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FALL 2017












What’s going on, state-by-state and province-by-province







China’s favorite spirit is making inroads in the U.S.

Something old, something borrowed, and something new



From the American Craft Spirits Association

Cane spirits can fit many business models



The Trademark Act’s “disparagement clause” has been declared unconstitutional

Bourbon cream and cream liquors


Laws Whiskey House of Denver, Colorado


Brand Buzz with David Schuemann




PUMPS37 The good, the bad, and the leather glove-melting





Red flag practices and exemptions

of Denison, Texas

HONEY, PLEASE51 Distillers across the country are inspired by honey

Craft distillers are bringing flavor back to vodka







How to achieve the profile you want

Staff training

The secret ingredient of every successful distiller















How we taste and smell

Issues to consider before using additives

of Minneapolis, Minnesota

THE CARE AND FEEDING OF STAKEHOLDERS69 How you meet your legal duties to your mother

Something a bit more unique in the world of spirits


from the COVER

The journey of grain after harvest

Thoughts on one-off releases

Say goodbye to inconsistent product quality


of Swisher, Iowa

No two are alike…


PUNCH119 American hospitality in a bowl



Ironroot Republic Distilling in Denison, Texas. Image by Amanda Joy Christensen. See their story on page 45.


Issue 20 /// Fall 2017 PUBLISHER & EDITOR Brian Christensen CREATIVE DIRECTOR Amanda Joy Christensen SENIOR WRITERS Renee Cebula

Margarett Waterbury


Ellie Atkins Luis Ayala Brian B. DeFoe Carrie Dow Brett Glick Tyler Gomez-Basauri Harry Haller Paul Hughes, Ph.D. James E. Hyland Tim Knittel

Unlimited Possibilities

Discriminating craft distillers choose the finest quality barrels from Barrels Unlimited. Hand-crafted from American Oak to the most stringent standards and shipped direct. Available in 5, 10, 15, 20, 30, and 59 gallon sizes.

Margie A.S. Lehrman Marbet Lewis John McKee Shannon O'Neil David Schuemann Marc E. Sorini Gary Spedding, Ph.D. Gabe Toth Molly Troupe

ILLUSTRATORS Francesca Cosanti

Jordan Plappert

PHOTOGRAPHERS Amanda Joy Christensen Carrie Dow


Gabe Toth Margarett Waterbury

SALES & MARKETING Ashley Monroe 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


General Inquiries (509) 944-5919 Advertising (509) 991-8112 PO Box 31494, Spokane, WA 99223 All contents © 2017. 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.

www.barrelsunlimited.com | 1-800-875-1558

ARTISAN SPIRIT’s number one goal is to share and celebrate the art and science of artisan craft distilling. But please remember to follow all the laws, regulations, and safety procedures. Be safe, be legal and we can all be proud of the industry we love.


THANK YOU SPONSORS. Our mission at Artisan Spirit Magazine is to share and celebrate the art and science of artisan craft distilling. We are humbled by the support of our sponsors. With their help, we can further our common goals of supporting creativity, innovation, and integrity within the industry we all love so much.





The American Spirits Exchange is a national importer and distributor serving the alcoholic beverage industry (spirits, wine and beer). We provide domestic and international companies with access and support to the U.S. market. Regardless of your size – from micro, craft distiller to publicly traded multinational – our focus fuels your growth. Our flagship Foundations™ program provides companies with access to the U.S. market. We handle your business-to-business functions from start to finish: permitting, brand approvals, purchase order processing, invoicing and compliance.

BSG is focused on supplying craft distillers with the best ingredients from around the world. The craft distilling market trusts BSG to deliver the finest ingredients at competitive prices, without sacrificing customer service. With distilling malts and grains from Rahr Malting Co., Weyermann®, Simpsons, Crisp and Malting Company of Ireland, as well as a full range of yeasts, yeast nutrients, enzymes, botanicals, and finishing products, we have a wide range of distilling ingredients to help you create high quality, artisanal spirits.

Unlike other agencies that work within a blinding myriad of industries; our focus is 100% within the spirits, wine, beer and other alcohol sectors. This specialization has allowed us to become experts in the alcohol beverage category. We have an exceptional understanding of design that sells, complimented by professional project management and flawless production oversight. The result has been strategic solutions that consistently produce both critical acclaim and strong measurable return on investment for our clients.


Artisan Still Design is a small, family-owned company that focuses on the design, fabrication, and sales of distilling equipment and services. From on-site consulting to the complete design and fabrication of multi-million dollar systems, Artisan does it all. We are dedicated to quality and are determined to not only offer the best in innovative design at the most affordable price for our customers, but to provide long lasting support for all aspects of your business. We don’t just make stills, we want to help you become successful in the industry.


