “I love this in…” or “We drink this when…” This is not

VIOLATION: DO NOT COMPLAIN ABOUT CRITICS AND THEIR REVIEWS… WE WATCHED A

GUY COMPLAIN BITTERLY ABOUT HOW CROOKED THE JUDGING WAS IN A GIVEN COMPETITION RIGHT TO ONE OF THE SITTING JUDGES THAT HAPPENED TO BE AT THE EVENT!

prepare them for what they’re about to drink

3

in the time it takes you to pour it!

place to geek out about the technical details of your work. Sonoma Rye Whiskey

VIOLATION: DO NOT BE THE GUY THAT

enticed us over by promising that their 100% rye mashbill used direct-fire alembic

the time to go into the engineering of your still, the prowess of your forefathers, and the bovines that feed on your recycled biomass. Tell the person in front of you something to

COMPLAINS ABOUT BLEEDING KNUCKLES FROM ALL THE HAND-ZESTED LEMONS IN THE LIMONCELLO…NO ONE CARES.

There are some trade people and liquor

geeks that go to these things...a lot of them, actually. People like us. We look up what’s going to be there; we develop a plan; we get intrigued by

stories; we make notes about who to meet. Unlike your quick speech, this is the

stills and aged in both new charred American Oak as well as old wood barrels. Take the time to send images, detailed content, and all other spells you might

VIOLATION: WE WALKED UP TO ONE BOOTH WHERE EMISSARIES WERE SENT WHO SIMPLY SMILED GRANDLY AND SAID, “THIS IS A POUR-YOUR-OWN TABLE! JUST GRAB ANY BOTTLE YOU LIKE!”

GIVE PRESS AHEAD OF TIME.

have in your literary arsenal. Contact them directly if you can; trust us we greatly appreciate it!

VIOLATION: WE RECEIVED SOME UPDATES AND IMAGES TO PUT IN THE PROMOTIONAL LITERATURE AFTER THE EVENT ALREADY OCCURRED!

P R O V I D I N G R Y E to the distilling industry for over 50 years.

Brooks Grain Improving the quality of life with grain.

WWW.BROOKSGRAIN.COM

32 WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM


4

TAKE YOUR  BIGGEST  FLAVORS. 

We know a spirits judge that once solemnly told us, “In a large, competitive field, the stinkiest cheese always

wins.”

definitely cheese

You

in

a

world.

are

stinky People’s

palates will be burned out and

the

bigger,

bolder

flavors are the ones that are going to be memorable.

5

COCKTAILS AND CONTRAPTIONS!

This is not a revelation…but it does mean that if you have the opportunity to showcase your spirit in a drink, you should most definitely do that. In a sea of “stinky cheeses,” Tailwinds

Distillery put their white rum in a Caipirinha cocktail right on the spot, and it was truly outstanding. A sound, decent, perfectly respectable rum that might’ve been lost in the maelstrom of flavors battling in our palates was made memorable by an absolutely fantastic, balanced, lime drink. (We can barely think of anything else.) Bring your cocktails, your absinthe balancier, your shakers, your strainers, your homemade bitters…everything to deliver some theater and some taste to your booth.

VIOLATION: SEE ABOVE ABOUT THE POOR GUY WITH THE VODKA BOOTH

6

BE PHOTOGENIC.

If you could

emanate your skill and genius from your chakra for all to see, this

wouldn’t be an issue…but you can’t. So:

to

you must smile! You don’t have to compete

appreciate the delicacy of

with the Booth girls that Big Liquor sent to

your vodka after they just

staff their table across the way, but some

tasted a coffee liqueur. We

welcoming, alluring quality is useful. Po of

know because we tried an

Lo Artisan Distillers, sells bottles of his

intense

flavored

Yerlo rice spirit based solely on his

liqueur from St George

infectious smile…and he definitely ends

Spirits that we loved and

up in every promotional and press photo of

we

remember

the event. If your smile muscles don’t hurt

anything that came after it.

by the end of the night, you’re doing

We were still tasting coffee.

something very, very wrong. Wear a funny

VIOLATION: ONE WELL-

hat; fly your state’s colors; whiten your

No

one’s

going

coffee

can’t

MEANING FELLOW BROUGHT HIS VODKA AND ONLY HIS VODKA…THAT’S COOL, AND IT WAS A DECENT VODKA, BUT IT WAS ONLY GOOD FOR ABOUT THE FIRST HOUR OF A FOUR HOUR EVENT. AT LEAST BRING A COCKTAIL TO GO WITH IT! WHICH LEADS US TO…

Real people don’t actually drink a lot of liquor straight.

teeth; glam it up...remember that somehow, someway, you need to be fetching.

VIOLATION: END OF THE NIGHT, WE WALKED

UP TO A BOOTH—AND ADMITTEDLY, WE MIGHT’VE BEEN SLURRING WORDS A BIT BUT WE WERE GENUINELY TRYING—AND THE GUY STARED US DOWN LIKE A POLICEMAN EYING A TEENAGER, AND JUST SAID: “THIS IS OUR GIN.”

7

GO TO THE AFTERPARTY.

Lastly, most of

the distillers and organizers—after a hard day’s work—head for the bar when the

event is over. You should most definitely go to that! In all our experiences, we’ve found the world of craft distilling to be very collegial for the most part and never more so when they’re half drunk and recovering from hours of dealing with the public. You’ll meet distillers, reporters, photographers, critics, distributors, store owners…and you will hear stuff that you will never hear anywhere else.

VIOLATION: ONE BOOTH PACKED THEIR

BOTTLES AND DROVE HOME THAT VERY NIGHT! AH, THE MISSED OPPORTUNITIES…

But most of all, participate…this is your time! The sheer demonstration of scale in the craft distilling movement is compelling and eye-opening to the general public. Be a part of that pageantry!

Neal MacDonald is editor of Proof66.com, an independent, informational service. The data it provides includes aggregating scores from several critical institutions and combining those results with user reviews

WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM 33


2015 American Craft Spirits Association

CONVENTION FROM THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE AMERICAN CRAFT SPIRITS ASSOCIATION

t

he 2nd annual American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA)

impact of the upcoming BOD election. “It counts. It matters

convention, held in Austin, TX from February 14-16, was the

that you all participate. It’s what makes us different. It’s what

largest gathering of DSPs (Distilled Spirits Plants) in the history

created this organization, when just five years ago it was just an

of the craft distilling industry. Over 500 attendees, representing

idea for a couple of us trouble makers who wanted an association

hundreds of operating distilleries, gathered to learn about the

owned by it’s representatives. Until we had an election it wasn’t

association’s progress and to help shape its priorities for the

real, it’s the election that made it real. This is our Tribe!” At the

future. A marquee lineup of speakers were featured from within

time of press, ACSA was in the midst of the second elections

and beyond the spirits industry. Paul Gatza of the Craft Brewers

process for the five open positions on the BOD.

Association delivered the Keynote address and Bert “Tito”

One of the most trilling highlights of the conference was seeing

Beveridge provided the evening keynote with an entertaining but

Craft Distilling Guilds from all across America coming together

insightful look into the challenges and stories behind the first

and sharing their stories, obstacles and success. The ACSA

“legal” distillery in Texas.

Guilds Committee Chair, Nicole Austin, noted the significance

At the convention, the ACSA board of directors (BOD) unveiled several major initiatives. Chief among these was a new proposal to bring federal excise tax relief to craft spirits producers by reducing

of this unprecedented gathering to face the challenges of an industry as a whole. Finally,

Convention

Director

Leah

Hutchinson

called

the rate on the first 100,000 proof gallons from the current

representatives from the Illinois Distillers Association on stage.

$13.50 per proof gallon to $2.70 per proof gallon. The idea

Clad in t-shirts with stills and the city’s skyline reflected on the

itself is not new, but an improved political climate makes 2015

lakefront, collectively they announced the BOD selection of

a promising year for this pro-growth change that will bolster craft

Chicago as the host city for the 3rd Annual Distillers Convention

distilling and create thousands of new jobs across the country.

& Vendor Trade Show. Exact dates are to be announced but it

Elections Chairman Tom Potter noted the importance and the

will be the end of February or beginning of March 2016.

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THE AMERICAN CRAFT SPIRITS ASSOCIATION

2015 MEDAL WINNERS

AUSTIN, TX - On Sunday evening, February 15, the winners of the Second Annual Craft Spirits Competition were honored during the Awards Dinner as part of the ACSA Distillers Convention and Vendor Trade Show in Austin, Texas.

BEST OF SHOW

T.J. Miller, Mark McDavid, and Allan Hall of Ranger Creek Brewing and Distilling Company for their .36 Single Barrel Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey

BEST IN CLASS WINNERS

IN EACH CATEGORY INCLUDE: WHISKEY

Ranger Creek Brewing and Distilling San Antonio, TX .36 Single Barrel Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey GIN

New Holland Brewing and Distilling Holland, MI Barrel Aged Knickerbocker

2015 JUDGING OVERVIEW

BY PENNFIELD JENSEN

The Second Annual ACSA Craft Spirits Competition drew upon a wealth of spirits, over 320 entries across six categories, and delivered some knock-out medal winners. Not everyone can win a medal. That’s a given. It is the tasting notes that we provide to each entrant for each product that are the key to unlocking the decisions made by our panels of judges. A medal is always great, especially for marketing, but the tasting notes provide a deep well of information that we hope will guide the producers to ever-greater achievements. In the dynamic and rapidly evolving environment in which we all practice our craft, each ASCA competition takes on its own tone and character. This year’s

RUM

was no different. After years of observing clear spirits dominate the field, we

Allegheny Distilling Pittsburgh, PA Maggie’s Farm Queen’s Share Double Barrel

now see whiskies emerging as the barrels laid down in previous years come of age. This year, we experienced maturing excellence on every front. One inevitable,

BRANDY

and encouraging, consequence of this general growing up is an elevating bar

King’s County Distillery & Brooklyn Winery Brooklyn, NY Brandy

for excellence. This is a great thing. The spirits coming of age are pushing

LIQUEURS & DISTILLED SPIRITS SPECIALTY

peer measurement of one’s work from one year to the next. A winner one year

Huber’s Starlight Distillery Starlight, IN Blueberry Liqueur VODKA

Huber’s Starlight Distillery Starlight, IN Starlight Vodka

all of us to create better and more enduring spirits. The opportunity—and challenge—that results from entering the ACSA competition is the peer-tomay not be a winner the next year—and not just because of the inevitable subjectivity of the judges. The spirits are simply getting better. ACSA seeks to provide the one national competition that provides absolute transparency. We conduct the judging free of any motive for profit or selfaggrandizement. We promote well-earned accolades for the recognition of one’s craft. Medals aside, it is the tasting notes on which we concentrate. Medals are fine, we all love them, but they are a static symbol of a spirit fixed-in-time. The

A LIST OF ALL THE WINNERS CAN BE FOUND AT WWW.AMERICANCRAFTSPIRITS.ORG

future holds so much more.

Pennfield Jensen is executive director of the American Craft Spirits Association. Visit www.americancraftspirits.org for more info.

36 WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM


IS WHISKEY REALLY GLUTEN FREE?

ALLERGENS IN ALCOHOL AND ON THE LABEL

WRITTEN BY CHRIS LOZIER

This article offers a look at allergens in alcohol and how those allergens are listed on the label. Its intent is to engage and entertain. It is not complete or definitive, nor is it a substitute for medical, legal or any other professional advisory. Artisan Spirit Media, the author, and people quoted herein are not a substitute for sound legal, and health related council.


“I can’t have gluten

without some type of allergic advise people to choose sugar cane-based rum, fruit- or potatoreaction, but I don’t have any problems with whiskey,” tells based vodka, or agave-based tequila instead, but with a word of Crystal Miller of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. “I don’t have any of my caution. “Mixto” tequilas that are not 100 percent agave can gluten reactions like I do to baked goods when I drink whiskey.” contain gluten from their other ingredients, and some rums and

Miller is one of an estimated 18 million Americans who suffers vodkas have added colorings and flavorings that contain gluten. To further complicate matters, barrels are often sealed with from gluten intolerance, six percent of the population according to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. Her gluten

WHEAT FLOUR, potentially infusing a previously gluten-free spirit

sensitivity triggers instant acid reflux and skin breakouts, but with gluten. Heidi Karasch of Black Swan Barrels says this is gluten intolerance, and its mean cousin, Celiac Disease, can common practice in the industry, and that while other sealants also cause intestinal lesions. These painful lesions prevent the like bee’s wax or bull rushes can be used, Black Swan typically affected person from digesting other foods or absorbing nutrients, gets the best results from unbleached flour mixed with fine oak resulting in major health problems like infertility and cancer.

sawdust and water.

is a common name for storage proteins found in

“We put the sealant right in the croze where the head fits into

are made without gluten containing ingredients. Those rare

With such a small amount of flour applied to such a small

GLUTEN

grain products like wheat, rye and barley. Nearly all whiskey is the barrel,” she explains, “and the only reason we do that is to made with at least one of these grains, and only a few whiskeys seal it up the first time we water test it.” exceptions aside, whiskey mash does contain gluten - whether or part of the barrel, the chance of the barrel imparting any gluten not those proteins make it through the still, however, is currently is slender, but it is still unconfirmed in either case. For now, being debated.

distillers and consumers alike should proceed carefully until a

“Gluten molecules are too large to make it through the reliable test is discovered.

distillation process from what I’ve read and what I understand in regards to the molecular weight,” explains Nathan Kaiser of 2 Bar Spirits in Seattle, Washington, who holds a degree in microbiology. “As I understand it, all spirits are gluten free unless people add gluten back in for flavoring, coloring or consistency.” That much is not up for debate. Gluten molecules are widely accepted to be too heavy to pass through the still. But some scientists will tell you that’s not the whole story. During the fermentation and distillation processes, some gluten proteins have shown a tendency to break down. If those fragments are harmful to gluten-sensitive individuals, or if they even pass through the still at all, remains to be proven. “There are tests for gluten in fermented and hydrolyzed foods, but the TTB and FDA position is that they’re not reliable,” explains Marc Sorini, an attorney who exclusively practices beverage law for McDermott Will & Emery LLP in Washington, D.C. Sorini has discussed the topic with many scientists at TTB and FDA, and says they are skeptical whether the established tests are capable of detecting gluten fragments. Canadian health authorities are also reluctant to accept a test, however some European countries already have. Currently, most gluten-intolerant and Celiac awareness groups advise gluten-sensitive people to play it safe by either sampling small portions of spirits that were made from gluten-containing ingredients, or abstaining from them altogether. Many of them

ALLERGENS IN ALCOHOL Dr. Karla Adams is a board certified Allergist and Immunologist at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, Nevada. Most of her practice involves the evaluation and management of allergies, and she has treated several patients with adverse reactions to alcoholic beverages. Typically, her patients displaying alcohol-related symptoms had consumed beer or wine, but one case she and her colleagues evaluated suggested a direct link to gold tequila. Dr. Adams says a 47 year old woman suffered varied allergic symptoms after drinking gold tequila, ranging from anaphylaxis to full-body systemic reactions. The patient was able to drink other tequilas, but the aged tequila consistently triggered sensitivities. Evaluating the patient’s history, they found something interesting: she was also allergic to oak pollen. “They were able to show a positive skin test to gold tequila in this patient and postulated that the aging process of the gold tequila was the most likely culprit for the patient’s repeated reactions,” explained Dr. Adams. While she is not aware of any specific proteins in the oak wood itself, the association with oak pollen was a strong connection. Dr. Adams also explains that alcohol consumption adds a new dimension to allergen sensitivities. Drinking can inhibit the body’s ability to produce diamine oxidase, DAO, which leads to decreased histamine breakdown.

40 WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM


“Diamine oxidase is one of the enzymes that breaks down Fahrenheit,” says Kaiser. “In regards to distillation, you’re histamine (the other is called histamine-N-methyltransferase),” distilling above 146º F to 212º F, so it’s way too hot for them.” she explains. “Histamine, one of the chemical mediators Kaiser added that even if yeast was introduced to the distillate, associated with allergic reactions, is involved in the inflammatory

the alcohol content would be far too high for them to survive.

response and can cause diverse allergy symptoms. Acute

ALLERGENS ON THE LABEL

reactions can include hives, swelling, flushing, and respiratory

FOR REFERENCE: the following laws are taken from the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 27, Chapter 1, Subchapter A, Part 5.

reactions such as asthma attacks.” This means people may develop sensitivities to allergens they previously had no reaction to just by consuming alcohol. But all other allergenic properties aside, some people are

The Federal Alcohol Administration Act (FAA) and the Food,

period. It can be an individual

Drug and Cosmetics Act (FD&C) do not require distilled spirits to

sensitivity or genetic, which is the case within some Asian

have ingredient labels like other foods. However, congress does

populations.

require a few ingredients to be listed on spirits labels if they are

allergic to

ETHYL ALCOHOL,

Assuming a person is not allergic to the alcohol itself, alcoholic

in the bottle.

beverages still contain a variety of different allergens. Most

The list is short, comprised of sulfites and a few food colorings,

allergic reactions can be traced to beer, cider and wine. Distilled

and attorney Marc Sorini says it is not very common for his clients

spirits, however, are not exempt simply because of their gaseous

to have to list these ingredients, but it does happen. Foods, drugs and cosmetics are also required to list any

transformation in the still or their high alcohol content.

SULFITES, for example, cross all alcohol categories. Estimated by the FDA to affect 1 in 100 people, sulfites can trigger many reactions, some life-threatening.

“Big 8” allergens they contain, including MILK, EGG, FISH, CRUSTACEAN SHELLFISH, TREE NUTS, PEANUTS, WHEAT and SOYBEANS. For distilled spirits, however, listing these allergens

Sulfites can come from sterilizing and preserving chemicals is currently voluntary, not mandatory. Subpart 5.32a, “Voluntary Disclosure of Major Food Allergens”, added to prevent wild yeasts and bacteria from causing improper fermentation, but the fermentation process itself can also explains how to list these allergens on the label if the producer produce sulfites. Wine labels always feature a sulfite warning desires, with one very important condition: if you list one, you statement, but they can be found in other alcoholic beverages, have to be sure your product does not contain any others, or they must be listed, as well. as well. Some of Sorini’s clients have chosen to

Luckily, distillers have a not-so-secret weapon: copper.

voluntarily disclose that their product

A reactive metal, it will, in theory, catalyze sulfites into new, non-sulfuric molecules. “Spirits will definitely have sulfites if you did not use copper or if your copper is not clean,” explains Kaiser of 2 Bar. “If there’s not enough copper for the spirit or the vapor to react with, the copper will not clear out the sulfites.” Distillation

can

help

eliminate

other allergens, too. Some people are sensitive to LIVE YEASTS, which can be present in fermented beverages if not pasteurized, cooked, or otherwise sterilized, which distillation does. “Most yeasts are usually killed

THE BIG MILK EGG FISH CRUSTACEAN SHELLFISH

8

TREE NUTS. PEANUTS. WHEAT. SOYBEANS.

For distilled spirits, listing the “Big 8” allergens is currently voluntary. BUT! If you list one, you have to be sure your product does not contain any others, or they must be listed, as well.

contains a Big 8 allergen, and some have chosen not to. He says that decision remains with the client. “I think those are all client calls to make, but certainly disclosing the Big 8 allergens, especially if it’s not readily apparent, would seem to be something that would reduce your risk of potential litigation over the harm caused by unknowing consumption,” he explains. “Frankly, it’s not just about liability,” tells Sorini. “It’s just something you might want to do to avoid

unnecessarily

harming

or

aggravating consumers.”

around anywhere from 90 to 95 degrees

WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM 41


w

hen Budweiser stormed onto the screen during the Super Bowl with their

world of beer. But spirits consumers currently seem to be more

ad,

concerned with where the product came from and who

“Brewed the Hard Way,” I couldn’t imagine

made it, rather than if it qualifies as “craft.” Most of all,

distillers doing that to each other. Especially

they are concerned with how good it is, and branding your

if it cost $9 million.

spirit as craft won’t make up for a lack of quality.

macro-versus-micro,

us-against-them

an

“The customer is going to be the final arbiter on quality

effort to embrace the brewer’s macro-brew

and the success or failure of the business,” says Phil

status as approachable, consistent, and

Prichard of Prichard’s Distillery in Kelso, Tennessee. “And

unpretentious. To accomplish this, however,

it hasn’t got anything to do with what you’re advertising.”