American Craft Spirits Association exists because of real-world momentum and a perceived need for a trade association in the U.S. governed by licensed craft distillers on behalf of craft distillers. Our mission includes legislative advocacy in support of a strong business environment for distillers, and through outreach to consumers help build brands and increase consumer awareness. We welcome your ideas, suggestions and participation.


Custom Metalcraft has manufactured stainless steel vessels and equipment for almost 40 years, designing and manufacturing equipment of the highest quality. Our product line includes storage vessels, fermenters, mash cookers and stainless stills. Most tank styles can be moved with a forklift and allow for optimal floor space and stacking capabilities. We offer a wide variety of options for our equipment. Please allow us to provide our expertise to achieve your distillation needs.

Distillery Products is your "Go To" source for wholesale premium branded distillery merchandise for your Distillery. Specializing in custom branding and engraving on Glassware, Premium Flasks, Cocktail Tools and Insulated Tumblers and more… Our Marketing Team will work with you to create your custom merchandise line to elevate your brand and capture your market identity. Our goal at Distillery Products is simple, have your target market think of you, your company and your brand first! Distillery Products is your innovative partner and "Go To" source in brand development and brand identity.

G&D Chillers is as committed to the cold as they are to their clients. They strive to build long lasting partnerships by offering on-going technical support from their team of engineers, all backed by their satisfaction guarantee. G&D Chillers offers a widerange of options from small portable chillers and heaters, to large custom chilling units. All units are ETL approved in both the U.S. and Canada. Most of their standard package chiller designs have been tested for over 20 years in the field.


Trusted Oak Expertise Since 1912. We’ve been in this industry for over 100 years, during which time we’ve learned a thing or two about what makes a great barrel to age great spirits. Our R&D team and account managers have hundreds of barrels currently in experimentation. Partnering with distillers, we think outside the box to develop new products that push your vision forward Our Mission: To craft world-class oak barrels and other cooperage products so our employees, customers and communities flourish.

Decorative label solutions…we’ve got you covered. Fort Dearborn has the expertise and creative appreciation for development and application of labels for the spirits market. Whether your application needs cut & stack labels with specialty hot stamping and embossing, the “no label” look of pressure sensitive film labels or full body graphics using shrink sleeve labels, we have a product to meet your needs. We service brands large and small. Contact us today to discuss your brand building objectives.

Lallemand Biofuels & Distilled Spirits is the industry leader in supplying fermentation products and valueadded services to the distilled spirits industry. We specialize in the research, development, production and marketing of yeast and yeast nutrients as well as a solid belief in education of the distilled spirits industry. A vital part of the alcohol production process, fermentation products from Lallemand Biofuels & Distilled Spirits have been designed and selected to create value by tailoring objective solutions to distillery needs.



















Live Oak Bank specializes in financing solutions for craft distilleries nationwide. As one of the largest originators of small business loans in the country, our loan options allow you to meet your customers’ demand and take your business to the next level. Our team is guided by craft experts and peers who have a combined 75+ years of lending expertise in this space. With access to a cash flow business model, industry knowledge and innovative technology, you’ll be able to grow your distillery with a committed partner. Financing can be used for expansion, equipment purchases, refinance, working capital, construction and more.

MGP is known for its mastery in formulating, fermenting, distilling and maturing world-class spirits. The company’s expertise in blending art and science to produce premium bourbons, whiskeys, gins and grain neutral spirits serves as the foundation of a lasting legacy steeped in know-how. Customers benefit from MGP's in-depth experience, state-of-the-art capabilities, and strong penchant for developing tailored formulations and meeting precise product requirements. MGP's entire team, with distilleries in Atchison, KS, and Lawrenceburg, IN, takes great pride in delivering the highest quality results with each and every product made. For details visit mgpingredients.com/alcohol.

Moonshine University is located in Louisville, Kentucky on the Beverage Campus with its sister company, Flavorman. Moonshine University offers a variety of classes for enthusiasts, entrepreneurs, industry professionals and those seeking careers in the distilling industry. Our distillery was designed as part of our classroom, and all classes incorporate hands-on learning and sensory evaluation in order to provide a complete and comprehensive education. In addition to its knowledgeable instructors, Moonshine University hosts a range of renowned industry experts for specialized instruction and training.

O-I is the world's largest glass container manufacturer and the preferred partner for many leading spirits brands. O-I delivers safe, sustainable, pure, iconic, brand-building glass packaging to the growing craft spirits market.

For over 60 years our company has produced cork stoppers and a wide variety of bottle closures. Family-owned and operated since its inception, Tapi USA continues to develop new products and enter new markets. Tapi USA is proud to support the growth of the artisan distillery industry and is honored to be the Bottle Closure Sponsor for Artisan Spirit Magazine.

Total Wine & More is the country’s largest independent retailer of fine wine, beer and spirits. Our strength is our people. We have over 5,000 associates, who must demonstrate comprehensive beverage knowledge before they are invited to join our team. After coming on board, all of our team members undergo an extensive initial training program. We believe that an educated consumer is our best customer. We want to demystify the buying experience for our customers so they will feel confident in choosing the bottle that is perfect for them. Total Wine & More works closely with community and business leaders in each market it operates to support local causes and charitable efforts.

Glass effortlessly conveys a superior image and delivers the unmatched quality that craft beer consumers expect. In addition to the wide range of bottle options offered through our Covet and Heritage collections, we also offer custom glass design and decoration expertise. Find out more at o-i.com.




WITH MGP’S TEAM OF EXPERTS AND PREMIUM DISTILLED SPIRITS, THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS. Partner with MGP for a single source of world-class brown and white distilled spirits. Our esteemed master distillers and team of experts are dedicated to helping you produce a premium product that will elevate your brand—and continue to satisfy your consumers’ ever-evolving tastes.


Visit MGPINGREDIENTS.COM/ALCOHOL or call 913-360-5299 to get started.

A LETTER FROM THE EDITOR: The best of us know that this industry is about more than alcohol. It's about continuing long standing traditions and about breaking new ground. It's about building something with your own two hands and about continuing family legacies. It's making products that will be used to celebrate new life, important milestones, and loved ones lost. It's about having a vision and creating your own recipe for making it happen.

It's about working hard day in and day out, and then waiting years and years to see the fruits of your labor. It's making what you do mean something to you, your family, and your community. Jim Harrelson of Do Good Distillery, president of California Artisanal Distillers Guild, passed away August 6, 2017 from a heart attack. He is survived by his wife, three daughters, and a legacy of doing good. Jim was one of the best of us.

Brian Christensen (509) 944-5919 brian@artisanspiritmag.com PO Box 31494, Spokane, WA 99223

Something TO LIFT your SPIRITS From the leader in distilled spirit labels Today’s bottles need high-impact decoration and innovative print capabilities to stand out in a crowded marketplace. We service brands large and small with cut & stack, pressure sensitive, roll-fed and shrink sleeve labels using a variety of substrates. Together with specialty finishes, there are no limits to producing labels that set your brand apart.

Your label’s objective is to give customers a clear picture of what your brand is about.

Show off your eye-catching design and let details retell the story of your brand!

MEMBER OF: ADI: American Distilling Institute ACSA: American Craft Spirits Association

architecture ◆ engineering ◆ construction ◆ consulting

Trust. Serving our clients is a very human experience. Simply stated, we want to ensure your success. Discerning distillers of both local and global brands rely on Haskell to plan and execute projects from facility construction to process and packaging, concept development to turn-key delivery. We Make It Certain.

anthony white

Spirits Division Leader Plays chess every day

ryan hollister

Project Director

Using his GI Bill to get his MBA

tina sanchez

Engineering Manager

Plays lead guitar in the Haskell band (from l-r)

904.791.4500 ◆ www.haskell.com Jacksonville, FL (Corporate Headquarters) ◆ Akron, OH ◆ Atlanta, GA ◆ Austin, TX ◆ Beloit, WI ◆ Charlotte, NC ◆ Chicago, IL ◆ Columbus, OH ◆ Dallas, TX ◆ Houston, TX Livermore, CA ◆ Nashville, TN ◆ Oklahoma City, OK ◆ San Diego, CA ◆ St. Louis, MO ◆ St. Paul, MN ◆ Tulsa, OK ◆ Singapore ◆ Malaysia ◆ China ◆ Mexico


r e trend support fo continue th mer to rally m su tate guilds is th ry nts ers of e thank eve . Fly-In eve e gatekeep creases. W the two D.C in x in ta of being th rt a te p a k st ual s too nguards ates' guild and individ , and the va ve efforts, umber of st ti n la A is . g n le o ti e knowledge la . ssiv spirits legis enefit from down regre e can all b changes in lso facing w a t a re a th s n o ild ti of positive gu rma veral state s and info share new tion, and se to g in lp e h FET reduc for ild Update t in the Gu participan


COLORADO COLORADO DISTILLERS GUILD The Colorado Distillers Guild is ripping through another beautiful and successful summer. We are on the verge of launching our Colorado Distillers Trail highlighting our ~50 guild member distilleries across the state. Initially we will produce a map and interactive website followed by events and WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM â€

promotions throughout 2018. We have also been active on the national level attending the ACSA D.C. fly-in during July; including a day with other guild leaders building strategy for the ACSA state guild committee over the next 8 months leading into the convention in Pittsburgh in March; as well as a day walking the Capitol advocating for FET reduction. Back in Colorado we are finishing hosting the ACSA master classes which included a meet and greet with our Executive Director