The

commercial

was

supposedly

they ridiculed stereotypical hipster actors

Prichard’s brand is probably still considered small,

supposedly taking their craft beer too

though it is growing, and he has a good working relationship

seriously. They drew a line in the sand,

with the large distilleries in his area. He says that right

though that’s nothing new in the beer

now, things look good for the entire distilling industry. “I think that the larger distillers recognize that the

world. Animosity between brewers has been, well, brewing for decades. But large and small distillers have a good record of working together. For all the

smaller distillers have brought a lot of interest to the whiskey business in particular, and the distilling business in general,” he tells. “I just happen to feel like everybody’s a winner here.” Chris Bauder, VP and GM for Beam Suntory’s

similarities between craft beer and

Whiskey and Cognac categories, agrees.

craft distilling, there are some

“You have distillers popping up all over the

pivotal differences.

country and you have people learning about

Compare bourbon and India pale ale, IPA, for example. A

bourbon,” he tells. “It allows all of us to

small distiller has to make a

actually have a bigger conversation. To Beam

very fine product to compete

Suntory, its having a much bigger market

with a large heritage distillery

place, if you will, and it’s also people who are

that already makes excellent

really innovating in very interesting ways, not

bourbon.

no

unlike beer, that we can all learn from. So I

shortage of fantastic bourbon

think we see it as a way to widen the market

before

and to actually have a better quality of drink.”

There the

was

small

distiller

Because of the growing interest in spirits,

started. brewers

both large and small distillers are seeing

point out that most macro

increased demand each year. But that’s not the

However,

craft

brewers do not make a good

case for beer. Craft beer sales have tripled in

quality IPA. They are actually

the last decade while Budweiser’s have nearly

offering something that their

been cut in half. In response, Budweiser’s

competition does not, unlike

parent company Anheuser-Busch InBev, ABI,

bourbon makers.

has been buying larger craft breweries to try

Another central difference

to recoup some of that loss.

is that no definition of craft

BAD

distilling accepted,

has

been

whereas

widely

TIMING

brewers

have set standards, and “craft”

One of the commercial’s most inflammatory

is a good marketing tool in the ER

S LOZI WRITTEN BY CHRI

assertions states, “Let them sip their pumpkin

WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM 43


peach ale, we’ll be brewing us some golden suds.” The problem

or probably even care about a sale. The few that would know

is, two weeks earlier ABI bought Seattle, Washington’s Elysian

the brand sold would probably only jump ship if there was bad

Brewing, and Elysian makes a pumpkin peach ale.

blood over the sale, or if key company principles were altered. As

Elysian co-founder Dick Cantwell said in a Chicago Tribune

long as the product doesn’t change and the people that built the

interview that he didn’t want to sell to ABI, but was outvoted. company got paid, negative reactions are generally limited. Cantwell said the commercial complicated things for both him

But that could change as the distilling industry ages. Craft

and the Elysian employees, who were already dealing with the

brewing is older, and the number of craft brewers started growing

craft beer community’s unhappy reaction to the sale.

exponentially 20-30 years ago, while craft distilling’s growth

Craft beer fans cling firmly to principles they hold to be core to

spurt is only 5-10 years old. And while their market share is

the business and the beer. In Spokane, on the other side of the

still relatively small, craft brewers held 7.8 percent of the beer

state of Washington, Elysian reps were at a tap-house just a few

market in 2013, four and a half times the 1.7 percent that small

days after the commercial ran. When the girl running the taps

distillers earned in 2014. So maybe in the next decade we will see attack ads from

showed me Elysian’s beers, I asked if people were giving her grief

distillers, but I’m optimistically skeptical. If it does happen, we

about the situation.

She braced for impact, but relaxed when I told her I wasn’t can only hope that the other side fires back with satirical videos there to chastise her, I was just curious. “It’s been a long night,” of their own like craft brewers have. Eugene, Oregon’s Ninkasi Brewing’s video asks, “If you aren’t

she said. “I felt so bad for the Elysian guys.” Building a business and then selling it to a larger company

drinking a beer for taste, what are you drinking it for?” Meanwhile,

usually makes good fiscal sense, but not necessarily in craft actors suggest that Budweiser is perhaps abused more commonly brewing. Local, independent ownership and operation are key

than it is appreciated. It also features a puppy, like Budweiser’s

elements of the brand. To be frank, they are practically the

other headline-grabbing ad. Iowa’s Mason City Brewing also points to the puppy in their

unwritten law of the craft beer fan club.

Kevin Harlander of Terminal Gravity Brewing in Enterprise, video response. Set to a tender piano soundtrack, their tap-room Oregon, says you can’t blame a business for selling to a larger manager Bill Reid, hangs out with dogs and horses. company, but it isn’t typically well-received by beer fans.

“The big beer companies don’t have much to say about the

“I think, in a way, it’s sort of demeaning to craft beer fans

flavor of their beer,” he narrates. “Instead, they use dogs and

that these mid-level craft breweries are quote-unquote selling

horses to get you to buy their product. Dogs and horses. Horses

out,” he offers, “just because it’s not a great reflection of the

and dogs.”

majority of the industry. This process happens all the time in

While boldly embracing their beer as macro and consistent was

other industries, but it just doesn’t really seem to fit the model

an innovative marketing stance, many feel that the commercial

of craft brewing.”

was distasteful. Perhaps Budweiser should have stuck with

Here again, distilling seems to differ. As long as the product puppies, because at least when a dog sticks its foot in its mouth quality remains the same, most consumers would never know, it’s on purpose.

PUT OUR CUSTOM INTO YOUR CRAFT. custom-metalcraft.com 417-862-0707

44 WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM


all in the

family WRITTEN BY AMBER CHRISTENSEN-SMITH

Family owned businesses are a staple of American culture, and they are certainly prevalent in the world of distilling. Names like Beam, Samuels, and Shapira are known far and wide, so it’s not surprising that craft distilling is no different. We’ve heard many wonderful stories at Artisan Spirit magazine about the relationships that are built and tested through family-owned spirit making and we’ve brought together some amazing distillery professionals to share their wisdom on business, family, and the intersection of the two.


“THE FAMILY NEXT DOOR” HOW ARE FAMILY-OWNED BUSINESSES STARTED AND STRUCTURED? Many craft distilleries we encounter are family-owned and operated, and it makes for an interesting dynamic. It’s certainly not an abstract idea, as many small businesses are family-owned. However, with craft distilling being a relatively new business in North America, it certainly has its curiosities. Throughout our travels and interviews we’ve witnessed and heard about the tests and celebrations these families have experienced in their spirit production. Overall, it begins with a desire to go into business for oneself and, in some cases, to master distilling or to continue the work of another family member from the past. Many of the families we interview begin this process as partners or spouses and bring in other members of the family, dear friends, or new acquaintances over time as they grow the business.

newspaper business—goes on to add that, “I think mostly folks are interested in feeling connected to the people who make the products they buy. And if those people are family, well that’s a cool story to hear about.” What it comes down to is not only having the label of “familyowned,” but also proving that the business is well managed and producing fabulous products. Karen Powell of Triple Divide Spirits shares, “Only if that label supports a high quality product and business. Quality must come first and foremost.” Additionally, Courtney McKee of Headframe Spirits concludes that, “Familyowned and operated only means something special if everyone in that family is equally committed and invested.” In the end, its quality, organization, and passion that prevail in having family-owned be beneficial to your business. Ben and Holly Capdevielle of Captive Spirits reveal, “I think it always helps if all parties involved are hyper-passionate about the business and its products.”

As with any money management and savings plans, many

“THE BEST OF…”

owners of craft distilleries that are family-owned tend to take on all the tasks themselves. They must become master distillers, bookkeepers, marketers, salespersons, construction workers… you name it. It is only with time and revenue building that most can afford to bring more members to their teams.

WHAT ARE THE BEST PARTS OF A FAMILY-OWNED BUSINESS? There are many advantages to working with family members in the craft distilling, or any family run business, for that matter. Many small distillery owners got into the distilling business to

“REUNION ON HAUSER STREET” IS BEING “FAMILY-OWNED AND OPERATED” TRULY BENEFICIAL? Can the label, “Family owned and operated” be useful in the craft distilling game? Jessica Glaser at Glaser Estate Winery and Distillery shares, “Family-owned and operated can help the craft business to a certain extent. Typically, people like to think of craft and family as one in the same in that it is comfortable and predictable. Our western culture has idolized the idea of innovation happening over a plate a freshly baked cookies. This aids in our business in that when a family is committed as a unit to a business, there is enough alignment of passions and resources that any issue within the business can be overcome. This concept has actually demonstrated itself to be true in our distillery. However, I feel like this label can hinder the expansion of and transitions in a business in that when a change happens, it’s viewed as a familial issue rather than a business decision.” Paco Joyce of Seattle Distilling—who grew up in a family

be their own bosses and to be near their families. More than one distiller wanted to be nearer to family after working long hours and wrestling with long commutes in their previous lives. Additionally, there are great advantages that come with the preexisting skills many family members bring into the business that crossover quite well to distilling. “I have a background as a regulatory attorney, which has helped immensely in our dealings with the TTB,” shares Powell of Triple Divide. “My husband has expertise in construction, business organization, and tenant management, and his hands-on management skills have helped us start up this new endeavor.” Glaser also adds that, “The expansion of the distillery has been enabled through the inherent foundation of trust amongst our family members. Our family is extremely supportive of one another, and each person lends their full range of skills to the business.” Having that support from family is incomparable to that of working with a mish-mash of people in most cases. The personal

WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM 47


investment is important, as is the great support. Timo Marshall

judgment, to learn to keep the personal and the professional

of Spirit Works knows this firsthand: “When you’re at your

separate.”

lowest, you have someone you can turn around to and say ‘I’m

Courtney’s husband, John, offers his best solution to this

overwhelmed,’ and they will totally take up the slack. That’s the

problem: “By relying on division of responsibilities and labor, it

most incredible thing.”

assists with making conflicts less demanding to resolve.”

“MY ACHING BACK”

“CHAIN LETTER”

WHAT ARE THE NOT-SO-GREAT PARTS OF A FAMILY-OWNED BUSINESS?

WILL THE DISTILLERY LIVE ON IN NEXT GENERATIONS?

“While I am sure that this is a shared sentiment with any

Surprisingly, most craft distillers don’t necessarily dream of

business owner, with family business the stakes seem a bit

their children living on with the legacy of distilling. While some

higher because if the business ‘ship’ goes down, we are all

interject that passing the business on to the future generation

going with it,” Glaser reflects about the drawbacks of being in

would be nice, most want their children to sow their own wild

a family-owned business. The commitment is high and can be

oats and figure out what they are passionate about on their own.

overwhelming at times as it’s hard to “shut off” the business

They don’t want them to feel obligated to take over the distilling

each day. Ben Capdevielle at Captive Spirits quips, “Truly, when

business when they come of age.

does one ‘turn it off’?” As they say, you are married to the work when you own a small business. In so many cases with a family run business, you and your family are the business. Customer services, HR, maintenance,

“We hope to pass our operations down through the generations, but we would never want to deny any future family member of having that same opportunity whether it is in our business or something entirely different,” shares Glaser.

bottling, phone calls, emails, sweeping - it’s all on you and

Joyce of Seattle Distilling agrees: “If they choose to take on

those few around you. Delegation can take on a much different

the distillery someday, that would be great, but we want them to

perspective when the person you are delegating to is your son,

pursue their own dreams, not ours.”

wife, husband, mother, or father.

“That would be great—but I don’t expect the kids to want what

Many craft distillers find the business leaking into all aspects

we want,” Trish Schwartz at 2 Loons reflects. “I want to give

of their lives. Joyce of Seattle Distilling states, “It’s tough to

them as much information about distilling so they understand

let it go at the end of the workday. More often than not, shop

the basics of it and the challenges of running a business so they

talk makes its way into our dinner conversation and can easily

make informed decisions.”

take over the evening.” Glaser also expresses, “Interestingly,

In the end, however, most just want their children to find

the other day, after I closed the tasting room, a friend of mine

happiness: “Let them go find their own joy and excellence,”

commented that I had just gotten off work. His statement struck

Courtney McKee at Headframe Spirits proposes. Powell of Triple

me as strange because I never really feel like I am ‘off’ work.”

Divide states similarly: “It’s important that our children have

Glaser is not alone. Family distilling changes almost every

choices about their future.”

aspect of professional and personal life. Cancun is swapped for spirits conventions, and distilling workshops take the place of a family camping trip. The still becomes a member of the family,

“THE BLOCKBUSTER”

the clan. If you think kids are high maintenance, try scheduling

WHAT ARE DISTILLERS’ FAVORITE MOMENTS OF WORKING WITH FAMILY?

dinner around a stripping run, or skipping a soccer game so you

“One of my most favorite moments has been when we are

and usually takes on the role of the most demanding member of

can receive a shipment of grain.

bottling products together,” smiles Glaser. She adds that

Even in the most ideal environment working with family can

sometimes it’s just about being together and enjoying each

be a challenge: “It’s damn hard,” divulges Courtney McKee at

other in the moment. Joyce of Seattle Distilling mirrors this

Headframe Spirits. “As great as it is to be part of one another’s

sentiment: “I might be running the still while Tami chats with

successes, it’s insanely hard sometimes to define roles, to

folks who visit our tasting room, while the kids are running

not step on one another’s toes, to not question each other’s

around outside, chasing the kittens or climbing trees. We may

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“SUCCESS STORY” WHAT ADVICE DO FAMILYOWNED CRAFT DISTILLERS HAVE FOR OTHERS?

WE’RE SERIOUS ABOUT OUR WORKSHOPS. WE JUST LOOK LIKE WE’RE HAVING FUN…

There are so many wonderful pieces of advice to share, and many ideas that have been shared in our countless distiller spotlights in prior articles and issues. Some of the biggest parcels of advice, however, revolve around communication, defining roles, patience, and finding time in life to do other things. Here are our top five things to remember when working with family:

1. DEFINE ROLES AND 

STICK TO THEM  John McKee at Headframe Spirits: “Delineate responsibilities and stick to those.”

COMMUNICATION IS KEY 2. Paco Joyce at Seattle Distilling: “Communicate. Keep talking to each other.” (And don’t assume, you may miss something!)

AMERICAN DISTILLING INSTITUTE

DISTILLING WORKSHOPS SUMMER/FALL 2015

3. BE PATIENT WITH ONE ANOTHER 

Ashby Marshall at Spirit Works: “You need patience because it can be frustrating.” Take a deep breathe, be calm, and work through it.

FIND BALANCE  4. Timo Marshall at Spirit Works: “Try to remember to do the things you love.” Find time for hobbies, family (not shop talk), and going and doing things that matter to you beyond the distilling business.

FAMILY COMES FIRST  5. Karen Powell at Triple Divide: “It doesn’t always matter how you get there, as long as you share in the daily experience and remember that family always comes first.”

be working on the weekend, but at least we’re doing it together.” And sometimes it’s those monumental moments of their businesses that stick out: “It’s the day we opened,” Powell of Triple Divide remembers. “The excitement of coming up with an idea and making a plan together, and then when opening day

HANDS-ON WHISKEY DISTILLING WORKSHOP Basic Distillery Operations Instructor: Robert Cassell Millstone Spirits, Philadelphia, PA June 18-21, 2015

WORKING WITH BOTANICALS

Gin, Liqueurs, Bitters, Amaro and Absinthe Instructor: Stephen Gould Golden Moon Distillery, Golden, CO July 30 - August 2

HANDS-ON BRANDY DISTILLING MASTER CLASS Working with grape varietals Instructor: Hubert Germain-Robin McMenamin’s CPR Distillery, Hillsboro, OR. October 18-23

came, there was this sense of wonderment—wow, we really did it!”

For more information, go to www.distilling.com/workshops

All in all, sometimes it’s just being there and being available for one another as Ben and Holly Capdevielle at Captive share: “Rolling with the punches with your best friend is pretty killer!”

®

Being a part of a family team provides comfort and encouragement that seems hard to find in almost any other business dynamic.

WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM 49


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We offer a Special Rate for craft spirit producers like you.


STAVE & THIEF SOCIETY

the BOURBON SOMMELIER WRITTEN BY CHRIS LOZIER

E

ven the most adventurous consumer can appreciate the

in development, with a planned summer release, but the CBS

advice of a credible professional in the wide world of

and EBS programs are already educating and certifying students.

alcoholic beverages. Wine lovers depend on certified sommeliers for expert evaluations of their favorite varietals, and beer buffs can find the same assurance in certified cicerones. For bourbon devotees, however, there has previously been no clear standard certification program. While some expert reviewers are competent and trustworthy, your bartender may not be. To better educate the food and hospitality industry, in particular managers, bartenders and frontline service staff, the Distilled Spirits Epicenter in Louisville, Kentucky recently debuted the Stave & Thief Bourbon Certification Program. Facilitated through the Epicenter’s educational division, Moonshine University, the Stave & Thief Society offers a standardized bourbon education with several levels of certification. “Picture a sommelier program, but it’s specifically for bourbon,” says Colleen Thomas, Marketing Director for Moonshine University. “It’s the first program of its kind developed and recognized by the bourbon industry.” Moonshine University already offers distilling and spirits classes at their campus in the heart of bourbon country, taught by master distillers and production staff from some of the most respected heritage and craft distilleries in Kentucky, and therefore the world. Working together, those same experts designed the Stave & Thief program to provide an exclusive bourbon education to students. The Stave & Thief Society offers three levels of certification: Certified Bourbon Steward, CBS, Executive Bourbon Steward, EBS, and Master Bourbon Steward, MBS. The MBS level is still

HOW DOES IT WORK? The EBS level is designed for managers and owners of food and hospitality establishments, like restaurants, bars and hotels. EBS students attend an intensive one-day course at Moonshine University where they participate in hands-on distilling, nosing and tasting, supported by lectures and explanations from the professionals, who work with students directly to answer their questions. After the course they complete two exams.

One exam is

a paper test based on the coursework, the other is a sensory evaluation administered by the faculty. They must score 80 percent or higher on both exams in order to pass and receive their certification. Once certified, EBSs leave with 10 CBS course packets and online exam codes which they administer to their frontline employees, like bartenders and waiters. Once a CBS candidate completes their workbook they take an online exam along with a controlled sensory evaluation, both of which are scored and validated by Moonshine University. Again, they must score 80 percent or better to receive their CBS certification. Course material includes bourbon history, distillation science, production techniques, bourbon chemistry, barrel aging and more. Terms like “straight” and “Bottled in Bond” are explained, and the manual also defines other whiskey categories, like Tennessee and Scotch. Certified Bourbon Stewards will be able to competently tell

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their customers why bourbon is different from other whiskey and they want to hear it from an expert. That’s why the program categories, and what makes each bottle unique. With this is attracting a wider audience than business managers and knowledge, they can guide their customer to one that suits their bartenders. taste, improving their experience and boosting sales at the bar.

“The visitor and convention bureau in Lexington, Kentucky is a member of Stave & Thief, and they will attend one of the first

WHO CAN PARTICIPATE?

classes,” she tells. Distillers from around the country are also The Stave & Thief Society is open to anyone who wants to showing interest in the program, not only for the education, but improve their understanding of bourbon and would like to benefit also for the credentials the certification endows. their business or their credibility by becoming certified. While

Featuring experts from many different distilleries, Stave & the MBS level will only be available to qualified applicants, the Thief is not brand specific or affiliated with any brands. Many EBS level is open to everyone. distilleries are providing samples of their bourbons at different

The only exclusive level of the program is the CBS certification. stages of distillation and maturation, and Moonshine University CBS members are frontline hospitality staff who must be employed is compiling a library of those samples to use for the advanced by a certified business, and under the guidance of an EBS. sensory education and evaluations. Thomas says the restrictions on the levels of certification retain Stave & Thief is another example of the excellent collaboration

the validity of the program. Not just anyone can become a CBS, in the distilling industry. Distilleries are working alongside and in order to become an EBS or MBS, you have to attend the each other to promote the whole industry, not just their brand,

classes and pass the tests. There is no way to become certified and distillers, businesses, bartenders and consumers are all without demonstrating a high level of bourbon expertise. benefiting. “It was developed for the hospitality industry, but also to promote

“We want to keep it as brand neutral as possible,” tells Thomas. and uphold the culture of the bourbon industry,” she explains. “Marketing aside - blind bourbon - let’s learn about that.” With bourbon’s exploding popularity, both at home and abroad, Thomas says people want to know more about our native spirit,

For more information on Stave & Thief, visit www.staveandthief.com or call (502) 301-8126.

by I N D E P E N D E N T S T A V E C O M P A N Y

Our exper tise allows us to unlock the r ic h v a n i l l a , sweet c a r a m e l and svelte textures hidden d e e p within the oak of our b a r r e l s.