Margie Lerman and a number of board members. We are also busy preparing for festival session which includes Dstill in September followed by Whiskey Summit, Whiskey X and our annual meeting during the Breckenridge Craft Spirits Festival. Hope we see you in Colorado soon! P.T. Wood President, Colorado Distillers Guild Vice President, ACSA Chair, ACSA State Guild Committee Wood's High Mountain Distillery, LLC


CONNECTICUT CONNECTICUT SPIRITS GUILD The CT Spirits Trail and Guild is pleased to announce that two additional distilleries are coming on board: Central CT Distillers, the makers of award-winning Peel Liqueurs, and SoNo 1420 who is initially launching their products this Fall. Unfortunately the CT State Legislature is wrestling with difficult budget challenges

DELAWARE DELAWARE WINERIES ASSOCIATION 2017 has been a tough year for distilleries in Delaware, so far. The Delaware General Assembly, which is in session from January-June, passed a $0.15 per bottle

MAINE MAINE DISTILLER’S GUILD The Maine Distiller’s Guild, MeDG, welcomes a new member this summer, Sebago Lake Distilling, bringing membership to 15. The guild also welcomes our new Vice President, Jordan Milne of Hardshore Distilling Company located in Portland, ME. The first half of 2017 has been productive for the MeDG, guild President Ian Michaud, of Liquid Riot Bottling Company, and member committees are making headway on all projects: The MeDG website, www. MaineDistillersGuild.org, with printable distillery trail map continues to be a popular way for consumers to learn about Maine distilleries. The online map links to member websites and includes Google information and pictures. Members met as a guild with BABLO, the liquor control and licensing division for the state of Maine. Members were able to ask


and our efforts to widen some state tasting room laws have been paused until the larger budget bills have been resolved. Our prime goal has been and will continue to be able to sell a cocktail in our tasting rooms, but we have a list of other items that we hope to be able to include in our vision and ultimately receive approval. Our Trail members continue to work with our colleagues within the USBG-CT chapter on events and other efforts to promote our brands, restaurant/bars, and the many talented mixologists that work within them.

The CT chapter has a new President, who is doing a great job of synergizing with us and the wholesalers within the state to promote all aspects of the local industry. As part of our Spirits Trail efforts, we offer a prize drawing for everyone that visits all of our distilleries. So, we recently conducted our first bi-annual drawing and delighted a Trail fan who was the winner of a product from each distillery. Cheers to our winner!

increase in tax of distilled spirits, along with increased beer and wine taxes, in an effort to balance a budget deficit. Partisan fighting on the budget meant that very little in the way of other legislative efforts were addressed. Distilleries, along with wineries and breweries, are still pursuing efforts to expand sales to Farmers Markets, allow direct shipping, allow all DE craft beverage

producers to serve other DE made craft products for on-site consumption, and create a statewide way-finding system. All of these are in development but they will not be available for legislative action until 2018.

Tom Dubay Hartford Flavor Company President, CT Spirits Guild/Trail

Mike Rasmussen "Still Charmer" Painted Stave Distilling (302) 983-1269

specific questions MAINE DISTILLER’S GUILD OFFICERS and discuss potential plans. President  Ian Michaud, Liquid Riot Bottling Company The MeDG has Vice President Jordan Milne, Hardshore Distilling Company partnered with Secretary Jeff Johnson, Stroudwater Distillery Maine Spirits, the Treasurers Keith and Constance Bodine, Sweetgrass Winery & Distillery exclusive wholesale distributor for spirits state, www.maineharvestfestival.com. The in the state of Maine. Maine made spirits and MeDG has added an Allied Membership distilleries now have a dedicated section on level to the guild membership for those their website, www.mainespirits.com. With people/companies that don’t hold a DSP Maine Spirits assistance the MeDG is rolling but do have interest in Maine distilling. out a campaign to consumers, bars and Allied Members can keep abreast of the fast restaurants to choose locally made spirits. changing and growing industry in Maine. The slogan “Make Mine from Maine” will With an eye to 2018, the MeDG will soon be seen throughout the state. be looking to other states for guidance The MeDG sought to showcase and perspective with new legislation and member spirits at events in Maine. The lobbying efforts looking to ease the burden first will be in partnership with Portland’s on distilleries. The guild will work to draft spectacular food and drink celebration legislation following the examples of other in October called Harvest on the Harbor, states that enjoy a move favorable business www.harvestontheharbor.com. The second climate for distilleries. will take place in November in Bangor Maine at the Maine Harvest Festival which Keith and Constance Bodine celebrates the bounty from farms across the Sweetgrass Farm Winery & Distillery




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MARYLAND MARYLAND DISTILLERS GUILD The Maryland Distillers Guild continues to grow, now boasting 20 distillery members, 7

MONTANA MONTANA DISTILLERS GUILD Currently Montana has 14 guild members with 19 licensed distilleries. Montana Distillers are working their way through the busy tourist season of Montana. Our annual guild meeting will be held in Butte America October 1-2, 2017. Our Guild supports the movement to reduce the current FET (Federal Excise Tax Reform) and will have presence in Washington D.C.

NEW YORK NEW YORK STATE DISTILLERS GUILD The New York State Distillers Guild is ecstatic to announce that as of July we ended our search for an executive director. Jennifer Smith will aid us in bring our association and the NYS distilling industry even greater heights. Having cut her teeth working in restaurants and bars, Jenn had a decade-long stint focusing on marketing and strategic growth in the publishing and financial services industries before bringing it all together at Astor Wines & Spirits in NYC, where for 6

NORTH CAROLINA DISTILLERS ASSOCIATION OF NORTH CAROLINA The Distillers Association of North Carolina (DANC) had a very successful legislative


startups, and 8 affiliated trade members. The Guild has hosted two successful events to promote the industry, which allowed distillers to sample their products, sell bottles, and showcase them in cocktails. Soon to launch are distillery trails in three regions of the state (Frederick, Baltimore and Eastern Shore)

which will highlight the regional distiller growth to tourists far and wide.

With Montana Craft Distilleries growing, reducing the FET would allow for the current outlay in taxes to be used to hire additional employees as well as expanding current manufacturing facilities in the state. This would have a long reaching impact across Montana, reaching into the agricultural fields. During Montana’s recent legislative session, the Guild pushed for parity with Montana Brewer’s Tap Rooms, allowing Distillery Tasting Rooms to close at 9pm instead of 8pm. Initially the bill passed the House favorably but did not make it out of

the Senate floor as written. The Guild will look to revisit the hour change as well as additional avenues for parity with breweries, wineries and cider houses in Montana. For the Guild itself, membership updates will be discussed at the annual meeting. Specifically, membership dues, Montana distillery trail, website, voting on new leadership and the next legislative session for 2018. All Montana Distilleries are welcome.

years she was Marketing Director and GM of the culinary center. In 2014, she left Astor to develop her own successful consultancy in culinary marketing and events. Jenn is BAR 5-Day certified and teaches recreational cocktail classes at Astor Center. September 11th launches the first-ever New York Craft Beverage Week, a largescale promotional effort driven by Governor Cuomo in partnership with the New York State Restaurant Association, the New York City Hospitality Alliance, and New York's distilled spirit producers, as well as our brewer, cider maker and vintner colleagues. Activities include an emphasis throughout the state on New York-made craft beverages and cocktails on restaurant menus, point-

session in 2017. DANC spearheaded the legislative effort behind the “Brunch Bill” which not only created Sunday morning retail alcohol sales in North Carolina but also liberalized many rules governing distillery operations. Changes included: 1. Allowing distilleries to sell 5 bottles

Jaime Windon Owner/Co-Founder | Lyon Distilling Co

Jim Harris Bozeman Spirits Distillery

CURRENT NEW YORK STATE DISTILLERS GUILD MEMBERSHIP STATISTICS 70% of NYS distillers are members of NYSDG NYSLA Distilling licenses: 135 NYSDG Members: 95 of-sale materials and promotions, paired dinners, bar takeovers, and a trade and media tasting Tuesday, September 12th, at the historic Pier A venue in NYC's Battery Park. Cheers! Cory Muscato Lockhouse Distillery – Buffalo, NY President – New York State Distillers Guild


per year per person from the distillery. The creation of a lifetime special event permit allowing distilleries to take part in trade shows, conventions, fundraisers etc. without applying for an expensive permit.

Unfortunately, a provision allowing NC distillers to take advantage of Direct to



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Consumer shipping in states that allow it was defeated at the last minute under the misguided notion that it would help prevent underage drinking. The fight is not over. There may be a court challenge to the very idea that a state can prevent a company from engaging in legal activity in another

PENNSYLVANIA PENNSYLVANIA DISTILLERS GUILD For the first half of the 2017 year, the PA Distillers Guild has organized and activated various sub committees. The Legislative, Tourism, Agricultural, Education and Safety, and ACSA Planning. Each committee has discussed and begun the planning processes of short term as well as 10 year goals within the respective committees. We have also been able to deliver statistical sales information to our membership by working