Dedicated to Our Customers’ Success Since 1912

Jeff LaHue | 5 73 442 5707 | jeff.lahue @ independentstavecompany.com | www.independentstavecompany.com 52 WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM


ST. GEORGE SPIRITS WRITTEN BY C H R I S LOZI E R

///

J

PHO T O G R A P H Y BY A M A N DA J OY CH R I S T E N S E N

örg Rupf helped to launch the modern craft distilling movement 32 years ago when he founded St. George Spirits in 1982. Rupf came to California to study law at

UC Berkeley by way of Germany’s Black Forest. Once here, he fell in love with the fruit, and decided to continue his family’s distilling heritage in the bay area burg of Emeryville. Lance Winters, St. George’s current owner, says St. George was the very first of the small distilleries. Winters began working for Rupf 19 years ago before they moved across the freeway to an airport hangar in Alameda. “It wasn’t called a craft distillery back then, it wasn’t called an artisan distillery,” tells Winters. “There was no movement. It was just a distillery.” When Winters started, St. George focused exclusively on eau-de-vies and their best customer was Germany. Winters says Germany and Switzerland were already saturated in well-made eau-de-vies, so it was a testament to Rupf’s skill and California fruit that Germans would pay more to import his spirits. At first Winters wanted to make whiskey, but he had to learn to make eau-de-vies first, something he says greatly influenced his approach to distilling. Eventually, though, he did get to make whiskey, and he made a lot of it, as well as a number of other highly regarded spirits. St. George’s Single Malt Whiskey is Whisky Advocate magazine’s 2014 Craft Whiskey of the Year, and Whisky Magazine named them the 2014 Craft Whiskey Producer of the Year.

Artisan Spirit magazine’s Creative Director Amanda Christensen walked the floor of St. George with Winters, where he was kind enough to share some of his views on distilling, past, present and future. Here is an excerpt of what he had to say...


Did you anticipate St. George Spirits would be this successful when you started 19 years ago? No way. I just knew that I loved what I was doing and was overjoyed to be able to work with Jörg.

Did you anticipate the growth of the small distilling industry? About five years into starting at the distillery, I started to see a lot of brewers get interested in distilling. These were guys who were passionate about beer, and they were looking for a new direction to point that passion. I realized at that point that we were most definitely on the cusp of a renaissance in the industry.

How was Jörg instrumental in the growth of the craft distilling movement? He knew early on that we couldn’t really succeed in a vacuum, so he started training a lot of other people on how to distill. He helped Steve McCarthy get Clear Creek started. Randall Grahm at Bonny Doon Vineyards wanted to get into distillation, so Jörg went down and helped him. He taught classes in Michigan on how to distill. He helped set up Westford Hill Distillers in Connecticut, Lou and Margaret Chatey. He helped Lance Hanson of CapRock get started. He knew he had to help build a community. Because of that, I give him credit for starting the whole craft distilling movement in this country, and I think that what’s taken place with craft distilling here has helped fuel it in the rest of the world.

How does Rupf’s legacy continue to guide St. George? When I first showed up 19 years ago, it was a slow, slow time, so I wandered through the distillery and I found tanks and drums and barrels that hadn’t been bottled because Jörg believed that if a product’s not good enough to put your name on it, you don’t just put it out to try and make money off of it because you’ve got money spent on it. It just chips away at your reputation. I think 32 years later we have a very strong reputation because the things that we put out are things that we feel very strongly about and we’re in love with.

How has your eau-de-vie background influenced your approach to making whiskey? Making eau-de-vies is about taking a raw material - a pear, a raspberry, a cherry - and translating all the things that you love about that to the glass. Once I had that philosophy firmly in my head, then we could set about making a whiskey that was truly our own.

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55


How have consumer tastes changed since you started at St. George? When I first started at the distillery, people were drinking white wine spritzers. Seriously. WTF? These days, the American consumer isn’t afraid to order a cocktail whose profile is driven by high proof spirits. I think that the rise in great quality spirits has really helped move that shift along.

How much experimenting do you do, and how many of your experimental spirits go into production?

I do tons of experimenting. Less than one percent of the experiments go into production, but each experiment helps us to explore the boundaries of the art form.

What do you think the St. George product lineup will look like in 5 years? Like it does now, but with more whiskey.

Can you tell us a little about Hangar One? You sold the brand, and were continuing to produce the product for Proximo. What is the situation now? The end of the production agreement was April 28th 2014, as well as our non-compete. So we can make vodka for ourselves at this point. It’s kind of a mixed bag going back into that. I love being able to because Hangar One was, for a lot of people, their first introduction to a St. George product. And we were able, once they tried that, to get them to try some of our other things. It opened their eyes as to what craft distillation could be. The mixed bag part of it is, we don’t want to go back over the same ground that we covered, we want to create something that is new again. So that is what we are doing. We have a number of things on our mission statement, and one is to reinvent every category we go into. If you don’t have something new and valid to add to the conversation, why would you

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join the conversation? If you just jump in and repeat what somebody else just said, you don’t have something new.

“If you want it done and you want it done right, you call Joseph & Joseph.”

Is there an endgame? Are you going to retire anytime soon?

CORKY TAYLOR, CHAIRMAN/4TH GENERATION,

I had this investment that I need to see a return on. I guess

KENTUCKY PEERLESS DISTILLING COMPANY

I do what I do because I love what I do. I don’t do it because it is, but it’s not a financial one. I’m investing my life and my heart in this, and the return on it is that I want to see St. George Spirits have the rightful place in the pantheon of great distilleries. What we want to be able to do is the equivalent of liquid poetry. I want to be able to pour something into the bottle that has more than alcohol, aroma and flavor - it has heart. At some point I would love to retire away from administrative things. Filling out paperwork, doing some of the mundane things we do here, but I don’t have to retire for that. I just have to hire somebody else. We just have to get to the point where I can afford somebody to handle all those things instead of me having to do it. We’ve grown from being a one and half man operation, to 26 full time employees. So a lot of the tasks I would have done in the past, I’ve got other people handling, freeing me up to do, mostly, just the things that I love doing.

And what are those things? Exploring, pushing the edges of the envelope when it comes to the spirits. Even exploring things that aren’t spirits. I’ve got a small batch of soy sauce going because I started playing with Koji, which is the fungus that has the enzymes that convert starches into sugars for making things like Shochu. And I fell in love with what it did and wanted to see what it does as its making

Designing distilleries for more than a century. Coast to Coast.

soy sauce. Seeing what things can be distilled, and what can’t

Expertise from craft distilleries in urban and rural locations to master plans and designs for major spirits companies.

What principles are essential to the continued growth of the craft distilling industry?

be distilled, and what shouldn’t be distilled. That sort of thing.

Four things are essential to the growth of the craft segment: innovation, quality, integrity and transparency. The spirits that we craft have to taste great and unlike anything else that’s already out there. We have to be honest about how they’re made, and allow customers to see us work so that we can maintain their trust.

502-583-8888 | info@josephandjoseph.net | josephandjoseph.net

St. George Spirits is located in Alameda, CA. For more information visit www.stgeorgespirits.com or call (510) 769-1601.

58 WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM


why oak? WRITTEN BY CHAD CHRIESTENSON

i

t almost goes without saying that barrel aging is an important Northeast, it was rum coming from the Caribbean whose quality part of the spirit making process. In fact, it is often necessary, increased on the boat ride north. In Louisiana, it was whiskey

and sometimes required by law, to barrel age in order to achieve coming down from Bourbon County, Kentucky that gained the flavors and aromas we’ve come to associate with many notoriety. Due to the prevalence of oak in the US, especially in popular spirits. But why do we always choose oak?

the interior east, most of these barrels were made of new oak,

In order to answer this, we have to start by focusing on a unlike their European counterparts which tended to be used. different question: Why barrels? It turns out the idea, if not barrels

“The bottom line is it just tastes better,” Steve Mayes, owner

themselves, dates all the way back to the ancient Egyptians, the of Redhead Barrels in Dallas, Texas told me. “You’ll get some same civilization, coincidentally, that first distilled spirits. The flavor profile variation amongst varieties of oak,” he continued barrel turned out to be an impressive technological advance. In in his slow, deliberate Texas drawl, “but they’re all going to be fact, its design superiority is evidenced by the fact that it has good. Whereas, you’re not going to get something comparable undergone very few improvements in thousands of years. A single worker can easily rock a barrel of considerable weight

from pine, for instance.” Taste isn’t the only reason. I contacted Independent Stave

onto its side and roll it almost anywhere without additional help. Company’s David Llodra in Napa Valley and he cited four primary The barrel is also designed such that if dropped the impact reasons for choosing oak: strength, durability, purity and flavor. is absorbed through all the staves, making it a much better Let’s take a closer look at each of these. alternative to crates whose corners and sides easily give. For everything from salt to nails to fish to tar. It was only a matter of

strength

time before spirits ended up in them, as well.

of the tree, running from the heartwood out to the bark. These

these reasons, barrels have been used for millennia to transport

Medullary

rays

are

flat

cell

structures that lie along the radius

In the United States, consumers began noting the changes in rays are typically much harder than the rest of the tree and play product quality coming out of barrels in the late 18th and early an important role in both strength and flexibility. In most trees 19th centuries, both in New Orleans and in New England. In the they are only one cell wide. However, in oak they can be several

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cells wide. In fact, in American Oak they make up more than a quarter of the wood volume.

durability

Oak,

like

other

trees,

contains xylem and phloem

DDM 2911 PLUS Density Meter

vessels which carry nutrients and water from the roots and leaves

0.01% Alcohol Determination

As the tree grows, old vessels are replaced by new ones closer to

to the rest of the plant. These vessels lie just beneath the bark. the outside. In most trees these vessels remain open. However,

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during the conversion of sapwood to heartwood, oak forms tyloses through the ballooning of cell walls along these vessels. The result is that the heartwood becomes completely sealed and won’t leak out the ends when spirits are aged in it.

purity

Pine and cedar trees have large resin veins. While this makes for a pleasant

smell in the forest, it is not suitable for aging spirits for two reasons. First, the flavor of this resin is far less appealing than the aroma. And, second, the distribution of the veins is not uniform. Oak, on the other hand, has a very even structure and no such veins.

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flavor

This

gets

extremely

complex

and

complicated. Suffice it to say that the

interplay between oak’s gallic and ellagic acids, lactones, eugenols, vanillins, acetic and linolenic acids, etc., and the spirits that go into the barrel produces flavors and aromas that

d Winning Awa r o t 1855 ork ince S u p p ly i n g C s s ller d i st i

are appealing to the human palate. It is important to note that much of what happens with flavor development in the barrel could not happen without heat treatment and good cooperage. Aging whiskey in an untreated barrel yields a far different and less pleasing product. While some distilleries are experimenting with other types of woods such as maple and hickory, none will ever replace oak. “If we could use something else, we would,� Mayes of Redhead Barrels told me. “We’re facing a real shortage of oak right now. But there’s nothing else that comes close.� This is just the tip of the iceberg. Scientific papers have been published looking at everything from the effects of drying techniques on stave performance to the exact chemical processes governing the breakdown of linolenic acids into aromatic aldehydes and alcohols. But, as Mayes and Llodra both pointed out, it really boils down to the fact that whiskey tastes really good when it’s aged in oak.

Ĺ­KFMJOFLDPN

Chad Chriestenson has worked in the beer, wine & spirits industries. He currently lives, drinks & writes in Madison, Wisconsin. You can reach him at chad.chriestenson@gmail.com.

60†WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM


Up co ming 5 - Day Rum Cour se: O c t . 5 - 9 2015, Kent uc k y, USA Arm Yourself with Rum Expertise and Propel your Rums to the Next Level! Successful rum brands star t with the end in mind. Our curriculum is d e s i g n e d t o t a ke y o u “ f r o m t h e g r a s s t o t h e g l a s s ! ” D a y 1: T h e B u s i n e s s o f R u m . W e w i l l g u i d e y o u t h r o u g h t h e e c o n o m i c a n d p o l i t i c a l l a n d s c a p e o f t h e i n d u s t r y, s o y o u u n d e r s t a n d y o u r c o m p e t i t o r s ’ a d v a n t a g e s a n d disadvantages. Day 2: The Classif ic at ions of Rum. We analy ze c ommercially available r ums to identif y their organoleptical characteristics and associated production costs. D a y 3 : T h e A r t o f R u m M a k i n g . Yo u w i l l s p e n d a n e n t i r e d a y e x p l o r i n g t h e d i s t i l l a t i o n of rum, understanding cuts and derived st yles, using laborator y and production stills. D a y 4 : H i s t o r y a n d S c i e n c e o f t h e B a r r e l . Yo u w i l l s p e n d a f u l l d a y e x p l o r i n g a n d u n d e r s t a n d i n g r u m ’s t r a n s f o r m a t i o n i n s i d e t h e b a r r e l . D a y 5 : E s s e n t i a l R u m L a b o r a t o r y a n d Te c h n i q u e s & I n t r o d u c t i o n t o R u m Blending. On the last day of the c ourse, you will devote time to understanding and using laborator y techniques, culminating in your blending of three dif ferent rums. N o t e: T h i s 5 - D a y R u m C o u r s e f u l f i l l s a l l t h e a c a d e m i c p r e - r e q u i s i t e s f o r o u r Advanced Rum Distillation and Advanced Rum Blending courses.

A few comments from our recent graduates: “ C h a n g e d h o w I m ove f o r w a r d , i n a g r e a t w ay.” ( T. C h a s e, S o u t h C a r o l i n a) “ E xc e l l e n t ! ” ( B . C a f f e r y, L o u i s i a n a) “ E xc e l l e n t ex p e r i e n c e . Wo u l d l i ke t o h ave t h i s t y p e o f t r a i n i n g f o r my d i s t i l l e r y p e r s o n n e l .” ( L . C o r d e r o, P u e r t o R i c o) “ I t w a s exc e l l e n t . I c o m m e n d y o u r g r o u p and team for this fine course. I ’m h o n o r e d t o h ave b e e n h e r e .” ( F. S t i p e s , P u e r t o R i c o)

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All class related materials Break fast, lunch and refreshments daily N e t w o r k i n g D i n n e r/ R e c e p t i o n Tr a n s p o r t a t i o n b e t w e e n T h e B r o w n H o t e l a n d M o o n s h i n e U n i ve r s i t y S p e c i a l: R e g i s t e r b e f o r e S e p t e m b e r 7t h a n d r e c e i ve 4 n i g h t s f r e e a t T h e B r o w n H o t e l !

“ C o n g r a t u l a t i o n s ! Ke e p u p t h e g r e a t w o r k . Tr e m e n d o u s l e a r n i n g ex p e r i e n c e (a n d h u m b l e). T h e c o u r s e b r o u g h t s o m u c h c o n f i d e n c e a b o u t t h e t o p i c .” ( F. L a Fr a n c o n i , N eva d a) “ Ve r y b e n e f i c i a l f o r m e .” ( D. B o u l l é, S eyc h e l l e s)


the Whole

Package

A Free Packaging Workshop Presented by Artisan Spirit, Fort Dearborn Company, Moonshine University, O-I, and Tapi WRITTEN BY CHRIS LOZIER

O

ur mission at Artisan Spirit Magazine is to support creativity, innovation, and integrity within the craft distilling industry. We’re pleased to be furthering our publication’s educational mission with in-person workshops. Your product’s packaging sends a message to consumers. When a person looks at your bottle alongside others on the shelf, what differentiates you from your competition? More importantly, does your packaging accurately represent your brand? Every part of your packaging is telling your brand story. You want to make sure that story checks out. You want to make sure it represents what is in the bottle. “Great,” you say, “I’m ready to do that. But how?” Artisan Spirit magazine asked the same question. “We found that there was this huge reservoir of knowledge and experience out there for distillers, but very few outlets,” explains Editor Brian Christensen. “They exist, but they can be hard to identify.” So on January 9, 2015, Artisan Spirit offered their first workshop for distillers, “The Whole Package,” at Moonshine University’s campus in Louisville, Kentucky. Working in cooperation with several industry partners the class was presented free, and open to anyone. “We wanted it to be an affordable option that shared

the wealth of experience our sponsors have accumulated throughout the years,” tells Christensen, “without becoming a sales pitch.” Christensen said the workshop was the brainchild of Fort Dearborn’s Jack Vogel, who pitched him the idea at a convention last year. Representatives from each company gave a presentation on their products and processes, as well as an overview of their industry. Sixteen distillers and distilling industry members actively participated in the class, taking notes and asking questions. By working together, the presenters were able to give the attendees an in-depth understanding of the options available to them, and how those options can work together to build a strong brand package.

Glass First up was the canvas that all spirits packaging is based around: the bottle. Attendees were introduced to the glassmaking process to help them understand why some designs were preferable and some were not. Whether you are choosing a stock bottle or having one custom made, it is important for your bottle designer to have an understanding of the functional and manufacturing side of

62 WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM


it? Once you know who your target market is, you should choose

glass production. When choosing a bottle, the O-I team said that one of the first considerations is shape, which is the primary driver for creating

a closure to fit that image. Is it a rural or urban theme? You might not want a rough

personas. Changing the profile creates a communication of where

stopper if your market design is urban.

that brand wants to be. It also drives some utility considerations,

You might want a smoother, cleaner

as well, like how easy it will be to pour and grasp. Embossing

type of look for a cosmopolitan

design elements directly into the glass like signatures and

brand image.

emblems provide additional branding opportunities for more difficult label areas such as sloping shoulders.

People make assumptions about a bottle’s contents

Sample bottles were passed around the room so attendees

because of the type of

could feel the difference in bottle shapes. Bottle shape can send

stopper chosen. If you want

a message to the consumer that the product

your product on the top shelf,

is masculine, feminine, traditional, contemporary,

value,

premium,

or a blend of those traits, and the instructors demonstrated how these effects could be achieved in a variety of ways. They also said that glass clarity and bottle weight are also leading factors in bottle choice. The team covered glass

you should probably consider a

Bottle shape can send a message to the consumer that the product is masculine, feminine, traditional, contemporary, value, premium, or a blend of those traits.

making ingredients, and explained how low-iron raw materials create cosmetic flint glass which reveals the

People make assumptions about a bottle’s contents because of the type of stopper chosen.

textured

wood

or

a

smooth metal or acrylic T-top that represents your brand image. If you are marketing your product as a value brand, go with a plastic threaded cap and save yourself some money. To illustrate, a case study was presented of a popular bourbon brand that decided to switch to a plastic threaded cap and move to the value shelf right before the bourbon boom. The product was

good, so had they stayed with their original closure or gone the other way they would probably be riding the wave of the current demand for premium bourbon.

purest product color while higher levels of iron in commercial

Between the plastic threaded caps at about ten cents apiece,

flint glass cast variations in transparency. They showed samples

and extravagant, custom stoppers that can cost several dollars,

of each glass medium, and explained why a distiller might

there is a wide range of options, like ROPPs. Roll On Pilfer

choose different options. The composition of cosmetic flint glass

Proof aluminum caps are popular with larger brands who want

allows bottle designs with thicker bases for a more premium look.

a closure lower in price than T-tops. However, ROPP closures

Heavy bottles are perceived as higher quality, and many brands

also require application machinery, where the other types do not.

choose custom designs with a platform bottom to support the premium image. When it comes to a richly-colored whiskey or rum, this can be very attractive.

Closures

Labels Closing out the class was a comprehensive presentation on labels. The label should be considered at the same time as the bottle and the closure, because labels can influence the design

Closures often need to be considered at the same time as the

of the other two, and the bottle and closure both might need to

bottle because of the bottle finish. If a threaded cap is going to

be manufactured specially to suit the label’s shape and material.

be used, the bottle should match the thread depth and pitch. If

When you’re getting into package design, it’s important to

a cork T-top is going to be used, the inside and outside diameter

consider all three of these at one time. There really is no order

of the finish should match the size of the cork and the stopper.

of importance, they all come together.

When you are choosing your packaging you need to consider

The team brought samples of different types of labels and

your target market. To do that, ask questions about their

passed them around the room, as well as bottles that featured

demographic. Who is going to drink your spirit? Who is attune to

unique and iconic brand labels. Spirits labels come in four

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formats: cut & stack, pressure sensitive, roll-fed and shrink-

style of your text, foiling and embossing, will tell the consumer

sleeve. Each format can be customized, and a label designer

what to expect, and help them choose your bottle over another.

can show you the options and costs. Depending

on

the

texture,

Finally, the most important consideration when developing not gloss,

foiling,

embossing, debossing and shape you want,

just a label, but a complete package that effectively represents your brand and tells your story: know what that story is to begin

the label manufacturer will use different formats, materials and application methods, using their experience to produce the best combination of these options. One very important factor in designing the label is what the enduser will do with the bottle. Is this

with. The packaging is going to complement your brand, so

One very important factor in designing the label is what the end-user will do with the bottle.

product going to go in a freezer? An ice

develop your story before you develop your packaging.

The Future The first class for Artisan Spirit was more successful and educational than we could have hoped for. It was also as much of a learning process for us and the instructors

bath? Someplace hot? Experienced label

as it was for the students. We plan to take those lessons and

designers will ask these questions, and they can tell you if the

apply them to more classes, workshops, and events in the

design and materials you are considering will meet the usage

future. We look forward to any opportunity to continue working

demands of your customers.

with distillers, educators, suppliers, and our partners to share

Along with the appearance, the feel of the label also sends

knowledge and education in the distilling industry.

a powerful brand message. Labels can feel rough and textured, clean and smooth, or they can contain a mixture of different feels. The complexity of your label’s feel alone, aside from the flash or

To be the first to hear about future workshops, sign-up for our email newsletter at www.artisanspiritmag.com.