TEXAS TEXAS DISTILLED SPIRITS ASSOCIATION In February 2017, Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) re-introduced S. 236, the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act. The bill includes a reduction in the Federal Excise Tax (FET) from $13.50 to $2.70 for the first 100,000 proof gallons of spirits, an 80% reduction in the FET for craft producers. Texas distillers were a part of two “fly-ins” to lobby congressional members on the hill this summer. Dan Garrison of Garrison Brothers Distillery was one of more than 45 distilled spirits producers from across the country who gathered in Washington, D.C. June 2021 for the Distilled Spirits Council’s eighth annual Public Policy Conference. Distillers participated in more than 100 Congressional visits with their home state legislators to urge lowering the punitively high federal excise tax rate on spirits such as whiskey, vodka, rum and other distilled


state. Stay tuned. The above legislative changes combined with 77 licenses granted, over 50 distilleries in operation, and over 40 of those being members of DANC, North Carolina has become a hotbed of distilling activity. Much of the legislative accomplishment

can be traced back to the shrewd decision by DANC members to voluntarily provide 2% of in-distillery sales back to DANC in order to engage in political activity.

with the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) to identify the top retail accounts by spirits category. With this information, we have provided critical information to allow our membership to focus their sales efforts with the goal of sustainability within their home marketplace. At another meeting, the Department Heads of PLCB Category Management spent an hour with our membership for Q&A and help support our membership by explaining route to market within the control state, as well as specialty shelf initiatives programs featuring “Made in PA” products. With 82 licensed distilleries currently in the state, we

have an immensely burgeoning industry in our ever-growing state. In addition, our guild leadership has been able to fight off some lobby attacks to our current idyllic craft distilling laws, and activated our membership and supply chain partners to respond in a manner that was able to protect our current direct distribution abilities. This fall we plan to have our first “drive in” to the state capital to meet with legislators. We have much more to do within our state, and look forward to increased membership as well as participation both now and years to come.

spirits products, and discuss other issues of importance to the sector. Garrison met with Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and 15 other Texas delegation members to urge support for the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act, which would lower the federal excise tax for spirits, beer and wine producers of all sizes for the first time since the Civil War. The legislation currently has 45 sponsors in the U.S. Senate and 226 in the U.S. House of Representatives. “As a small business owner, it is hard to get away from the distillery but this opportunity to talk to elected officials from Texas was vital to the growth of our industry,” said Garrison. “HR 747 will bring much needed tax reform to the alcohol industry and allow me to invest more in my distillery and my community. It is my hope the Texas Legislature will someday join the effort to support small businesses and remove the archaic Texas regulations that stifle our growth and put Texas-based distilleries at an competitive disadvantage with those in other states ” The conference featured a series of legislative, regulatory and state breakout

sessions on key federal and state issues impacting the distilling industry. Conference speakers included: Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA); Administrator of the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau John Manfreda; and Ed Henry, chief national correspondent for the Fox News Channel. The conference also featured an evening “Meet Your Distillers” reception where members of Congress and their staff sampled their home state spirits products. In July, Texas distillers headed back to D.C. with the American Craft Spirits Association to continue to advocate for tax parity with our sister industries. Members of the Texas Guild, Revolution Spirits, Devil’s River Whiskey, Still Austin Whiskey, Hill Country Distillery, Treaty Oak Distillery and Witherspoon Distillery, met with and educated the Texas congressional delegation. They also hosted a fundraiser for Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (RTX).

Scott Maitland President Distillers Association of North Carolina

Rob Cassell

Carrie Simmons Executive Director Texas Distilled Spirits Association



VIRGINIA VIRGINIA DISTILLERS ASSOCIATION The Virginia Distillers Association just celebrated our one-year marker from when we became formalized (June 2016). Since then, much progress has been made. We now have 22 Virginia DSP Members, and 17 Associate Members (suppliers) — and growing! In addition to generating revenue for the association, our Associate Membership Program has helped us acquire many in-kind services (from financial management/filing our taxes, legal counsel, website development, video editing, event partnerships and more). Earlier this year we successfully passed legislation that now allows Virginia DSPs to sell bottles at licensed festivals and events. We believe this stride was a direct result of the industry unifying to support the development of the Virginia Distillers Association. Much of the work we’ve done over the past year has been focused on building professional relationships with our legislators and members of state government. In the next few weeks we will be surveying our membership on regulatory priorities and formalizing our legislative agenda for the 2018 General Assembly session. In tandem, we will be meeting with our representatives at their district offices, as well as inviting them out to our distilleries to advance support. In addition, we’ve been advocating at the federal level along with DISCUS and ACSA for the CBMTRA. During their fly-ins we met with our federal representatives; and we’ve extended invites to these federal representatives to visit our distilleries and have a more personalized discussion about how the proposed tax reform will impact our constituency.


The Distillers Guild of Utah currently has 8 members. Utah now has 14 DSPs with at least 3 new distillery projects underway. The guild is almost ready to release and distribute

our "Distillery Adventure Map" to encourage folks to visit our distilleries. Ethan S. Miller

We believe in a comprehensive approach to both legislative and promotional efforts for our industry; as the promotional efforts can often build credibility for legislative initiatives. Several of our recent promotional initiatives include:

Meet Virginia Makers mini-series.

VIRTUAL VIRGINIA SPIRITS TRAIL ON VIRGINIASPIRITS.ORG Thanks to a grant supported by the Virginia Tourism Corporation and matching crowd-sourced funds from our membership, we were able to launch several impressive upgrades to our website (and prior to our Phase 2 upgrades all work on VirginiaSpirits. org was done in-kind by our Associate Member Mountain High Media). One of the more compelling upgrades to the website is our Virtual Virginia Spirits Trail which helps travelers plan their adventures to our distilleries. In addition to using the Virtual Virginia Spirits Trail to help you locate our distilleries, the Virtual Trail also includes:

Head Distiller Dented Brick Distillery

VIRGINIA SPIRITS MONTH “September is Virginia Spirits Month,” as proclaimed by Governor Terry McAuliffe, and incorporates state-wide promotional efforts to expand the awareness of the Virginia distilled spirits industry. Visit our website to access a quick promotional video on September Virginia Spirits Month; which discusses:

FREE Virginia is for Lovers trucker hat as your gift with purchase of any bottle of Virginia spirits at select ABC stores

Special events all across the Commonwealth, such as Fall Cocktail seminars, bottling workshops at our distilleries, and complimentary tastings at Virginia ABC stores. In addition, we’re hosting several large-scale consumer events, including: >> 2nd Annual Virginia Craft Showcase in Roanoke, Virginia, September 16, 2017 >> The Virginia Spirits Festival in Washington, D.C., September 30, 2017 Regional restaurants and bars participation in the campaign by pouring and promoting Virginia spirits cocktails.

• A filter for finding regional restaurants and bars that are supportive and actively pouring Virginia distilled spirits.

• A filter for locating Virginia’s 365 Virginia ABC stores.

• A filter for Virginia’s cultural attractions and outdoor activities. Examples include historical sights, popular hiking trails and more.

• Each filter can be sorted by region! MEET VIRGINIA MAKERS VIDEO SERIES ON YOUTUBE The Virginia Distillers Association recently launched a mini-series on YouTube called Meet Virginia Makers; featuring 22 individual stories of our industry’s most compelling spirits producers. Each distiller shares stories of enthusiasm for their individual businesses and the Commonwealth. Please visit our website for more information on the

VIRGINIA SPIRITS COCKTAIL DATABASE ON VIRGINIASPIRITS.ORG We recently launched an online cocktail recipe database on VirginiaSpirits.org. Submissions for all cocktail recipes are made by bartenders, mixologists, Virginia distillers and consumer enthusiasts. Visitors to the cocktail database can search for recipes by: Classic Cocktails, Virginia Spirits Type, Theme. Amy Ciarametaro Executive Director Virginia Distillers Association


non-alcoholic mixers, water, and ice. These samples can be sold, but the total amount of samples per person per day is still limited to 2 ounces.

WASHINGTON WASHINGTON DISTILLERS GUILD It’s been an active season for the Washington Distillers Guild. State Legislatures worked through three special sessions to fund public schools and create a budget. Despite the focus being on those two items, the WDG was successful in getting the following important legislation passed:

• ESB 5834: The ability to store bonded and non-bonded spirits in a warehouse where we can store and handle bonded bulk spirits and bottled spirits, as well as storing tax-paid spirits not in bond.

• SB 5589: We passed a bill giving small improvement to our sampling privileges. We can now include in our samples, mixers with alcohol of the distiller's own production. Before this bill, we could only include 


• The WDG is actively seeking an Executive Director and is negotiating terms with a very good candidate.

• Our 5th annual PROOF Washington event was our biggest and best yet, showcasing 40 local and out-of-state distilleries, 18 restaurants, 10 vendors, and 850 customers. Distillers were able to sell bottles directly from their tasting tables, with total sales hitting over $32K. Thirty percent of the funds received go to the WDG to fund legislative and marketing efforts. Jason Parker Co-Founder/President Copperworks Distilling Co.

In other news:

• The Washington Distillery Trail is now in development, with

! d suppliers distillers an ft ra c f o e nc llow guilds. tional audie reach a na d inspire fe n to a y s, it e n g u n rt alle oppo ur latest ch out on this s to solve yo n Don’t miss io st e g g su VED! rs, request it supporte O GET INVOL

G? GUILD MISSIN ru E T A T S R U O c IS Y victories, re Share your

The WDG’s bill (ESSB 5145), which was suggested by the WA State LCB and would have allowed distilleries to have the same private label privileges as the state’s wineries, breweries, and cideries, became tangled in a political fight between the legislature and Costco and so failed to pass. Though private labels have been produced for the past 4 years since privatization, the legislature feels there was no law allowing them to do so, and wants the LCB to enforce the current law, rather than change the law to meet current practices. We expect to see legal challenges from Costco, and the big box stores who are currently selling private labels.