64†WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM


Sloe Dancing w i t h S P I R I T W O R K S D I S T I L L E RY WRITTEN

BY

AMBER

G.

CHRISTENSEN-SMITH

///

PHOTOGRAPHY

BY

AMANDA

JOY

CHRISTENSEN


There’s calmness at Spirit Works Distillery now, after regular hours, as we have an opportunity to see the inner workings of the larger than usual craft distilling space. It’s after the hustle and bustle of the day, running with gyrating machinery and dancing hoses across the floors that Ashby, head distiller, and Timo are able to share their passion and the hard work evident in this space.

“Into the Mystic”

This gave them time to really dig into

a staff they trust and to focus on what

Spirit Works, owned by Timo and Ashby

the world of craft distilling. Timo explains

they are passionate about—trying new

Marshall, lives on dance, music, and a

they were able to, “Build systems that

things and creating fabulous gin, vodka,

little cavorting by their Boston Terrier,

work for both Ashby and I. Coming from

and whiskey.

Bandit. The Marshalls have worked

a scientific point of view we were able to

Ashby and Timo have both found their

together for years on ships and in the field

build those type of recipes and then Ashby

natural roles in production, finding that

of environmental non-profits before they

has been able to build into that process,

each of them is better at certain tasks--

chose to try their hand at distilling.

as well as much more of the intuitive

but they are both able to complete each

visual side of it, and then produce the

other’s roles as needed. “Ashby and I

product.”

have very different angles of approach to

And they didn’t just leap in. Timo and Ashby played the game smart by calculating everything. While many craft

things. I’m very scientific and quite logical

distillers follow the pattern of jumping in

“Have I Told You Lately”

and getting a liquid on the shelf quickly in

The Marshalls take pride in working

about what happens, which makes her a

order to build some capital, Timo wanted

side by side and in figuring everything

great distiller,” states Timo. He goes on to

time to build a business and to research

out in this distilling dance, so they know

explain that Ashby is like a cook that will

before fully producing a bottle that was,

the inner workings of all aspects of their

taste the soup to see if something needs

in their eyes, ready for the public. They

craft. “We’ve done absolutely everything

to be added, and generally figures things

built into their financing time to learn,

ourselves,” shares Timo. All their hard

out by eye. Timo likes the recipe to follow,

practice, experiment, and to get all their

work has given them some chances to

so between the two, they compliment

paperwork prepared—so that once they

learn that it’s okay to take some days off

each other in this pirouetting of roles in

did need to start bringing in capital they

here and there after working two years

distilling.

were fully prepared.

straight, and to start to delegate tasks to

about things. Ashby is a lot more intuitive

And making a product with a base that

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is amazing is truly of great importance to

coriander, cardamom, orris root, hibiscus,

the Marshalls. They are proud of their grain

and citrus-lemon zest, creates a wonderful

to glass process, where they mill their own

gin flavor. From there the gin is either

grain, and take it from the initial hull to a

bottled, barreled, or turned into a sloe gin.

final liquid that they call their own. “When I say we make our own base, it’s really important for us to do it correctly and not cut corners,” shares Timo. The Marshalls go from making their base to making vodka that is as pure as they can produce with single distillation. This vodka base is then infused with botanicals in order to make their traditional gin, which has hints of a London dry gin and also a distinct west coast flavor due to their use of California grown red winter wheat. Timo explains that they do not add or take anything away from their gin and like to keep their spirits as a sipping delicacy (that can also be quite flavorful in cocktails). The single distillation leaves sweet and creamy notes and the botanicals of juniper,

“I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” Timo, who is originally from the UK, has always been a fan of sloe gin: “I’ve been making sloe gin since I was a teenager.” Timo found that when he came to the US, there was no sign of the traditional spirit in sight. So what is sloe gin? Sloe gin is a liqueur that takes sloe berries (a relative of the plum) that grow on hedgerows all over Europe. The sloe, a bitter fruit, is picked after the first frost and mashed and blended into gin for further fermenting. “It has an interesting flavor if you do not use too much of it,” says Timo. The sloes are mixed with gin and sugar and left to ferment over several months. The gin will develop a ruby red color during

Stock Inventory Custom Design Decorating Capsules Closures Corks

Y OU R C LE AR C HOICE F O R P R E M I U M PA C K A G I N G S O L U T I O N S

For more than 25 years, Saxco International has been helping distillers create the packaging identity that is their brand. We offer a comprehensive range of products tailored to craft distillers, that includes bottles, corks, closures, and capsules. And for turn-key packaging needs, Saxco is the one-stop-shop solution for bottle design, decoration, and secondary packaging components.

email: spirits@saxco.com

Call Jimmy Owens at 502-326-8451

68 WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM


this process. When ready, the sloes are then

they hand-produce everything and take their

separated from the liquid (some people use

spirits from milling to final product even on

the discarded sloes in wines, jams, and even

these whiskey lines.

chutney) and the liquid is left to set for a

The Marshalls have worked hard in their

little while longer to separate out sediment.

new craft distilling adventure and take

Recipes for sloe gin vary widely and are

pride in innovation, tradition, and building

dependent upon the maker’s tradition and

community with their employees. They’re not

taste. Sloe gin can even develop an almond-

sure what the plan is regarding the future, but

like essence due to steeping with the sloe

they do know they plan to stay small, develop

stones.

their dedicated employees, and they have no

Many Europeans traditionally make sloe

plans to sell as they are in it for the long

gin at home and let it sit for a year before

haul. They plan to continue to do everything

drinking it. It is a source of pride for many

by hand as this is a source of pride in their

rural Europeans who save the bottles for

work. They have a fabulous team that they

special occasions. Luckily, Ashby and Timo

are proud to work with each day, a team that

are able to produce a small line of sloe gin.

certainly keeps a rhythm that is producing

This time around they made “220 bottles,

new and innovative spirits. Timo beams,

but that’s exciting that we get to play a little

“We’re pretty proud of what we do.”

bit,” Timo states. In addition to their gin, barrel-aged gin, sloe gin, and vodka, the Marshalls are producing rye and wheat whiskies. Again,

Spirit Works Distillery is located in Sebastopol, CA. For more info visit www.spiritworksdistillery.com or call (707) 634-4793.

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life barrel OF A

THE

W

RI

TT

EN

BY

ST E

V EN

Y SEIM & P HO TO S B

JAS

ON

PA

RK

ER

NEWBORN We all know that new barrels are becoming harder and harder to come by, and if you’re able to get them in the quantity and quality your business needs you’re in good shape. When new barrels are elusive, however, used barrels become a larger part of a distillery’s stock. With the availability of barrels that have aged everything from spirits to food, the opportunity

LEARNING TO CRAWL

for creativity is thriving. After all, a unique flavor is exactly what

One of the most common and beloved uses for a new barrel

each distillery hopes to find for its products, and the influence

is aging whiskey, which is exactly where our particular barrel

of the wood in a used barrel can help achieve that special

first enters the picture. At this point, let’s just call our little

something. Artisan Spirit wanted to explore the life of a single

barrel HCKC (for reasons explained a little later). Heaven Hill

barrel through several different owners, and a range of liquids,

Distilleries in Bardstown, KY put HCKC to work aging its Old

to find out how each benefited from what came before and

Heaven Hill brand bourbon for seven years, and as with most

discover what is yet to come.

bourbon barrels, the story doesn’t end there.

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GRADUATION Ben Capdevielle from Captive Spirits Distilling started with a very simple premise: if so many of the world’s best spirits are barrel aged, why not his very own Big Gin? Capdevielle had sampled, tasted, and compared many gins stored in new barrels and knew that he wanted something different for his own product. Capdevielle says “I knew I wanted to use used barrels after tasting too many gins aged in new oak that tasted like chewing on burned tree bark.” On its own Big Gin is no slouch either. It’s won multiple awards, and consistently catches the attention of consumers and critics alike. So Capdevielle decided to take the next step of aging his gin for up to six months in used bourbon barrels. Where exactly does one go about procuring a steady supply of used bourbon barrels like our friend HCKC? In Capdevielle’s case, he utilizes a broker in KY that specializes in finding “select” barrels with a very specific prerequisite: they don’t leak. When we asked Capdevielle about the effect the original bourbon had on his gin he said “BBBG (Bourbon Barreled Big Gin) has a touch of whiskey flavors in the finish and the warming spices, like cassia, show up more after barreling.” He fills the barrel with his gin while the barrel is still wet (and after enjoying the residual ounces of whiskey left inside).

So what happens inside a barrel when a spirit interacts with the charred wood that has been exposed to another spirit already? Heidi Karasch of Black Swan Cooperage explains “Each time a barrel is used, its previous contents will have left its “mark” in the flavor that barrel will have to offer.” Capdevielle further clarifies that “Newly charred barrels have lots of carbon that absorb aromas. Used barrels add flavor and aroma from the previous aging of the spirit.” After two or three batches in the same barrel, there will be very little wood flavor imparted on anything aged in the barrel; the strongest flavor will be the previous inhabitant. If an aged product relies on used barrels, but your goal is to maintain consistency from batch to batch, is it even possible? Capdevielle commented on how much variability was acceptable from one batch to the next: “I try for consistency,” he said, “I’m always happy with batch after batch of BBBG. I blend four barrels for each bottling, which helps with a consistent product.” So if you’re able to secure a consistent supply of used barrels, and flex some blending muscle, an aged product can become a permanent part of your product line without too much deviation in flavor. We now know two very important facts about the star of this tale. HCKC started his career as one of many well regarded bourbon barrels from KY, and he is fully capable of holding liquids. So far so good.

CAREER CHANGE Bradley Feather created Kina Tonic, a craft tonic syrup concentrate which can be mixed with soda water and your favorite gin to make something much more impressive than your standard gin and tonic. Feather is next in line for our friendly barrel, and HCKC is about to leave the world of spirits and do something completely different. It’s time to try aging a batch of craft tonic. Why? Because science. Feather is eager to describe to us how aging his tonic in a used gin barrel altered his craft mixer: “A lot of the complex sugars get broken down and many of them get absorbed into the wood. So the resulting tonic is less viscous, a little less sweet, and has a really nice fruity smell to it.” In a single barrel Feather can age 900 bottles of his tonic, and he admits that P H O T O B Y PA O L A T H O M A S

his aging process has so far been an inexact

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science, but with impressive results. He said “We initially wanted to

TWO RULES FOR REUSING BARRELS Black Swan Cooperage in Park Rapids, MN is one of those helping to deliver new barrels into loving, waiting distillery storage. They are quite aware of their customers reusing or selling used barrels

age the tonic for a maximum of eight weeks, but time kind of got away from us. The barrel ended up sitting for nearly five months! Frankly we were worried that it would have been ruined with the extra time, but the result was perfect.”

BACK TO SCHOOL

after their first usage, and have some advice they

After Feather finally remembers HCKC and bottles his beautiful

pass along to anyone interested. According to Heidi

mistake, our barrel travels north to rainy Seattle, WA and comes to

Karasch, “the biggest issue with using a barrel to

rest with Jason Parker of Copperworks Distilling Company. Parker and

age a plethora of different products is keeping it

his team create Gin, Vodka and Whiskey from malted barley. They are

sanitary after each use.” While alcohol acts as an

starting to offer a variety of aged gins with different flavor profiles based

antibiotic in the wood, some creators are aging non-

on the barrel they’ve been aged in. They currently have five different

alcoholic liquids such as tonics and syrups. Karasch

barrel finishes: New Barrel, Malt Whiskey, Peated Malt Whiskey, Gin

suggests two rules for those reusing barrels:

Barrel, and Tonic Barrel with more in the planning stages.

1 2

Besides populating their product line, Parker is focused on the lessons

NEVER LET THE BARREL SIT EMPTY. Be ready to fill immediately

each barrel teaches them about finishing spirits. He said “By using the

after dumping previous contents.

transformations of each type of barrel. We expect this experience to

same gin in all of these experiments, we’re learning about the flavor inform any whiskey finishing we might do, once our whiskey is ready.” So

STAGGER SO THAT EVERY OTHER FILLING IS ONE WITH A HIGHER ABV, if you desire to age a non-

alcohol or lower ABV product (ie. tonic,

while Parker and the rest of Copperworks study, their customers benefit by being able to taste and compare the results of products aged in barrels with very different pasts, including the one we’ve been following. After aging so many other substances, we asked Parker about the

beer, maple syrup, etc..). This rotation will help disinfect the wood for those spirits that aren’t alcoholic. Karasch warns that “usually once a barrel goes bad, there’s no fixing it.” Karasch also described alternative options that are available for those wishing for a newer barrel experience out of a used barrel. A barrel can be cored and re-toasted, or wood inserts can be placed inside the barrel. Karasch explains that, “One of the most important things about barrel aging spirits is the micro-oxygenation that takes place while spirits rest in the barrel. By adding wood inserts to used barrels, you get the best of both worlds: barrel aging and new wood character.” According to Heidi, white oak is the most common wood to use for barrels for two reasons: its preferred taste and it doesn’t leak. However, if you use wood inserts in a used barrel, there are several different wood options available that can provide different flavors.

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For all your boiler needs... effect HCKC’s history might have on their gin. “It’s a great story,” he said, “but the last product in the barrel contributes

make the RITE choice!

almost all of the flavor we get from the barrel.” That’s especially true in this case, with the residual tonic flavors. Parker also recognizes that Copperworks is probably the last time this barrel will age a spirit. They are giving it to Elysian Brewery “where the barrel will age beer first, then be turned into a sour beer aging vessel.” When that’s done, Parker said it will probably become firewood.

RETIREMENT...SORT OF Which brings us to the end of the line for our brave barrel. From cooperage, to bourbon (Heaven Hill), to gin (Captive Spirits), to tonic (Kina Tonic), and back to gin again (Copperworks), HCKC has passed on a little something everywhere it’s been. Thanks to all the producers who have allowed us a peek into the life of this barrel. There are many barrels aging many things in the craft distilling world, and if you get a chance to drink from one, take a moment and remember that each one has a story.

“There were three men www.riteboiler.com Came out of the west Telephone: (562) 862-2135 Their fortunes for to brew Fax: (562) 861-9821 And their kettles for to hold a rolling boil Rite Boilers were what they used”

WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM 73


MEET ME in

MONTANA WILLIE’S DISTILLERY OF ENNIS, MT WRITTEN

T

BY

AMBER

G.

CHRISTENSEN-SMITH

///

here’s a wild feel to the hills and plains of Montana. It’s still very much untouched and vast, and amazingly

pleasing to get lost in. Ask Robin and Willie Blazer, owners of

Willie’s Distillery in Ennis, Montana, and they’ll clearly tell you this place is more than perfect. The Blazers—in their heavenly home found in the beauty of Montana—are creating some of the best moonshine in the West, and have the perfect background for distilling their batches of moonshine, bourbon, and liqueurs. Robin grew up in Montana on a farm, and knew—when the two decided this would be a great venture for them—she could find her way around amazing grains. In contrast, Willie grew up in the moonshine territory of North Carolina, near the Tennessee border. When Willie announced to Robin (as they were digging into what entrepreneurial idea would work best for them) that they should make moonshine, something just clicked. “We never stop coming up with ideas we want to do,” says Robin. She notes that they often keep track of their ideas in a folder and build small business plans for each idea that presents

PHOTOGRAPHY

preparation. The Blazers take their work serious and focus on craft each and every day: “Craft means taking deliberate time and effort to make something exceptional.” They believe in taking something and making it their own. By creating within these parameters each day, they believe you put your signature on a quality product, and it’s important to take pride in that work.

AMANDA

JOY

CHRISTENSEN

the BEGINNINGS… In 2007, the Blazers moved to Ennis, MT, after deciding it was time to go into business for themselves instead of working for others. In Ennis, they found a perfect location for people who love the outdoors—fly fishing, big game hunting, and bowhunting to name a few—as it is a very popular location for sportsmen and tourists. The Blazers learned by research, as well, that these types of travelers typically love good quality small-batch whiskey, and they were ready to create just this very spirit. Robin, as the first distiller for Willie’s, has learned that craft distilling is an art…and a science. “It’s definitely an art. There is science to it…but if we take exactly the same recipe as another distiller we can’t replicate that here. It won’t happen. There is an art and a science to it. It will be different and I don’t know why. I think I know why…all of the science things that go into it… but there’s also that subjectively to it. Science is art. You can’t separate the two, ever.”

OFFERINGS

itself. The distilling one really stuck and Willie’s Distillery was officially born in 2012, after a few hard years of planning and

BY

Willie’s Distillery first began their endeavor with making moonshine. “Moonshine is the same proof as whiskey, and the same thing before it goes in the barrel.” Robin and Willie explain that many people that didn’t grow up around moonshine have misgivings about the clear liquid. Willie has found that he has to educate everyone that is not from the south regarding moonshine and how it’s not as scary as it seems (or prone to causing blindness).

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The Blazers are also stirring up spirits beyond their neo- community—not only asking for help, but giving it back, as traditional moonshine. They have a very popular honey moonshine

well. Many times they have called on other distillers and small

that is blended with molasses and three types of Montana grains. business owners for advice, and now they are giving that same It is noted as somewhat of a rum-whiskey blend as far as taste goes, help to those that they interact with. “We get a lot of calls,” says and it is very popular. Additionally, Willie’s offers their Bighorn

Robin, and she says they are always willing to help someone out.

Bourbon, which is great for sipping or mixing, and their Chokecherry

For the future, Willie’s distillery hopes to continue to grow their

and Huckleberry Sweet Cream liqueurs are great as mixers. brand and to give back to their community. Currently they are licensed in six states and are working on distributing to some

the IMPORTANCE of COMMUNITY One of the biggest draws for the Blazers to Montana and the small town of Ennis, in particular, is that of community. They knew starting a business would require good support and they found this in Ennis with other like-minded small business families—great fellow entrepreneurs to consort with and the added bonus of having like-aged children. This made their decision to start up in Ennis easy as they knew they could be a part of a great community that supported one another. “Collective mind capital is great in Ennis,” notes Robin, and adds that it is also, “important to be with like-minded people” as you develop a business. Robin and Willie stress the importance of being a part of your

southern states where moonshine is most popular. They know they need to grow to keep up with demand and to educate more people about moonshine in the West and Midwest in order to affect growth of that product. Willie also notes that, “Whiskies are starting to really come back.” Spirits go through a cyclical demand and popularity and the demand for whiskey is definitely on the rise. The Blazers look forward to being a part of this growth of bourbon and whiskeys and are excited to grow their community even more by giving back and supporting other local businesses.

Willie’s Distillery is located in Ennis, MT. For more information visit www.williesdistillery.com or call (406) 682-4117.

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This is the first in a series of articles providing a focused look at the Federal regulatory requirements for filing reports of operations and excise tax returns and payments.

S

o, you have just received your Distilled Spirits Plant (DSP) approval. Congratulations and best wishes for

success! You now have a hundred or more things to do

DSP Federal Reporting

as you get started. One item for the list is how to prepare government reports and pay excise taxes for DSP products. In this and succeeding articles, the basics for what and when to file, and answers to the mysteries about what numbers go where, will be reviewed.

MONTHLY REPORT of PRODUCTION OPERATIONS TTB FORM 5110.40 WRITTEN BY JIM MCCOY

There are a few basic concepts to begin with. The Federal Regulations in 27 CFR Part 19 require that you, as the principal operating a DSP, file monthly reports of your Production, Storage and Processing operations, and at least quarterly Excise Tax Return forms and payments. Why three monthly reports? The current required report forms reflect the setup of the DSP records and operations in three areas: Production, Storage and Processing, as required by the regulations. These three areas are where the products are created, warehoused, and finished. Each movement of product between these three areas must be measured and recorded, and those recorded transactions add up to the summary figures on the reports, and removals of finished goods from the DSP are reported in Processing and paid for using the Excise Tax Return. Knowing which information to capture and summarize is the first problem to solve in preparing accurate reports.

MONTHLY REPORT OF PRODUCTION OPERATIONS, TTB F 5110.40 The first report we will look at is the Monthly Report of Production Operations, TTB F 5110.40. This report reflects the quantities of spirits produced, and where they were sent from the production account. This account reports materials used, kind and quantity made, and some other details about certain types of spirits. This report has two pages, beginning with Part I - Transactions, and ending on page 2 with Part VI - Materials Used. In Part I, it is unlikely that the average artisan distiller will ever use “WITHDRAWN

FOR”

Lines 1 through 8, so those

are skipped. Why? The Production account is strictly bulk materials made and likely still in a tank. In short, these are very specific things more likely to be done from the storage or processing area. Lines 9, 10 and 11 are used to report movement of spirits from production to Processing, another DSP (Transfer in Bond), or to Storage, respectively. Line 12 reports samples taken and shipped for analysis; samples kept in bond go in the sampling record, but are not withdrawn from the plant so they are not reported here. Line 14 is the total of the lines above it, for each column of the report.

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The column headings reflect specific types of spirits that you might produce.

WHISKY and Brandy are split into two columns,

by proof determined at the final production gauge. Each column reflects a kind or type of spirits, as reflected in the Standards of Identity in 27 CFR Part 5. For example, Bourbon is a whisky produced at 160 proof or less, from a mash of at least 51% corn. It would be reported in column (b), usually line 11. Why Line 11? Bourbon is required to be aged in a new charred oak barrel, right? So, we send it to Storage to age, after determining how much we made, and filling the Bourbon into barrels. The quantity in your records which was filled into the barrels is what we report on Line 11, column (b). Bourbon is also reported in Part III, along the bottom of page 1, on Line 1, Column (b) “New Cooperage” – note in Part II there are lines for selected types of whisky, plus some blank lines to report other types not listed. The three columns are for reporting the type of cooperage, new or used, or that the whiskey was placed in a tank. Whisky shown as entered in a tank might either

be a corn whisky, which is the only type of whisky not required to be aged in a barrel, or a batch to be filled into barrels after transfer to storage.

BRANDY

is listed as 170 proof (85% ABV) or less, and over

170 proof. Brandy over 170 is neutral brandy, distinct from grape and fruit brandies distilled at the lower proof. Again the standards of identity are reflected in the reporting structure. Brandy production is also reported in Part IV, along the bottom of page 1, types of brandy being listed in column (a) of that section, with proof gallons made to be entered in column (b).

ALCOHOL AND SPIRITS,

190 proof and over, and under 190

proof, are reported in Part I columns (i) and (j). Production of grain neutral spirits (NSG or GNS, whichever designation you are familiar with) is reported in Column (i), either line 11 if sent to storage, or line 9 if sent to processing. Also, in Part II, along the bottom of page 1 of the report, spirits of 190 or more proof are reported by kind of material used.

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RUM is reported in column (f), but note that cane or

REDISTILLATION

molasses spirits produced at or above 190 proof are

simply

classed as “Cane Neutral Spirits” and are included in

of

column (i). Typical in this reporting is that gin may or

redistillation on Line 17(a),

may not be entered in column (g); distilled and redistilled

the amount used in re-

gin will appear here, but a compound gin made under a

distillation shown in Part

formula is produced in the Processing account.

V, indicating kind of spirits

VODKA

is typically made from neutral spirits, so a

the

is

spirits

used

and

reporting

received

proof

for

gallons

distiller would rarely find a need to use column (h);

used on one of the blank

Vodka distilled is reported in column (i) and shows up as

lines, then the production of

“Vodka” when filtered & cut, then bottled in processing.

spirits from redistillation is

UNDER 190 PROOF

and not

included in the appropriate

fitting a standard class, and “OTHER” spirits would be

line in Part I along with other

reported in columns (j) and (k). Column (l) totals across

spirits of the same class in

the lines, with Line 14(l) being the actual “total” proof

columns (b) through (k). Be

gallons distilled during the month.

sure to follow the guidance on

Unique spirits made

re-distillation found in 27 CFR Part 19, Subpart L. Last, on page 2 of the report, show the materials used in production, such as grains, molasses, fruit, juices, etc. either in gallons or pounds, whichever is appropriate for the material. Wine or beer received from a winery or brewery for distillation

would

be

shown

here, as well. The material used is reported when entered in production, not when the spirits are finished. A mash started late in one month and not yet distilled would be reported in the month when started. As brief as possible, the reporting of Production on TTB Form 5110.40, due to be mailed or filed through Pay.Gov by the 15th of each month has been presented in this writing. Next time we will review the preparation of the Storage report, TTB Form 5110.11.

Jim McCoy is Managing Consultant for J. McCoy Alcohol & Tobacco Compliance Consultants LLC in Cincinnati, OH. Jim served over 32 years with ATF and TTB, establishing his consulting firm in 2010 to assist alcohol and tobacco businesses in their efforts to meet Federal regulatory and tax requirements. For more information visit www.jmccoyconsultants.com or email jmccoy@jmccoyconsultants.com

WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM 79


L E R BAR EET H S T A E CH

WE USE A BARREL TO AGE SPIRITS BECAUSE...

MICROXYGENATION ALLOWS FOR A CERTAIN PERCENTAGE OF OXYGEN TO PERMEATE THE WOOD AND INTO THE SPIRITS. THIS ALLOWS FOR THE MOLECULAR INTEGRATION OF THE ALCOHOL AND THE WOOD SUGARS, ULTIMATELY CREATING MATURATION.

FLAV OR EXTRACTION AND LL Y MATURATION ARE 2 TOTA DIFFERENT THINGS.

CANT

NOTES BY HEIDI KARASCH ILLUSTRATION BY ALICE SEIM

CROZE

HEAD CHIME

HEAD HOOP

QUARTER HOOP

RIVET BILGE HOOP

SMALLER BARREL = FASTER OAK EXTRACTION & MATURATION

STAVE JOINT

THE RATIO BETWEEN THE SURFACE AREA OF THE INSIDE OF THE BARREL AND THE CUBIC VOLUME OF SPIRITS INSIDE, IS MORE THAN 2 ½ TIMES GREATER IN SMALLER BARRELS (I.E. 5GALLON) THAN IN LARGE BARRELS (I.E. 53GALLON).

BILGE BUNG HOLE

PLE* REASONS: WHITE OAK FOR 2 VERY SIM

STAVE

# 2: IT TASTES GOOD.

# 1: IT DOESN’T LEAK.

59 FOR MORE INFO

* READ “WHY OAK?” ON PG.

VS AMERICAN WHITE OAK CH WHITE OAK EN FR  FLAVOR: 

R DUE TO THE FRENCH OAK IS MUCH SPICIE AN 10X THE TH RE MO OD, HIGH TANNINS IN THE WO . FRENCH OAK IS A VERY RATIO TO AMERICAN OAK ERICAN RED OAK CLOSE RELATIVE TO THE AM IS CONCERNED. VOR TREE AS FAR AS FLA

T TWICE AS MUCH, FRENCH OAK BARRELS COS EY ARE BETTER. TH AT TH CAUSING A MISCONCEPTION OR INTENSIVE. FRENCH OAK IS MORE LAB  G: SIN ES OC OF SAWN PR IT HAS TO BE SPLIT INSTEAD OSES. TYL OF DUE TO THE LACK

COST: 

WINE BARRELS VS WHISKEY BARRELS WINE BARRELS:  » TRADITIONALLY STRICTLY TOASTED. » OAK MUST BE AIR-DRIED FOR A MINIMUM OF 18-24 MONTHS (WINE CAN BE VERY SENSITIVE TO EXCESSIVE AMOUNTS OF TANNIN IN THE WOOD).

WHISKEY BARRELS:  » TRADITIONALLY ONLY CHARRED. » WOOD AGE IS LESS OF A CONCERN.

TYLOSES: THE GATE VALVES WITHIN THE XYLEM AND PHLOEM TUBES OF THE TREE THAT PREVENT LIQUID FROM FLOWING.

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THE BUNG WILL BREAK IF TAPPED TOO HARD! TAP THE BUNG BACK WITH A FRAMING HAMMER OR RUBBER MALLET UNTIL IT’S LOOSE.

TOASTING — OCCURS OVER AN OPEN FIRE USUALLY CONTAINED IN A METAL CRESSET/BASKET. THROUGH A CONSISTENT, INDIRECT HEAT, THE WOOD ON THE INSIDE OF THE BARREL IS TOASTED TO CARAMELIZE THE WOOD SUGARS MAKING THEM MORE EASILY EXTRACTED BY THE SPIRITS. THIS IS DONE FOR A GIVEN PERIOD OF TIME DEPENDING ON THE LEVEL OF TOAST DESIRED... LIGHT TOAST: GREEN, FRESH OAK, JUST BARELY STARTING TO CARAMELIZE THE WOOD SUGARS

MEDIUM TOAST: 

VANILLA, CARAMEL, BAKERY NOTES, SUGARS ARE PERFECTLY CARAMELIZED AT THIS POINT TO BRING OUT SWEETEST NOTES IN THE WHITE OAK

MEDIUM PLUS TOAST:  SPICE NOTES LIKE CINNAMON AND NUTMEG, COFFEE, STARTING TO BURN SUGARS

HEAVY TOAST: 

SMOKE, HEAVY SPICE, SUGARS ARE VERY BURNT

CHARRING — 

DONE THROUGH DIRECT FLAME, WHERE A FLASH FIRE COMES IN DIRECT CONTACT WITH THE INSIDE OF THE BARREL TO CREATE A LAYER OF CHAR/PURE CARBON THAT ACTS AS A FILTER.

LEVELS:

# 1: BLACKENED # 2: LIGHT CRAZING # 3: DEFINED CRAZING

# 4: DEEP CRAZING, STARTING TO PEEL AND FLAKE # 5: ENTIRE INSIDE PEELING AND FLAKING

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WE CAN USE TECHNOLOGY TO GET THE WOOD EXTRACTION EVERYONE IS AFTER WITH AN ALTERNATIVE; BUT...  THE MICROXYGENATION PROCESS THAT  OCCURS IN A TRADITIONAL WHITE OAK BARREL  HAS YET TO BE REPLICATED!

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OPTIMIZING DISTILLERY PROFITS BY IMPROVING YIELDS W R I T T E N B Y P AT R I C K H E I S T, P H . D

p

roducing an enjoyable and high quality spirit is often the primary goal of a distillery. However, there are other factors that are important from a profitability standpoint. One of the most important being distillery yield. The simplest definition of yield is the amount of ethanol recovered per weight or volume of feedstock used. In grain-based spirits like bourbon, yield would be measured as proof gallons of ethanol produced per bushel of grain. In rum production, yield is measured as gallons of ethanol per ton of molasses or as a function of fermentable sugars. Often, distillery plant managers are expected to maintain a certain yield, which is a measure of success. The process of making a distilled spirit is complex and has many different components, from mechanical to microbiological and biochemical, all having a direct impact on yield. Here we examine the process of distilled spirits production and highlight areas that have the biggest impact on yield. We will also discuss how to identify yield issues and implement solutions for improvement. Our focus will be primarily on grain-based spirits like bourbon, but many of the same principles apply to other distilled spirits.

FEEDSTOCK CONCERNS The feedstock is the material used in fermentation that supplies a source of fermentable sugars to the yeast for alcohol production. There are several important factors relative to the feedstock that are directly related to yield. For grainbased spirits, the most important considerations are starch and moisture content. Starch must first be broken down into fermentable sugar, so the amount of starch is directly related to how much ethanol you can produce. Moisture content is important for several reasons. If moisture is too high (for grain this equates to 17% or higher) this can cause issues with milling or can cause the grain to rot in storage. If you look at the price of a bushel of grain, you also don’t want to pay for more moisture than you have to (water is normally cheaper than grain!). Other grain-related problems that result in yield reduction

include foreign material like corn stover, dirt and rocks. Same as with moisture, if foreign material is excessive this translates to yield loss because it is not fermentable, yet included in the bushels that you paid for. Foreign material like rocks can damage milling equipment, which can add cost beyond lost ethanol yield. Fungal mycotoxins are another grain-associated problem that can lead to yield loss. Mycotoxins are metabolic byproducts that result from growth of certain contaminating fungi like Aspergillus and Fusarium species that produce aflatoxin and fumonisin, respectively. There are many other types of fungal mycotoxins and the yield loss results from toxic effects on the yeast during fermentation and manifests as stuck fermentations with leftover sugars. Mycotoxin production is favored by certain environmental conditions experienced during the growing season and harvest. Aflatoxins, for example, are produced when there are hot and dry conditions at harvest.

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COOK AND CONVERSION

to the enzymes and that all of the milled grains are going into

Conversion of starch to fermentable sugars is very important

high proportion of fermentable sugars like maltose and glucose,

to achieving a high ethanol yield. This starts with proper milling

but also some larger dextrins that will continue to be digested

of the grains to produce the flour. If the grains are not ground

during fermentation to release additional maltose and glucose.

sufficiently, the larger particle size can decrease exposure of the

Table 1 line A shows a typical HPLC profile of a bourbon mash

starch to the malt (or added) enzymes, which are responsible

just after cook.

solution. Proper cooking will result in a sugar profile that has a

for breaking down the starch. Any starch that is not converted to fermentable sugars results in less potential ethanol, and a reduction in yield. Sieve analysis can be implemented to make sure you are getting a consistent particle size in the grinding process. It is also important to limit the amount of grain lost through dust or during transfer of the flour to the cooker. Bushels that never get to the fermentor make for a low yield! Once a reasonable particle size has been achieved, the next step is enzymatic conversion of starch to fermentable sugars during the mashing process. This is dependent on enzymes present in the malt or addition of commercial enzymes if malted grains are not added. Enzymatic starch conversion hinges on several factors, the first being the amount of enzymes in the malt. This information is normally supplied with the COA accompanying the malt and is termed enzyme activity. Enzymes require several different conditions for optimum activity including temperature, pH, residence time in cook, and presence of certain co-factors (like calcium), among others. Insufficient cook temperature or residence time can lead to partial starch conversion and reduction in yield. If temperatures are too high (over boiling) this can lead to denaturing of the enzymes and loss of activity. Other factors like agitation are also important to make sure that the starch is getting good exposure

YEAST AND FERMENTATION The yeast is the workhorse of fermentation and is what consumes the fermentable sugars to produce ethanol, so it is easy to see how this part of the process directly relates to the yield. There are several different yeast strains available for distilled spirits production and they can be added to fermentation in a variety of ways. On a basic level you want to have a strain capable of completely fermenting the sugars in the mash, which normally requires a certain population per volume. 100 to 300 million yeast cells per ml of mash is a good inoculum level that should result in excellent production and yield. Whether the yeast is added in active dried or liquid form straight to the fermentor or is first propagated separately can influence kinetics of fermentation. For example, if the yeast is propagated prior to addition to the fermentor it is important that the cells are actively growing and in the exponential phase of growth. Successful propagation requires a specific amount of time and involves other factors like aeration, dilution of the mash and management of sugars. If using an active dried or liquid formulation, the yeast must have an acceptable level of viability. Fermentation will not proceed normally if the yeast

TABLE 1: High Performance Liquid Chromatography results from cooked mash and various fermentations at drop (end of fermentation). Notice the major symptoms of each problem compared to the normal fermentation sample. For example, high temperatures result in leftover sugars and less ethanol, whereas bacterial contamination had elevated lactic and acetic acids in addition to leftover sugar and less ethanol.

LINE

DP4+

DP3

MALTOSE

GLUCOSE

LACTIC ACID

GLYCEROL

ACETIC ACID

ETHANOL

A

Cook

4.347

1.815

9.503

2.174

0.025

0.018

0.011

0.034

B

Normal

0.464

0.111

0.245

0.012

0.110

0.699

0.013

8.598

C

High Temp (>105°F)

0.678

0.245

2.345

0.876

0.117

0.626

0.023

5.432

D

Bacteria

0.564

0.113

1.230

0.926

0.876

0.678

0.12

6.234

DP4+= glucose polymers 4 glucoses or larger. DP3= maltotriose (polymer with 3 glucose subunits).

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population is not viable and yield losses can result.

yeast, which is one way to differentiate. Non-Saccharomyces

There are a variety of other issues that can affect fermentation

cerevisiae yeast, like certain Pichia strains may form a pellicle

and result in yield losses. For any given grain mash, there

(white biofilm) on top of the fermentation mash (or test tube),

is a minimum time it will take for the yeast to consume the

which is another way to differentiate from the primary yeast.

sugars. Thus, the time allotted for fermentation is important.

Although wild yeast are definitely an issue worthy of mention

Temperature control is another important variable and should be

on the topic of microbial contamination of distilleries, the real

controlled throughout fermentation. If temperatures are too low,

culprits are bacteria.

this can result in slow fermentation such that the yeast don’t

The types of bacteria that affect fermentation the most

finish all the fermentable sugars in the allotted time. Likewise,

include lactic acid bacteria (LAB). This broad group of bacteria

if the fermentation gets too hot (>95F), there can be similar

includes species of gram positive Lactobacillus, Pediococcus,

issues. Keep in mind that even if you start at the appropriate

and Weissella, to name a few. These bacteria are ubiquitous in

temperature (80-90F works well), the yeast give off heat during

nature and get into the process through common ingredients

fermentation that can quickly increase the temperature. Thus,

like grain and water. While LAB are considered typical bacterial

it is best to incorporate some kind of temperature control, such

contaminants, there are also atypical bacteria such as those

as cooling coils, jacketed fermentation tanks or other type of

belonging to the Family Enterobacteriaceae (think E.coli and

heat exchange. Table 1, Line B shows a fermentation profile

related microbes, which stain gram negative). Bacteria that

from a successful batch. Table 1, Line C, shows what you might

contaminate distilleries typically can live and grow both in

expect if there are temperature issues.

aerobic or anaerobic conditions and are thus referred to as

Depending on the feedstock there may be a requirement

facultative anaerobes. Thus, when culturing for contaminating

for additional nitrogen or nutrients. Molasses often requires

bacteria there may be requirements for regulating or eliminating

nitrogen depending on the sugar levels. Likewise, high gravity

oxygen. Like wild yeast, the bacteria compete with the yeast

grain-based fermentations may also require nitrogen to finish all

for sugar and nutrients and also produce metabolic byproducts

the sugars in fermentation.

such as lactic and acetic acid. There is much debate over whether these organic acids actually improve the flavor of the

CONTAMINATING BACTERIA AND WILD YEAST Microbial contamination is a vast topic worthy of its own series of articles, and is a major source of distillery yield loss. Wild yeast (yeast other than the one that was intentionally put into fermentation) compete with the “normal” yeast for sugars and nutrients and often produce off-flavored by-products. Wild yeast will often have a different cell morphology than the primary

finished spirit and is the foundation for why many distillers use backset (sour mash process) or other methods to incorporate bacterial byproducts into the fermentation. While the flavor argument rages on, there is little debate about whether bacterial contamination affects yield. Table 1, Line D shows what a final fermentation reading might look like when bacteria are problematic. Due to the acids produced by actively growing bacteria, serious contamination events are often marked by lower than average pH in addition to higher residual sugars and

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84 WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM


lower ethanol.

recycled by adding to beer from a later batch.

The best strategy for limiting the growth of yeast and bacterial

Once you have recovered the ethanol after distillation

contaminants is maintaining a high level of cleaning and

(measured as proof gallons) you can compare that number to

sanitation. For example, fermentation tanks should be cleaned

the amount of grain used to make the beer to get the yield.

intensively between batches and any piping or transfer hoses

For example, if you are making bourbon and you used 20

should be well rinsed or steamed after each use. The high heat

bushels to make a batch and you recovered 100 proof gallons

and 1-2 hour residence time of the mashing/cook process greatly

of ethanol, your yield would be 5 proof gallons per bushel,

reduces any contamination present on the grain, water, backset

which is reasonable for a craft distilling operation. More highly

and other ingredients. Therefore, when resolving bacterial

automated industrial distilleries (including fuel ethanol plants)

issues, your investigation should start from where the mash was

can achieve yields upwards of 5.5 to 5.6 proof gallons per

cooled to temperatures that support yeast and bacteria growth

bushel when using commercial enzymes and single grains, most

(<100F). Some common areas for bacteria to build includes

often 100% corn. You can further calculate yield as distillate

heat exchangers, on cooling coils inside of fermentors, agitation

recovered after barrel aging, a process where additional loss is

devices, and piping- all areas with a lot of surface area and in

common through evaporation.

some cases hidden or hard-to-reach surfaces making them hard to clean properly.

DISTILLATION AND BEYOND

CLOSING REMARKS Here, we have touched on some of the major factors that affect ethanol yield in a distillery, also considered the critical control

Now that we have gone through the process, including

points for running an optimized process. While some areas

fermentation, with great success we should get a great yield,

require a higher level of understanding like enzyme activity,

right? Not just yet. Even though we made the ethanol, we still have

starch conversion and yeast metabolism, there are other areas

to recover it through distillation before we can start calculating

of equal importance like cleaning and sanitation that involve

our yield. This involves a few different factors. Starting with the

common sense. When optimizing a plant one must look at each

beer in the fermentor you should consider any losses through

section of the process and think about what is happening on

material staying behind in the tank or piping or any spillage.

the microbiological and biochemical levels. By understanding

Once in the still (column or pot), recovery of ethanol is largely

the process, one can fine tune each step to obtain a highly

a matter of temperature control and watching proof throughout

enjoyable distilled spirit as well as maintaining excellent yields

distillation. Any ethanol lost when making heads and tails cuts

for maximized profitability.

lowers the yield. The same is true for any ethanol left behind in the stillage. Both scenarios involve ethanol that was made that was not recovered as part of the final distillate. To increase ethanol recovery and improve yield, heads and tails are often

Patrick Heist, Ph.D. is chief scientific officer of Ferm Solutions, Inc. and co-founder of Wilderness Trail Distillery. For more information visit www.ferm-solutions.net or call (859) 402-8707.

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N A V I G A T I N G B U I L D I N G & F

I

R

E

C

O

D

E

C H A L L E N G E S WRITTEN BY MORGAN J. HURLEY & JULIE BRYANT

86 WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM


A

common challenge faced by aspiring artisan distillery that is required by building and fire codes. This can be especially operators is navigating complex building and fire safety challenging if there will be an on-site tasting room, since there

codes. While at first glance, opening an artisan distillery are additional requirements for “mixed” occupancies where might seem akin to opening a restaurant or microbrewery, the members of the public will be present. reality is that building and fire codes view artisan distilleries

MODERATE HAZARD CLASSIFICATION

much differently. This article provides an overview of common challenges that artisan distilleries face and how they can be addressed. In the United States, buildings are regulated on a state and local level. Each state develops its own set of building and fire regulations, and in some areas, building and fire regulations are established at the county or local level. This creates the first challenge for an aspiring artisan distillery – determining what is required. The International Code Council has developed model rules in their codes. Every state in the United States has adopted the codes developed by the International Code Council. The codes that provide most of the requirements applicable to artisan distilleries are the International Building Code and the International Fire Code. These codes are updated every three years, with the most recent editions published in 2015. However, there is usually a delay between when the most recent editions of the International Building Code and the International

There are two options for the primary occupancy classification for an artisan distillery: Moderate-hazard factory industrial, Group F-1, or High-hazard, Group H-3. Many artisan distilleries seek occupancy classification as Moderate-hazard factory industrial, Group F-1. This is because the requirements are more feasible, and it is more difficult to create the ambience that is desired in an artisan distillery while meeting the more stringent requirements of High-hazard Group H-3. Additionally, there are usually higher construction costs associated with Group H-3 classification. The primary disadvantage of Moderate-hazard factory industrial, Group F-1, is that the quantity of finished product allowed on site would be limited. The first determination is whether the distilling operations would be defined as an “open system” or a “closed system.”

Fire Code are published and when they are adopted. So, the first

CLOSED SYSTEM:

thing that must be done is to find which edition is applicable to

operations where vapors emitted are not liberated outside the

the building in which the artisan distillery will be housed.

vessel, and the product is not exposed to the atmosphere.

A vessel that remains closed during normal

Additionally, when a state (or county or locality) adopts these codes, they generally apply amendments to reflect local concerns and practices. Therefore, it is also necessary to determine whether these amendments will influence the design, construction and operation of the artisan distillery. The key difference between an artisan distillery and a restaurant or microbrewery is the spirits. Beer can’t be ignited, but distilled spirits can. Depending on the alcohol content, distilled spirits are classified as a Class IB or IC Flammable Liquid, although there is little difference in the requirements for Class IB or IC. Despite the loving care that the aspiring artisan distillery operator has put into their recipe, Class IB and Class IC Flammable Liquids are treated as hazardous materials by the International Building Code and the International Fire Code. In general, there are onerous requirements for buildings that contain bulk quantities of distilled spirits (the exception being retail and wholesale operations where the spirits are stored in individual containers that do not exceed 1.3 gallons each). These requirements can make it very difficult to achieve the ambience that is desired while still providing the level of safety

OPEN SYSTEM:

A vessel that is open to the atmosphere

during normal operations. A greater quantity of distilled spirits is permitted for closed systems without triggering the requirements for High-hazard, Group H-3. Once the distilling operations are defined, the next step is to determine the “maximum allowable quantity” that would be permitted without triggering the requirements for High-hazard, Group H-3. This maximum allowable quantity is 120 gallons for a closed system or 30 gallons for an open system. If an automatic sprinkler system is provided throughout the distillery, then these quantities can be doubled to 240 gallons and 60 gallons, respectively. These maximum allowable quantities could be further increased by creating multiple “control areas.” The entire building may be classified as a single control area, in which case the limits identified above apply. Alternatively, multiple control

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areas may be used; however, they must be separated by fire-

For

non-separated

occupancies,

the

most

stringent

resistant construction. The total number of control areas that are requirements from among all the requirements for each of the non-separated occupancy classifications would apply. The

permitted is limited by the building height.

The next challenge deals with how areas that would be interior finish requirements would be stricter in exit stairways and classified differently than Moderate-hazard factory industrial, corridors. Also, the building must be protected by an automatic Group F-1, are treated. Examples of these other occupancies sprinkler system if portions will be classified as Assembly, Group include back-of-house offices and tasting areas. The occupancy A-2. classification of the “tasting area” is a function of its size and

If occupancies are separated, then requirements are applied

occupant load. With an occupant load of less than 50 persons, to each occupancy separately. Areas classified as Group A or B or an area less than 750 square feet, a Business, Group B would need to be separated from areas classified as Group F-1 occupancy classification is permissible for the tasting area. An by two-hour fire barriers (one-hour fire barriers if the building is Assembly, Group A-2 designation is necessary if those criteria are protected by an automatic sprinkler system). exceeded. Back of house offices would be classified as Business, Group B. These other occupancies within the distillery could be labeled as “accessory occupancies” if they occupy not more than 10% of the area of the story in which they are located. There would be no additional requirements beyond those applicable to the primary occupancy type (Moderate-hazard factory industrial, Group F-1) for incidental occupancies. If the area exceeds 10%, then the occupancies would need to be treated as “non-separated occupancies” or “separated occupancies.”

HIGH HAZARD CLASSIFICATION If the quantity of alcohol stored within the building exceeds the maximum allowable quantities identified earlier, Highhazard, Group H-3, occupancy classification is required. Group H-3 applies if Class I flammable liquids are stored in containers that are pressurized to 15 PSI or less. If the containers are open or are pressurized to more than 15 PSI, the occupancy would be classified as High-hazard, Group H-2. The requirements are similar for Group H-2 and Group H-3.

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Requirements for occupancies classified as High Hazard include the following:

»» The building must be provided with an automatic fire

»» 1-hour

fire-resistance-rated separation from Group B

occupancies is required.

It can be difficult to meet the requirements for High Hazard

detection system and an automatic sprinkler system.

Group H-3 occupancy classification without making the artisan

»» Not less than 25% of the perimeter wall of the Group

distillery look like a factory. Additionally, the requirements

H occupancy must be an exterior wall of the building, associated with High Hazard Group H-3 occupancy translate into except that rooms less than 500 square feet and storage higher construction costs for the building in which the artisan rooms less than 1,000 square feet are not required to be distillery will be located. The challenges associated with code compliance can be located on an exterior wall.

»» The building is required to be mechanically ventilated. »» An explosion venting or explosion prevention system is

magnified if the artisan distillery will be located in an existing

»» A means to control spillage and to contain or drain

Moderate-hazard factory industrial, Group F-1 or High Hazard,

»» Manual emergency alarms are required in areas used for

early in the facility design and confirmed with the local code

building, where code compliance can be more complicated. Developing engineered alternative solutions may be necessary in

required for areas containing inside storage, dispensing, instances where strict code compliance is impractical. or use. Regardless of whether the building will be classified as discharged fire protection water is required.

storage, dispensing, use, and handling of alcohol.

»»

Group H-3, the applicable requirements should be identified enforcement authorities. Failure to do so can result in delays in opening.

2-hour fire-resistance-rated separation between storage areas and any Group A or Group F-1 occupancies is Morgan Hurley and Julie Bryant are with Aon Fire Protection required.

Engineering. For more info email morgan.hurley@aon.com or call (301) 486-7622.

WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM 89


THE NEXT UP IN OUR “HOW-TO SERIES” COVERS THE COMPLEX AND POTENTIALLY CONFUSING TOPIC OF LEASING EQUIPMENT FOR YOUR DISTILLING OPERATIONS. THE TEAM AT BOSTON CAPITAL LEASING PROVIDED AN IMPRESSIVE ASSORTMENT OF IN-DEPTH ANSWERS AND ADVICE.

BOSTON CAPITAL LEASING

EQUIPMENT

with

HOW-TO

LEASE WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MOST COMMON SITUATIONS WHERE DISTILLERS LOOK INTO LEASING EQUIPMENT AS AN OPTION?

pieces, while others may include smaller items

Most

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MOST COMMON PIECES OF EQUIPMENT DISTILLERS LOOK INTO LEASING?

distilleries

typically

consider

leasing

equipment in the planning or expansion stages of their business. As a distiller or business owner begins considering the financial viability of their

such as barrels and barrel racks to the list of equipment they are willing to lease.

operation, many like to compare the long term

The majority of the distillers contact leasing

costs of leasing versus the high up-front capital

companies to lease entire distilling systems (still,

requirement in purchasing distilling equipment.

mash tun, fermenters, tanks, etc.).

To shop around for leasing numbers and

its growth. Similarly, when a distillery is adding

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE DIRECT AND INDIRECT BENEFITS OF LEASING DISTILLING EQUIPMENT?

an additional location or expanding their current

The most obvious direct benefit to leasing

capacity, leasing new equipment can ease

distilling equipment is the savings in upfront

the financial burden and free up capital to

capital. Although there is typically a small security

avoid interrupting the existing business and its

deposit or downpayment on a lease, this payment

operations.

is nominal in comparison to a down payment, or

apply them to a forecasted financial plan could increase the distillery’s profitability and expedite

WHAT KIND OF DISTILLING EQUIPMENT IS AVAILABLE TO LEASE?

full payment, associated with purchasing new distilling equipment. The vital working capital saved through leasing equipment can then be

Nearly all distilling equipment can be leased.

directed back into the business for things such as

Most leasing companies will offer leasing

operating expenses and raw materials.

options on entire systems, including stills, tanks, fermenters and the associated parts, pumps and

An

indirect

benefit

to

leasing

distilling

equipment is the relationship established between

90 WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM


the distillery and their leasing company. As long

what the distiller, or lessee, is looking to do with

as the distillery remains in good standing with

leased equipment once the lease expires. Lease

their leasing company throughout their lease

terms can range from 12 months to several years

term, the leasing company is very likely to help

of different leases strung together. If the distiller

in the growth of the distillery in any way it can.

is interested in a shorter term lease with a buy-out

In essence, the distillery will have established a

option at the end, they will likely choose the lease

business partnership for their future equipment

that lasts 12-36 months. Other distillers looking

leasing needs, while the leasing company has

to keep their costs low and potentially growing out

gained a long-term customer.

of their leased equipment will choose a lease for 36 months or more. Longer term leases typically

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR INSTALLATION AND SETUP OF LARGER LEASED DISTILLING EQUIPMENT? Typically the manufacturer or vendor of the equipment includes the delivery and installation of the larger distilling equipment in the total equipment cost. Many manufacturers will go as far as sending a team to the distillery for several days or even weeks to install, test and train the distillers and their team on the new equipment.

require a lesser monthly lease payment and offer the option of returning the leased equipment to the leasing company, or lessor, once the lease term expires. In these longer term leases, the lessee can upgrade or update their equipment without the obligation of having to sell their old equipment and purchasing new equipment.

WHAT IS THE CRITERIA FOR RENEWING OR ALTERING A LEASE AGREEMENT?

This cost is usually included in the overall price

For most leasing companies, if the distiller, or

which is paid for by the leasing company.

lessee, is not in default under the terms of the current lease, and the lease structure allows for

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR MAINTAINING AND REPAIRING LEASE EQUIPMENT? The lessee, or the distiller, is often responsible for insuring, maintaining and repairing the leased equipment. Most new equipment will come with some manufacturer’s guarantee or warranty, relieving the distiller from all these responsibilities, but general maintenance and repairs are the responsibility of the lessee.

a renewal or alteration, the distiller is offered the renewal option without having to requalify or resubmit any of the original information. It is important to note that there are some lease structures that, by their definition, cannot be renewed or altered.

WHAT IS REQUIRED TO COMPLETE AN EQUIPMENT LEASE? The requirement for an equipment lease varies

DO DISTILLERS HAVE THE ABILITY TO “TINKER WITH,” ALTER OR OPTIMIZE LEASED EQUIPMENT THEMSELVES? Most leasing companies will allow the distiller, or lessee, to optimize the leased equipment as long as it does not impact or alter the leased equipment’s value.

depending on the type of equipment leased, the cost of the equipment, the distillery or company seeking the equipment lease and the creditworthiness of the principals of the business. Generally, the distillery and its principals will be subject to a background and credit screening by the leasing company; this is standard across all leases. Many leasing companies will seek

HOW LONG DOES A STANDARD LEASE AGREEMENT USUALLY LAST?

personal guarantees from all principal owners

The lease terms vary and typically depend on

leasing company may seek additional personal

WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM 

of the business to secure their investment. As the cost of the leased equipment grows, the

91


information from the distilleryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s owners, such as

can take more time as it requires more

personal financial statements, tax returns, etc.

consideration from the leasing company, while

If the leasing company does not manufacture, or is not the direct seller of, they will likely

the smaller leases requiring a less significant investment may be turned around a bit quicker.

request a detailed quote for the equipment the

There is usually a short underwriting process

distiller is looking to lease. It is important for any

that can take up to 48-72 hours, but once there

leasing company to know, understand and have

is a commitment from both the distiller and the

the ability to identify the equipment they will be

leasing company, it is only a matter of completing

leasing to the distillery.

and collecting paperwork. In most scenarios, a

Finally, if the distillery is in its planning stages,

lease can be finalized within 10 business days.

the leasing company will likely request a copy of the business plan and forecasted financials. Similar concepts apply for those distilleries seeking an equipment lease to expand an existing operation. Expanding distilleries are often asked for historical financials and a written expansion plan.

ONCE AN AGREEMENT IS REACHED, HOW LONG UNTIL THE EQUIPMENT IS AVAILABLE FOR INSTALLATION AND USE? Once the lease is signed and the deposit is paid, it is up to the manufacturer or vendor of the equipment to determine the lead-time for delivery

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR A LEASE TO GET FINALIZED?

and installation. Generally, the lead-time on larger equipment can range from 6 to 18 weeks. Other vendors and manufacturers keep an inventory of

The time it takes to establish a lease varies.

turn-key equipment that can be delivered and

Usually, the larger, more expensive equipment

installed in only a few weeks.

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ARE INDIVIDUAL AGREEMENTS REQUIRED FOR EACH INDIVIDUAL PIECE OF EQUIPMENT?

IS LEASED EQUIPMENT REQUIRED TO BE INSURED AND BONDED IN THE SAME WAY AS DISTILLER OWNED EQUIPMENT?

No, not usually. If a distiller is looking for an equipment

Insurance and bonds for leased equipment is usually addressed

lease on several different pieces of equipment from the same

within the equipment lease. Generally, it is required by the

manufacturer at the same time, this can all be included under

leasing company and the obligation of the distiller, or lessee, to

one lease. Alternatively, if the distiller is looking to lease a large

provide proper insurance.

piece of equipment from one manufacturer today, and would like to lease an additional piece of equipment from an alternate vendor in the next several months, these pieces of equipment would be leased under separate leases.

HOW DIFFICULT IS IT FOR A DISTILLER TO TRANSITION FROM LEASED EQUIPMENT TO DISTILLER OWNED EQUIPMENT? The transition is often very easy and planned well in advance.

IS LEASED EQUIPMENT SUBJECT TO ANY DIFFERENCE IN REGULATIONS ON A STATE AND FEDERAL LEVEL?

Most equipment leases outline very specific buy-out options. The distiller, or lessee, should be very aware of the lease term

The primary difference in equipment leased versus equipment

and terminal purchase options before signing and committing

owned are the tax implications. Depending on the lease structure

to an equipment lease. This allows for a smooth transition and

and terms, the equipment under lease can be considered

easily executed buy-out of the equipment at the expiration of

property of the distillery, or owned by the leasing company.

the lease.

Ownership and title of the equipment will likely impact the way sales tax is collected and paid to the respective tax authority. All distillers, or lessees, seeking or considering to lease, or leasing, equipment should contact a tax professional for advice and guidance on the tax implications of equipment leasing.

Boston Capital Leasing offers craft solutions for craft distilleries. Our focus is leveraging our financial expertise to allow you to grow your business. With services ranging from equipment leasing to traditional and non-traditional forms of financing, we are committed to crafting a solution tailored to your distilleries needs.

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Measuring and Calculating Alcohol in Distilled Spirits and Liqueurs EMPHASIS ON CONTEMPORARY HIGH-EXTRACT CONTAINING SPIRITS

WRITTEN BY GARY SPEDDING, PH.D.

INTRODUCTION

to extracted botanicals or sometimes additions of small amounts of sugar and citric acid in the case of non-flavored vodka. In cases where distillation could Measuring traditional distilled spirits often required no more than simple be avoided it was noted that, to ensure true proof determinations, the effect laboratory-scale distillation and determination, using specific gravity or of dissolved solids on alcohol determinations needed to be accounted for. density measurements of alcohol, by weight and volume, from a known This method known as “proof obscuration testing” was described by agencies amount of the spirit. This is especially so for spirits containing only tiny such as the US TTB (formerly BATF). For those spirits containing amounts amounts of extract. For those containing below 400 milligrams/100 mL of of extract between 400-600 mg/100 mL an obscuration factor could be extract, direct density measurements could even be made using a device determined by drying down the spirit and using that factor to accurately known as a pycnometer (density bottle) and an analytical balance (no determine the true or real solids content. distillation needed). Thus these measurements generally allowed an accurate It was determined that 0.1 gram solids or extract/100 mL of spirit would determination of alcohol via the use of tabulated data of density (or specific hide (mask or obscure) 0.4 degrees of Proof of alcohol, in other words gravity) values vs. alcohol concentrations (weight and volume respectively) lowering the apparent proof by 0.4 ° proof. In the US Proof is defined as without the need to account for the trace of extract that might be present. twice the percent alcohol by volume content when expressed at 60 °F. From Later on hydrometers were adopted by distillers to determine gravity, density direct density measurements the “apparent proof” is determined (regarded or proof values in such spirits. Now more sophisticated density meters are as close enough to true proof when solids are below 400 mg/100 mL of often used or recommended. However, it has long been forgotten that alcohol spirit). For 400-600 mg solids/100 mL the true proof is the apparent proof values determined by distillation need to be corrected to account for the plus the obscuration proof. Over 600 mg solids/100 mL the true proof had to specific gravity of the actual sample (which is defined based on both alcohol be determined by distillation according to older methods and rules (detailed and often high sugar or extract content). This includes cream liqueurs which at www.ttb.gov – Section 30.32). contain both a high fat and high sugar content. These cream-based products pose even more difficulties in measurement based on the use of the total fat TEMPERATURE CONSIDERATIONS content in defined, though problematic, equations. Note: Recently the TTB released a guiding document TTB G: 2014-1 detailing the approval of alternative devices for the determination of the proof content of distilled spirits.

This review focuses upon some issues involved in measuring alcohol content mainly in non-cream based liqueurs and spirits, when the spirit extract content is very high and when the alcohol by weight value is needed for calorie content determinations. When calories are to be determined the correct alcohol by weight needs to be known along with an accurate measure of the extract content (of known composition) of the original non-distilled sample of spirit. Volumetric distillations for high extract spirits in the laboratory only report the true alcohol by volume, not the correct alcohol by weight. The opposite is true for gravimetric distillations. Both cases assume that no interfering substances also distill over. Many in the industry have lost sight of this need for appropriate corrections and many modern methods such as GC or HPLC analysis for alcohol content do not figure out applicable corrections for the needs of the distiller to report calories based on the true alcohol by weight values and, moreover, do not provide the extract value itself which is required not only for carbohydrate estimations but also in total calorie determinations. Moreover, there is often times misconception by some of those new to the industry that caloric content is only dependent upon the alcohol present – it is not.

EXTRACTS

Instruments are available today to measure the density of traditional spirits very accurately and to report (based on tabulated values or complex algorithms) alcohol content by weight and volume as expressed at 20°C. This temperature is generally accepted for alcohol measurements in most countries. In the US, though, the alcohol content at 60°F is sometimes needed and still technically required for determination of the true proof value. This causes unnecessary issues, especially as there is only a slight overall difference in the volume of alcohol between the two temperatures 20°C vs. 60°F (which is equal to 15.56°C), the value being lower at 60°F. Tables of specific gravity vs. alcohol by volume at 60°F are available though becoming more difficult to locate today and all measurements made on modern digital instruments are at 20°C. Note: As liquid volumes of water and alcohol expand with a rise in temperature there is a slightly higher value of alcohol by volume - ABV at 20°C vs. 60°F. The weight of alcohol does not, however, vary under such conditions. An issue not considered in detail here also applies to dilution of alcohol and needs to be mentioned briefly. When volumes of water and alcohol are initially mixed together, a rise in temperature and volumetric contraction of the resulting solution occurs such that the total volume is less than the sum volume additions by roughly 3%. When mixing or diluting spirits, therefore, the distiller needs to be aware of the solution temperature (has it stabilized?), together with the final volume of the resulting product. The addition of sugars, syrups and flavorings, with their weight and volume contributions, to create liqueurs, makes careful measurements necessary therefore, to ensure that correct values of alcohol and extract are obtained.

EXTRACT DETERMINATION

Extract, or solids content, for traditional whiskies, bourbon, gin, vodka and such are generally made up of mineral content (calcium and magnesium ions, After dealing with the issues of measurement at 20°C vs. 60°F there are etc.), and possibly tannins and sugars extracted from wood aging, in addition other more pressing concerns for alcohol measurement that rely on principles

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largely forgotten or ignored today. As both established and craft distillers are creating ever more sophisticated cocktails or flavored spirits there are problems in determining the alcohol content and dangers in using an old relationship known as the Tabarie relationship for extract determination. As accurate extract determination requires some consideration, and its own discussion, it will not be covered here; such issues will be the subject for another time. Covered here, therefore, are suggested methods to determine alcohol content along with a discussion of the equations necessary to make appropriate corrections to determined values and then brief descriptions of other pitfalls to avoid in measuring today’s ever more complex sweetened and flavored spirits and liqueurs. To aid in the discussion that follows a brief set of definitions are available online at WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM/DEFINITIONS-01. Such definitions describe specific terms such as density, extract and specific gravity, and terms applying to methods and calculations. A review and understanding of these terms will aid in following the rest of this discussion. Caveat lector: The information provided below is thus marked as for “informational purposes only.”

ALCOHOL DETERMINATIONS Beyond alcohol by volume (ABV) determinations of high extract containing spirits it will be shown that the relevant “extract-containing” specific gravity numbers must often be determined (here the “apparent gravity” of the original alcohol-containing sample). These values may be obtained using Plato measuring instruments or obtained using specific gravity (SG) measuring instruments such as hydrometers or other suitable devices. Consequently, the discussion will detail the conversion of Plato to SG values and, for completeness, the SG to Plato conversion using widely accepted (brewing) equations. Internationally recognized alcohol tables (Alcoholometric tables – see references), whereby both alcohol by weight and alcohol by volume can be determined, using density values, are covered next, along with appropriate density and SG inter-conversions. Assuming a distillation apparatus is available and that suitable measuring instruments can be used (detailed elsewhere in the literature or in official AOAC {Association of Official Agricultural Chemists} or TTB methods for example) then, following an understanding of the basic definitions and derivation of some factors from theory (see WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM/ DEFINITIONS-01), we can move to understanding the application of determined values. The equations presented here are from a personal acceptance based on general daily use and familiarity and “acceptable degree of accuracy” for routinely and quickly checking results against those determined using sophisticated instruments which sometimes use the same or similar equations built into their software. For distillers the sample density or specific gravity reading for spirits containing little extract will be the same or very close in value to the alcohol specific gravity (as if taken from a volumetric distillation) and thus, using official tables of gravity vs. alcohol content, the correct alcohol values can quickly be obtained. In fact both the true alcohol by volume (ABV) and alcohol by weight (ABW) will simply be found from looking up the alcohol content in such tables (see below) under such conditions. However, approaches for measuring alcohol change when it comes to high extract content (denoted as Plato by brewers, or Brix by winemakers – closely similar values with results typically meaning grams/100 grams of “sugar” {but also containing the minor levels of minerals, any protein from any appropriate protein-containing raw materials and fat in cases of cream or egg-based liqueurs}). The extract is used in the determination of calories or sugar (carbohydrate) content of the beverage; thus it must be determined as accurately as possible. Here we mainly consider that any extract will be sugar or carbohydrate with only minor amounts of other matter. This extract material affects the readings of intact alcohol containing spirits and leads to apparent extract values which must be known in order to correct alcohol measurements back to the actual gravity of the original sample. The distiller will measure the original wine, spirit, liqueur/cocktail to

obtain the sample density or specific gravity, noting that the direct reading of a distilled spirit containing sugars/solids at a high concentration and with an SG above 1.0000 is called the “apparent extract” gravity because of the alcohol present. The direct reading will, however, be the same value as the alcohol gravity or density reading if very little or no extract at all is present – as discussed above and at WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM/DEFINITIONS-01. No proof obscuration methods – determination of solids – will be needed in such circumstances. See the introduction and the proof obscuration citations below under web references for details as to when obscuration testing is needed and how to test and correct proof readings. As distillers will use hydrometers or density meters which will return either Plato values or specific gravity numbers, the relationship between these two numbers must be covered. Solving SG to Plato or Plato to SG conversions is possible by knowing that two equations exist in the brewing literature for interconverting the two terms. Some limitations may apply here as these were developed for brewers, not winemakers or distillers, but should provide a good starting point. These have become known generally as the Lincoln equations (or derivations thereof) with more detail described elsewhere (cited in Spedding, 2013). To convert an apparent extract value obtained using a Plato (Brix) hydrometer (or refractometer) (AE or in fact any other Plato value) to SG units:

(1) And to convert an SG value to a Plato (Brix) extract value):

(2) These equations can be built into spreadsheet programs to facilitate routine conversions and determinations as required. For this article only equation 1 is considered – its counterpart equation 2 is provided for reference and for those readers needing the conversion of SG to Plato values (for real extracts) for nutritional calculations. Gratifyingly, though, we can now deal with alcohol and extract details (and application examples appear below) via extract values (degrees Plato or SG). Obtaining density readings rather than SG values can also be handled again by conversion of values. In these cases a simplified relationship of Density (ρ) to SG for water, extract, or alcohol solutions can be applied with some confidence (see WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG. COM/DEFINITIONS-01 for details):

SG x 0.998201 = ρ and, therefore, ρ/0.998201 = SG. (3) If SG values are obtained from distillation (via hydrometers or from specific gravity/density meters) then a set of OIML (Legal Metrology) tables can be used to look up the percent alcohol by volume (ABV) and alcohol by weight (ABW) values at 20 °C from the corresponding density values (web references – Alcoholometric Tables). The density and SG values as needed are obtained via appropriate conversion (as in Eq. 3). In this article we do not consider measurements at 60 °F but AOAC tables do exist to take the SG values obtained at a range of temperatures in order to determine the alcohol content expressed at 60 °F (please request the details from us on this as needed or seek out a copy of the US Gauging Manual at the TTB.gov website). [The OIML tables are available from the Organization of Legal Metrology or online as cited in the references section (Alcoholometric Tables). These OIML tables represent a compilation of international data in the form of a set of widely adopted algorithms and respectively generated tables.] Density values (20 °C) for alcohol expressed as, for example 0.98705, would be taken to the OIML tables and read as 987.0 vs. the ABV (OIML Table Vb) or ABW (OIML Table Va) values, with appropriate interpolation between the reported table values when necessary. Remember to convert SG values to corresponding density units when needed.

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APPLICATION OF SOME EXAMPLE DATA

TABLE 1. Alcohol and extract data obtained via official methods/instrumentation. The use of accurate values from this table should be used to test out the formulas and tables cited in the text. Data obtained via volumetric distillations and direct densitometer readings of original samples.

Table 1 shows accurate data obtained on a high-extract (greater than 18 Plato) distilled spirit sample from an officially accepted digital density meter and a coupled near-infrared device. All internal algorithms and tables built in provide the ancillary data seen in the table (many of these based on similar or the same equations and algorithms discussed herein!). The exercise for the reader will be to use OIML tables and to plug individual pieces of data from the table (Table 1) into the respective equations discussed here to eventually show the validity of each value presented in the example data set. The OIML tables (which can be found online as discussed above) can be used from the density data to solve the alcohol values by weight and by volume at 20 °C. AOAC tables are needed for ABV data expressed at 60 °F (not discussed in detail here). [Reminder this overall approach can very well yield close to true values but are not to be taken as official unless data is obtained by officially approved calibrated instruments and methods.] The OIML tabulated data extend density values across the complete range of alcohol by weight and volume values as expressed at 20 °C.

Parameters determined via officially accepted instrumentation/protocols [This example is discussed in the text]

Value, units {Obtained from “Officially accepted Instruments”} Sample A

Alcohol Density, 20 °C/20 °C

0.94824

Alcohol Specific Gravity, 20 °C/20 °C

0.94995

Alcohol by volume, 20 °C (Distillate)

39.90%

Alcohol by weight, 20 °C (Distillate)

33.21% (uncorrected)

Alcohol by weight, 20 °C (Corrected for Sample SG)

30.91% (corrected – see text)

Sample Density, 20 °C/20 °C

1.02068 g/cm3

Sample Specific Gravity, 20 °C/20 °C

1.02252

Alcohol by volume, 60 °F (from Density meter)

39.78

Proof (Degrees), 60 °F

79.56

Note: The algorithms used to generate the full set of data are provided for inspection in instructions accompanying the book of tables.

PLAYING WITH THE NUMBERS Distillers obtain the ABV and ABW values for their samples via distillation and density or SG determination, as discussed above. SG values or converted density values can subsequently be checked against the OIML tables. It should again be emphasized that the alcohol by volume values will be correct from a volumetric distillation (assuming an efficient distillation with recovery of all the alcohol). The alcohol by weight value will also be correct but only if there is no extract in the sample. For extract-free samples a direct reading of the density or SG will give the correct values for both ABV and ABW from the OIML tables (or for ABV from AOAC tables if expressing data at 60 °F). However, if appreciable extract is present the ABW value from the OIML tables will not be the correct value for the sample with the density obtained from a volumetric distillation. As the true ABW value is needed to obtain the alcohol-based caloric content of the sample, the ABW value from the distillate must be corrected for the actual specific gravity of the sample. The SG (or density) value having been obtained from the alcohol containing original sample. [Note if a gravimetric distillation is performed – one based on say 100 grams instead of 100 mL then it is the ABW value that is correct and the ABV number that needs to be corrected if extract is present.] From Table 1 sample A, we have the SG for the distilled spirit sample

1.02252 (this is the sample SG and is an apparent value if extract is present as here = “AE” – an apparent extract in brewing parlance terms). The sample density is also given: 1.02068 g/cm3, and using Eq. 3, we can convert any determined SG value to its corresponding density (or vice versa). Here the values for both SG and density are well above 1.0000 so we know immediately that this sample has a lot of extract which will affect the determination of the true alcohol by weight. This sample is a candidate for distillation based on this initial measurement or observation (this sample had in excess of 18 grams/100 grams of extract or 18 degrees Plato of real extract. “Real” meaning in the absence of alcohol and being the true extract of the sample). Here the alcohol SG and density values are also provided in the table as obtained from distillations. The alcohol SG 0.94995 – corresponding to density 0.94824 (expressed as 948.24). The ABV and ABW values can be checked by taking the density value (948.24) to the OIML (20 °C) tables (or the SG to AOAC tables for 60 °F ABV values). Note portions of the OIML tables could not be provided here for copyright reasons but once obtained OIML-Table Vb shows Density vs. ABV and OIML-Table Va shows the Density values vs. ABW. Noting that, from the use of OIML-Table Vb (not shown), the value of 39.9% ABV @ 20°C is obtained (a match to the value in Table 1) and, from OIML-Table Va (not shown), the value 33.27% ABW is obtained. The weight of alcohol in the distillate can also be calculated from the alcohol by volume value when the alcohol SG is also known – without having to refer to the OIML tables (done via use of the following equation):

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The value of 30.85% being close to the 30.91% ABW value obtained from the other equation (Eq. 5); a good enough confirmation for this approach. Variant equations are available but alcohol should be reported both % by weight (wt.) and by volume (vol.) usually to two decimal places. Such values must be within specifications as described by the TTB (see Code of Federal Regulations - reference section for links to the details).

(4) So (in our example here):

With interpolation between tabulated values to account for it is seen that the calculated ABW value above is a very good fit compared to that derived from OIML Table Va (33.21% vs 33.27%). [Note: 0.7907 - the Density of pure ethanol at 20 ° is often rounded up (0.791) or down (0.790) for ease of use.] However, there is an interesting (and often overlooked) problem with one of the derived values from above. There is an error with the alcohol by weight derivation that needs to be discussed. The value of 39.90% ABV is fine but the 33.27% (or calculated 33.21%) ABW % value noted above is incorrect for the high sugar/extract containing liqueur sample. This is related to the expression of the SG, and corresponding density, as from the volumetric distillation (i.e. for a “water-ethanol mix”) – the volume of alcohol is correct (if all the alcohol was recovered from 100 mL initial sample and collected back as 100 mL of water-alcohol distillate) but the weight needs an adjustment to account for the actual SG of the sample itself. To correct this we can use the following equation (with the OIML tabulated value of 33.27% as the uncorrected ABW):

(5) So (in our example here):

A notable difference (30.91 vs. 33.27 {33.21} % ABW – especially important to know when it comes to calculating nutritional parameters); this correction for the ABW completes the basic data for the alcohol content of the sample However, as a check or alternative the true alcohol by weight can also be quickly computed as follows:

GRAVIMETRIC DISTILLATIONS Finally here it is noted that if a gravimetric distillation is performed (using 100 grams of starting sample and bringing the distilled alcohol-water solution back to 100 grams for final measurements – all the weight of alcohol from 100 grams sample collected into 100 grams of alcohol-water distillate) then the SG is that for the true alcohol by weight and the alcohol by volume values need to be corrected for the extract containing sample specific gravity and reported as to the temperature of determination. So the true volume would be computed thus:

(7)

CONCLUDING REMARKS If the distiller can obtain either reasonably accurate SG or density measurements on the initial samples (the apparent gravity), distillates, and Plato extract values or SG values for extract remaining in “distilland” residuals - then armed with the set of principles, equations and tables defined and discussed above they can expect to obtain reliable alcohol by weight and volume numbers and extract information. Furthermore, such values can be used to determine some nutritional values pertaining to their wines, distilled spirits, liqueurs or cocktails. The details presented here should, hopefully, help to make possible easier and rapid routine in-house measurements of alcohol content and thereby reduce the number of samples to be outsourced for official determinations. Moreover, if using “officially accepted” digital density meters and NIR technology or similar instrumentation the article should have given readers a better understanding of the factors, tables and algorithms used by such instruments’ software in reporting the final output data.

Gary Spedding, Ph.D. is a brewing analytical chemist/sensory specialist and managing owner of Brewing and Distilling Analytical Services, LLC. For more info visit www.alcbevtesting.com or call (859) 278-2533.

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DO

N’T B

E AN

E L

O H

ASS

Y NB TE T I WR

E

E TH MI S N ALA

The title is probably why you decided to read this article, or at least make it this

WIELD YOUR KNOWLEDGE

WITH

KINDNESS.

far. But if you’re often referred to as “genuinely nice” or you find that you care about people, their feelings, their opinions, and how they think of you, you can stop reading. I’ll save you 928 words and 5 minutes of your time, you are not what we need to worry about as an industry. On the other hand, if you think there might be a time or two that you dismiss people’s opinions, feelings, and need them to know that you know more than they do, please read on.

T

he moment seems to have come early to the craft distilling

talk to her, and she was the only other person in class I could

industry. That moment when the earth moves a little, usually

talk to about The Clash, the stuff coming out of California on

when the newness has worn off and the potential for profit is

STS, or about the shitty tape-of-a-tape copy of Minor Threat that

shown to be more than a unicorn. It is that moment when the

I got from my friend’s older brother.

money becomes more important than the lifestyle or the creative

Then one day she came in wearing a Sex Pistols t-shirt and

act. It’s when bankers and lawyers see profit and billable hours;

I saw my chance. I wasn’t big fan of the band, but wanted to

when the lawsuits start.

hear what she thought of them, maybe recommend a song that

In 6 grade I was different than most of my peers, and not

could help me get into them. So at class break I walked up to

because I was painfully white in a mostly Latino school in New

her and opened my mouth, not intending to, but inadvertently

th

Mexico (even though I was), and not because I was a nerd with

spouting off every band I was into and why I like them, then

glasses (also painfully true), but mostly because I loved a type of

ending awkwardly with, “I never really got into the Sex Pistols,

music that the other kids in my class didn’t listen to. I was into

but was wondering if you could recommend some stuff.” After

punk music, in a big way. I didn’t have piercings or a rebellious

a pause, which she deserved to take, (after all, I gave her a lot

attitude, I just liked the music, which was not in line with my

to process), she scoffed. An actual, audible scoff. She went on

classmates who listened to country, top 40, or hip-hop.

to tell me why what I liked was “adolescent” and I’d probably

There was one other girl in my class that happened to listen

get into the Sex Pistols in a few years when I was over that “pop

to punk too: Amanda. She lived the music more than I did; she

influenced knock off music.” She wasn’t mean when she told

looked like a punk kid as envisioned by our local mall. Like a

me all this, just arrogant. Everything she said sounded like it

young Valerie Bertinelli with heavy black eyeliner and shredded

was from a thesis paper on early punk rock. She could have been

acid washed jeans. She wrote with red graphite pencils that she

the next James Cameron, the only difference being that she

pushed safety pins through the erasers of. It crushed me how

didn’t draw people in with what she knew about what she loved,

cool I thought she was. So cool that I couldn’t bring myself to

she assaulted them with it.

98 WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM


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Sex Pistols song, mostly because I never ended up getting into them, but also because I got so turned off to them by someone who loved them so much. And I’m starting to have the same experiences in the world of alcohol. Since I’ve entered the spirits industry I have been overwhelmed with how amazingly friendly, open, sharing, and fun everyone I’ve met has been. However, with anything that grows as fast as our industry has, cracks start to show on what I’ve always perceived as a shiny veneer. Since my first day on the job I have tried to mirror the attitude of all those I have met, and I’m now finding that not everyone does the same. I’ve started to experience, and hear stories, of some top-level assholery. Everyone has a variety of overbearing, know-it-all, or asshole consumer stories. We’ve all lived through them and have to placate and be nice when we might want to give them a verbal lashing. But we play nice because we want people to have a good experience, we want people to think well of us, we want people to think of our brand in a

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positive way. And I’m not trying to excuse those people (I think they deserve their own article), but I think that it’s more important that the consumer never has a story to tell about an overbearing, know-it-all, or asshole producer or server. And I find it sad how many I’m hearing these days. Bartenders

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ONE OF THE BEST WAYS TO MAKE AN INDUSTRY GROW FROM BOTH THE PRODUCTION AND CONSUMPTION SIDE OF THINGS IS MAKE IT ONE OF INCLUSION. The best way to make this industry always be one of inclusion is simple: don’t be an asshole.

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ru10m 3

GAS CHROMATOGRAPHY and the MODERN CRAFT DISTILLER written by Luis Ayala

m

odern craft distillers are

fig. 01

faced with an array of

challenges that are above and beyond the everyday production tasks

typically

associated

with running a distillery. Their budgets are usually so criticallylimited that they are susceptible to even the slightest increase in shipping costs or in utilities. Under such economic stress, one could assume that all such distillers would have a firm grasp on their production efficiencies, but this is rarely the case. When asked how efficient their fermentation is and how much money they are throwing away by producing the wrong types of

quantity of complex sugars such as dextran (which may require

alcohol (mostly discarded during the heads and tails cuts), most

the addition of enzymes to hydrolyze it back into fermentable

simply shrug their shoulders.

form), initial dilution, fermentation temperature and final ABV.

THE FIRST GOAL IS TO MAXIMIZE FERMENTATION

HOW MUCH TOTAL ALCOHOL SHOULD YOU HAVE? Look into the Gay-Lussac sugar to alcohol transformation

Sounds logical, but incomplete fermentations are a huge

formula, calculate your stoichiometric yield and then compare

source of wasted money. Money that can be used by small

it against your real yield (total volume/strength of a complete

distillers to purchase labels, bottles or to increase their bond

stripping run). But, as you very well know by now, not all alcohol

limits. When it comes to molasses, it is very hard to finish with

is “good” alcohol, so it is now time to analyze your stripping

a zero Brix wash, but it is realistic to be in the 2-5 range. If your

run and get an idea of what exactly is in it. To do this, send

final Brix is higher than 5, consider looking into your nutrients,

a sample to a lab (follow their instructions regarding volume/

100 WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM


labeling) equipped with a Gas Chromatographer (GC) and ask

terms, light rums will have less than 50 mg of total congeners

them to run tests on the following:

per 100 ml AA. Heavy rums will have more than 250 mg of total congeners per 100 ml of AA, and medium rums will be

• Acetaldehyde

(heads)

• Ethyl Acetate

(heads)

will have little heads and tails, while the opposite will be true

• Methanol

(heads)

for dirty or “wide” cuts.

• Ethanol

(heart)

somewhere in between these two ranges. Very clean “hearts”

Armed with this knowledge you can evaluate if you are fermenting and distilling efficiently. There is nothing worse for

• Amyl

(tails)

• Butanol

(tails)

yeast only to have to discard the resulting alcohol as part of

• Propanol

(tails)

unwanted cuts. Some of the potential problems that result in

When you receive the results, they should look like the graph in Figure 01 (the numbers will, of course, be different). And somewhere near the graph, either above it, below it or on a separate page, you should see a table something like Figure 02. The graph with the peaks is very eye-catchy; the prominent peak above the number “6” on the graph is the ethanol, which is not quantified when you run a congener report like the one above. However, all the usable data is on the table.

HOW TO READ THE GC RESULTS TABLE: You will want to focus on the “Amount mg/100 ml” column, but make sure you understand first if the “100 ml” refers to 100 ml of the original concentration or, as in most cases, it refers to 100 ml of the alcohol at 100% ABV (200-Proof). To find this out, look for the word “Multiplier” on the report. If Multiplier is “1.0000”, then the report is showing mg of congeners per 100 ml of the alcohol at the

a distiller than spending time and money on raw materials and

wasted alcohol or distilling time include:

• Improper pitch rate (too little yeast or unhealthy yeast) • Improper wash dilution (osmotic pressure may be too high) • Improper nutrition for yeast • Uncontrolled fermentation temperature • Unnecessarily long fermentation times • Wrong yeast for the type of rum being produced • Wrong type of still for the type of rum being produced Two common problems related to abundant heads and tails are described below. Solving them usually requires troubleshooting at different levels in order to isolate the root cause(s), but here are a few starting points...

fig. 02

original strength. If, on the other hand, it reads “2.5000” and the original alcohol was at 40% ABV (80-Proof), then the report is showing mg of congeners per 100 ml of AA (Anhydrous Alcohol). There is no standard across all

rum-producing

countries

or companies, but in general

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ABUNDANCE OF HEADS (ALDEHYDES AND ESTERS). Most distillers who complain about this want to produce a very clean, neutral white rum, and are spending a lot of time redistilling their rum, wasting time and money in each pass.

• ARE YOU DEALING WITH CONTAMINATED RAW MATERIALS? 

adding urea, but you should NEVER do this when distilling food-grade alcohol, since it may result in the production of ethyl carbamate, which is a known carcinogen. Instead, use commercially-available distillation “salts,” but ask the supplier to make a recommendation based on the chemical analysis of the molasses/ECJ/sugar you are using. The main drawback of

Try pasteurizing your wash in an open tank/still and let it

using the salts is that they will increase the formation of scale

cool down prior to transferring to a sanitized fermenter.

inside the still, so use only the recommended dosage (more

Pitch your yeast and proceed with fermentation and

is not better!). And remember that you may be able to use a

distillation. If this solves your problem, your raw materials

weak citric acid wash to de-scale your still, rather than taking it

could be contaminated.

apart. Just make sure you consult with your still manufacturer

• ARE YOU ENCOURAGING THE FORMATION OF ESTERS?

or supplier before doing so, as it may result in voided warranties.

Check the acidity of your wash and/or consider using a

Most craft distillers will never see the day when they can

different yeast (look for one billed as producing neutral

justify owning and operating their own Gas Chromatographer,

or low congener alcohol). Also, make sure you are not

but this does not mean that they shouldn’t spend the $100

refluxing too much during your spirits run, as you may be

or so on running tests at a lab every now and then. Consider

accidentally esterifying your alcohol, making matters worse.

it a “scheduled maintenance” of your fermentation and distillation practice. As I mentioned in a prior article, once

ABUNDANCE OF TAILS (AMYL, BUTANOL AND/OR PROPANOL). Very often, over production of amyl alcohol can be traced to a Nitrogen deficiency during fermentation. There is some literature online that will tell you to solve the problem by

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Luis Ayala is Editor of “Got Rum?” Magazine and Founder of The Rum University. Visit www.gotrum.com or email luis@gotrum.com for more information.

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IF WE LABEL IT CRAFT, THEY WILL COME

OR WILL THEY? WRITTEN BY KELLIE SHEVLIN

n the long-running debate on how to

I

end of the process and decide if sales go

the average consumer who just enjoys

define craft, we previously tried to

up or fall flat.

beer for beer’s sake and these qualifying

reframe the conversation to determine

Research has shown that consumers

why we are trying to define craft and who

rarely care about the quantity of product

we are defining it for. For example, is it

that is made each year, or who owns the

for distillers, for compliance reasons or

craft beverage as part of their portfolio.

consumers? And, if it is for the consumer,

Many consumers do not seem to care that

do they actually care? In the melee of

InBev owns craft beers like Shocktop or

It makes sense that consumers are

“what is craft?” it would seem as though

Goose Island as well as Budweiser. These

on the lookout for unique tastes and

the most important voice in the debate

factors do not come into play when they

new buying experiences. However, the

has been silenced for too long: the

are standing in a store looking at a wall of

real mystery is nailing down exactly

consumer.

options or when they are at a gastropub,

what they are looking for when they are

brewery, or winery.

at a grocery or liquor store. Consider

factors mean even less.

A COMBINATION OF CONSUMER FACTORS

This is because consumers like what

the power of effective storytelling that

they like, and it most often comes down

sets a brand in motion and starts the

With this idea, that maybe we cannot

to great flavor. In fact, Beer Advocate ran

emotional connection that consumers

see the forest for the trees because we are

a survey and asked craft beer consumers

often establish.

too close to the subject, it makes sense

what craft meant, and the top selection

Without first tasting the product, the

to turn to those that really should matter

was quality, which backs up the idea

consumer starts their relationship with the

the most for all of us. While there is

that it is flavor, not size, that drives the

branding of that product. If they like what

merit in the idea that we need to educate

consumer side of the market. (http://www.

they see, the next step is enjoying the

consumers about what we do and offer,

beeradvocate.com/community/threads/

taste followed by (hopefully) becoming a

that does not mean we know it all. What’s

what-does-craft-mean-in-craft-beer-

loyal customer. Finally, the relationship is

missing from the craft marketing equation

poll.108053/). According to this small

solidified when that consumer becomes

is an understanding of what truly matters

survey of dedicated beer drinkers, most

a brand ambassador who uses word-of-

to consumers about craft or if craft even

are not concerned about all the other

mouth marketing and social media to

matters. After all, consumers are at the

qualifying “craft” factors. Now consider

promote the product. This is an important

CONSUMERS COUNT

WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM 103


component

of

understanding

the

consumer’s role in the process because

more for bourbon than he really should

style and flavor is a major element that

have.

differentiates a craft beer drinker from

many of the big brands are employing

In this way, it would seem that words

the rest, and points to the future of beer

the same marketing techniques used

like “handcrafted” and “small batches”

in the US. Whereas consumers used to

by smaller brands. In the wine category,

may end up doing more harm than good

have to turn to imports for flavor variety,

this has been extremely successful as

similar to how the food industry has

the expansion of craft breweries with

consumers love buying bottles with

wrestled with the terms “non-fat” and

interesting flavor offerings has opened the

cupcakes, high heels, or animals on the

“organic.” For now this is speculation

domestic market to experimentation. This

label, and are often unaware that these

until we see where the litigation dust

presents vast opportunity for product trial,

are owned by big wine conglomerates.

settles, or the TTB decides to step in and

which will keep the market interesting in

set a precedent.

the near future.”

Beyond the cupcakes and other eyecatching graphic design elements that grabs a consumer’s eye, does it matter what the label says? For example, does

In the end, it is about the consumer. However, in the debate about craft, it

LET’S ASK CONSUMERS

seems that the consumer is often the

the phrase “handcrafted” really impact

As part of a circular process, these

forgotten factor. Whether you operate a

their purchase decision? And, since

issues illustrate that, as an industry,

tiny tasting room or are distributed across

craft is a completely unregulated term in

we need to conduct more consumer

the United States, you are in the business

advertising and labeling, does it matter at

research and listen to what consumers

to please the consumer. Whether they

all?

feel motivates them when they purchase

enjoy a certain spirit, wine, or beer as

any type of craft beverage. The little

a weekly regular or they pick it up as

research available shows that while many

the choice for a special occasion where

consumer groups are category drinkers,

they willingly spend considerably more,

It may start mattering, at least in the

the Millennial demographic are actually

nothing else matters more than what

courtroom. Recent lawsuits against Jim

cross-category drinkers that may offer

the consumer is thinking before, during,

Beam and Maker’s Mark claimed that it

some unique perspectives for our industry

and after the purchase process. If we

was false advertising to say “handcrafted”

to consider.

can do that well as an industry, nothing

TELLING THE “TRUTH”

on the label when both the products were

The available consumer research does

being made with machines. Plus, Angel’s

point us in a general direction. For example,

Envy Rye whiskey got hit with a lawsuit

a July 2014 Mintel consumer study

when its bottles stated it was made

(http://store.mintel.com/craft-beer-us-

in small batches, but in reality it was

june-2014) found that “the leading

not. Behind the lawsuit was the use of

purchase

California’s False Advertising Law, which

drinkers is style, pointing to a more

the plaintiff argued caused him to pay

discerning consumer base. This focus on

driver

among

craft

beer

else matters in the debate about defining craft.

Kellie Shevlin is Executive Director of the Craft Beverage Expo, a comprehensive conference tailored specifically to suppliers of craft wine, beer, and spirits. For more info visit www.craftbeverageexpo.com or call (202) 288-8898.

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SAN ANTONIO

COCKTAIL

CONFERENCE WRITTEN BY JEANNE RUNKLE

WHAT IS IT?

PHOTOS BY JASON RISNER

Along with the cocktails, there is a huge culinary component to this event. In recent years, craft beer pairing dinners have

The San Antonio Cocktail Conference (SACC) was founded in

become very popular, with craft spirits just beginning to follow

2012 as a Houston Street Charities event. Mark Bohanan, owner

suit and venture into this area. Showing how your spirit pairs

of Bohanan’s Prime Steaks & Seafood, wanted a way to give

with a variety of epicurean delights can provide an excellent

back to his local community. In its fourth year, SACC has grown

opportunity to extend your brand beyond the bar, and into the

into what Fodor’s Travel Guides has named “one of the best

dining room.

cocktail festivals in America.”

WHAT’S UNIQUE ABOUT IT?

WHAT’S IN IT FOR YOU AS A CRAFT DISTILLER?

Houston Street Charities donates 100% of all money raised

The conference isn’t just about connecting with consumers:

during the conference to children’s charities. SACC benefits

industry heavyweights are in attendance as well. Sasha

four charities: The Children’s Shelter, ChildSafe, HeartGift San

Petraske, proprietor of Milk & Honey in NYC, gave a seminar

Antonio and Transplants for Children. Plus, food is also donated

on the relationship of temperature, sugar and ABV in cocktails.

to the local food pantry. In the past four years, over $350k was

Alba Huerta, general manager of Anvil Bar & Refuge and one

donated to local children’s charities.

of Imbibe Magazine’s Bartenders of the Year, led a seminar on

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Cathy Siegel, Executive Director of Houston Street Charities, said, “People come from all across Texas and around the world to participate in our four-day festival.” And that’s no exaggeration: in my own travels, I talked to people from 10 different states and three countries. Trey Azar, founder of Cinco Vodka, a local Texas vodka made from Idaho wheat, appreciates both the opportunity to get his vodka directly into the hands of local consumers, and the chance to benefit children’s charities. After all, his vodka is named for his five children! Tamara Elston, a downtown San Antonio resident who has attended SACC events over the last three years, said that, “There is a whole new group of young, smart, vibrant people who are terroir and sustainability. Plus there are legions of mixologists

doing incredible things. The diversity of what’s being done with

and bartenders at each event, stirring and shaking their signature

what I thought of as my granddad’s drink is amazing. They’re

cocktails. Instead of traveling around the country to meet these

staying true to what whiskey is, but are still making it their own.

folks, San Antonio provides a great opportunity to maximize your

I’m impressed!”

time and resources.

Eddie Williams, a local influencer and the force behind DiningwithClassandStyle.com, has also attended the last three

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING ABOUT IT

years. Eddie feels that each year the conference has gotten better, with more brands sponsoring events. The events are well

While I was there, I took the opportunity to talk to distillers,

organized, with volunteers not only donating their time, but the

brand ambassadors, mixologists, attendees, and local influencers.

love of their craft, as well. “I would tell any craft distiller that

106 WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM


is interested in furthering their brand to attend and immerse themselves into this conference. It can only help to get their name out there and make new connections while having a great time doing so.”

SHOULD YOU GO? With Tales of the Cocktail in 2014 as my only guide to cocktail conferences, my expectations for the San Antonio Cocktail Conference were a bit skewed. Information on the web wasn’t as robust as some events I’ve attended, a sentiment echoed by many of the attendees I spoke with during the conference. However, at the opening night event, it became evident that a world-class group of mixologists, distillers and industry experts were plying their craft. The tasting room was always busy, and even with the relatively modest ticket price, most attendees were taking the time to talk with the distillers and brand ambassadors

opportunity to speak directly with the folks behind the bar that influence what gets poured into a consumer’s glass. Plus, the money raised goes to a great cause. See you there next year!

at each booth. The events were well-organized, and most were held within a small radius of the downtown area. There was also a small cadre of media representatives, from the local news, to bloggers and print outlets. All in all, I’d say that the San Antonio Cocktail Conference is a great venue for getting brand exposure, along with the

Jeanne Runkle currently lives in San Diego, and is a craft liquor aficionado and freelance marketing expert. Her specialty is the brown stuff, whether it’s bourbon, rye or good ole American whiskey. She can be found at LikeYourLiquor.com, PancakesAndWhiskey.com or stalking the aisles of a liquor store, answering the random craft liquor queries of eager consumers.

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D I Y :

H A N D OPERATED CORKER W O R D S & P H O T O G R A P H Y B Y C A RT E R R A F F

In our first installment of DIY distillery we

pressing the cork in fully. Now I know that

chronicled the construction of an agitator.

sounds a little weird because a cork in

This time we’re tackling a hand operated

is a cork in, but that is not entirely true.

corker for bar top T-Corks. This is the most

When you use a device that uses

basic of designs. There are numerous

mechanical leverage to insert a cork it

attachments and routes we could go to build

does so with quite a bit more force than is

this into the Cadillac of corkers, but that’s

possible with your bare hands. This method

not the scope of this piece as most of those

presses a cork harder and thereby releases

ideas require an amount of machining that

some of the air inside the bottle. When we

is beyond the capabilities of most home

hand cork we’ll get some corks that back out

shops.

just a hair, but when we cork by pneumatic

Therefore, what follows are instructions

these corks rarely ever back out.

for a basic model that will help any distiller

This project, although the most basic of

that is still focused on hand corking. What a

corkers, will require quite a bit of metal

manual corker like this does, besides saving

cutting and welding. The goal is to make the

hands from inevitable bruising and fatigue,

project as accessible as possible, but some

is provide a quick and effective method of

things you just can’t get around.

PARTS LIST: 1 1/4” x 1 1/4” Square Stainless Steel Tubing 1/8” Wall x 16” Long 1 1/4” x 1 1/4” Square Stainless Steel Tubing 1/8” Wall x 12” Long 6” x 8” x 1/4” Stainless Steel Plate 1/4”-20 Stainless Steel Bolt 3” Long 1/4”-20 Stainless Steel Lock Nut 2x 1/4” Stainless Steel Washer

Hammered Kopper Works We Build Em, You Distill Em We specialize in custom still orders and design, copper pot stills, and column stills. As well as advanced home brew systems, keg kmokers, and other R&D fabrications. Starting a distillery is EXPENSIVE! But a good still doesn’t have to be, let us show you how! hkworksllc@gmail.com www.hammeredkopperworks.com 108 WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM


First things first, cut all

press so the holes are straight.

parts to size. If you want to

To set up the main tube for

cork bottles taller than 15”

different bottle sizes take a

then make the main 16” tube

bottle and cork it. Then lay the

longer. If you don’t have the

stainless handle on top of the

knowledge or capacity to cut

corked bottle so it’s level. Then

Stainless Steel don’t despair,

mark the main tube where the

more than likely the store

hole is on the handle. Move

you buy the metal from can

everything off the base and use

provide these parts at the size

a drill press to create a hole.

you require, meaning they’ll

Then all you have to do is repeat

cut them for you.

for each bottle you have. When

For the next operation you’ll

it comes time to use the corker

have to weld. If you can’t do

just screw the handle on as

this any weld shop should be

seen in the picture to the left.

able to do this for you for less

This corker is just a stepping

than $10. If you explain what

stone. If your abilities and

you’re trying to achieve they

tools are advanced there are

should be able to help. If you

numerous improvements and

bring a pack of beer they’ll

additions you can consider. Two

probably do it for free. The

upgrades you might want to

main tube can be MIG welded

make include a ‘V’ shaped piece

with Stainless Steel wire.

of wood to cradle the bottle

Have the 16” SS piece welded to the SS plate. Have it welded

under the lever for better positioning. Another attachment would

on the 6” side of the plate and 1 1/4” off center; also, have

allow for the ability to hold the cork in place automatically. As it

it welded flush to the back edge. You want it off center so the

stands you’ll have to hold the cork as it’s inserted into the bottle.

handle, when attached, sits above the center of the base plate. After having it welded all you have to do is drill a hole 3/4” from the end of the 12” SS tube. Then drill holes in the tube that is welded to the base plate. When drilling the holes in the main tube for your different bottle sizes make sure to use a drill

If you have any suggestions for future DIY Distillery builds I would love to know. Email me at diy@raffdistillerie.com.

Carter Raff is owner and master disiller of Raff Distillerie in San Francisco, CA. Visit www.raffdistillerie.com for more information.

Disclaimers: 1. Metalworking can be a dangerous business so please take care when working with tools, power or otherwise. Make sure you understand how to use the tools you are using and to use proper protection, such as safety glasses. 2. As a distiller you are taking a risk by making and using this equipment in and around your distillery as ethanol is highly flammable. This article is merely a guide to inspire people to make their own equipment. Proceed with caution, no guarantee is expressed or implied.

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ADVERTISER index DESIGN, BRANDING & MERCHANDISING

ARCHITECTS Joseph & Joseph Architects

58

CF Napa Brand Design IGNITE Beverage Branding Innovative Media Design

BARREL RACKS Western Square Industries

93

Thoroughbred Spirits Group

FINANCING 2

Brewery Finance

10

20 109 25

GNS & BULK SPIRITS SUPPLIERS MGP Ingredients

18

Pharmco-Aaper

DISTILLERS

BARRELS The Barrel Mill

28

Barrels Unlimited

99

Black Swan Cooperage

6, 17, & 89

Independent Stave Company

52

Thousand Oaks Barrel Co.

84

Rogue Spirits

GRAINS 6 & 16

Rite Boiler

73

Loggerhead Deco

33

BOTTLE MANUFACTURERS & SUPPLIERS Bruni

38

Fusion Glassworks

53

New Westgate Glass Packaging

30

O-I

Artisan Still Design

21

Global Stainless Systems

64

Hammered Kopper Works

108

HBS Copper Stills

BOTTLE & GLASS DECORATING

7&9

Hillbilly Stills

24 102

Specific Mechanical Systems

88

Prospero Equipment Corporation

81

Rudolph Research Analytical

60

Vendome Copper & Brass Works

5&7

EDUCATION American Distilling Institute

49

Saverglass

13

Breckenridge Distillery Workshop

37

SGP Packaging

45

Moonshine University

26

The Rum University

Vetroelite

BOTTLER / BOTTLE FILLER Dehner Distillery

104

CONSULTANTS Spirits Consulting Group

6 & 12 61

Jelinek Cork Group

60

Paulson Supply

85

Saxco International Tapi USA

LABELS Fort Dearborn

7 & 112

PACKAGING Brad-Pak Enterprises Imperial-Packaging Corporation

34 107

Phoenix Packaging

96

Saxco International

68

G&D Chillers

4&6

TRADE EXPOS Craft Beverage Expo

50

76

Custom Metalcraft

44

Fermentis

92

Spokane Industries

69

Winemakeri Inc.

81

WAX SEALING Boston Capital Leasing

97

7

Ferm Solutions

Reed Wax

EQUIPMENT LEASING CCR Engineering

American Craft Spirits Association

TOTES & TANKS

ENZYMES & YEAST

99

CORKS & CLOSURES

32

REFRIGERATION & CHILLERS

42

Packaging Support Group

Brooks Grain

GUILD ORGANIZATIONS

DISTILLING EQUIPMENT BOILERS

106

7

DISTILLERY MERCHANDISE Distillery Products by Laser-On

99

Ultra Pure

73

81

29 7 & 111

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Artisan Spirit: Spring 2015  

The magazine for craft distillers and their fans.

Artisan Spirit: Spring 2015  

The magazine for craft distillers and their fans.

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