Phase I scheduled to go live by the end of the quarter.




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ot a day goes by without a national headline addressing the need for a massive tax overhaul in America. We see it suggested for both personal and business taxes. In fact, recently, a joint statement from House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (RKY), Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) announced: “For the first time in many years, the American people have elected a President and Congress that are fully committed to ensuring that ordinary Americans keep more of their hard-earned money and that our tax policies encourage employers to invest, hire, and grow. And under the leadership of President Trump, the White House and Treasury have met with over 200 members of the House and Senate and hundreds of grassroots and business groups to talk and listen to ideas about tax reform.” The American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA), was among the business groups which shared ideas about tax reform. Approximately 50 craft distillers from over WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM  

20 States descended on Washington, D.C. on July 24th and 25th for the first ever solo fly-in for ACSA. Each distiller came with energy, vigor, and determination to provide critical knowledge to Senate offices, by explaining how a long-sought after reduction in the Federal Excise Tax would specifically allow distillers to invest, hire and grow. Craft distillers and suppliers brought this message of parity with beer and wine through over 20 strategic meetings in the U.S. Senate, a breakfast with a Senator Wyden (D-OR) (original sponsor of now S.236 Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act and Ranking Minority Member on the Senate Finance Committee) and a lunch with a Rep. Kevin Brady. Mingling with key staff at a Congressional Reception later that day further provided a backdrop to showcase the manufactured goods discussed and most impacted — American craft spirits. The fly-in was orchestrated to persuade members of Congress on the merits of the pending legislation under the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (CBMTRA) to reduce the FET from $13.50 to $2.70 up to the first 100,000 gallons removed from bond. The opening reception was hosted by Republic Restoratives, a new D.C. distillery. The event further highlighted

Distillers converged on Washington, D.C. to explain how a long-sought after reduction in the Federal Excise Tax would them to invest, hire and grow. the rise of craft distilling in many cities including the nation’s capital, a tradition that goes back to George Washington. For many distillers, a visit to D.C. presented many “firsts.” Some had never visited D.C. while others had yet to walk into Congressional offices to ask for a reduction in tax treatment. Still others had yet to hear directly from TTB, so were highly engaged when Theresa McCarthy, Assistant Administrator delivered insights into craft spirits, suggesting that the growth trend continues. Offering practical guidance, Ms. McCarthy, together with her TTB team of Chris Thiemann and Thomas Hogue, encouraged attendees to contact


TTB directly to allow its staff to help solve inquiries before they become a compliance problem. Perhaps one of the most notable features of the fly-in was the pep talk provided by Senator Wyden. Appearing at an ACSA breakfast, he noted, it is even more important for strong Senate support with tax reform impending. He reminded all that at the time of this meeting, the Senate stood at only 45 co-sponsors and while strong, it must be at a majority to become a part of the overall tax package. He urged the group to “make the case that there are already the votes in the House and that the Senate’s what’s holding it up.” Sen. Wyden further explained that a key selling point is the fact that a reduction creates greater incentives for small producers by aiding local job creation with small business, manufacturing, tourism, and agriculture. For craft producers and their partners in production, this tax savings is significant. “Getting capital helps small guys grow,” Wyden pointed out. “That would really be the connective tissue here.” Jersey Spirits Distilling Company, represented by Co-Founder and Master Distiller John Granata, agrees. Granata visited Senate offices to reiterate the paramount importance of tax reform for distillers. His message: “A distillery in New Jersey is allowed to produce 20,000 gallons per year. If a single producer achieved its cap, which is not a hard ceiling to hit, they would see over $215,000.00 in excise tax savings. This is a life changing amount of money to any business and means the ability to hire staff, purchase equipment,

and expand.” He was not alone. Wiggly Bridge Distillery, represented by David Woods, focused on another provision of the proposed bill. Woods explained, “We are a small LLC, distillery located in Maine and fill a 53 gallon barrel most days throughout the year. Adoption of this bill [specifically, section 263A] would create a sizable tax savings for Wiggly Bridge of over $75,000 each year. Because the distillery hits a personal tax return in a 37% tax bracket, the raw goods of manufacturing under current law prohibit recognizing the expense (i.e. tax deduction) until the age spirits are bottled. With the passage of CBMTRA all the expenses in the creation of an aged spirit would be deductible each year. And this tax savings could be returned to the business creating profitably for the first time and allowing for expansion sooner than we thought.” Both Granata and Woods, joined by their collective colleagues, repeated the mantra through Senatorial office visits: Pass CBMTRA to allow our small businesses to grow. Senator Wyden’s “heavy lifting” not only on the legislation but for his commitment to the craft spirits industry, earned him recognition with the first of its kind ACSA Champion of Craft Spirits Award. As noted by House Spirits co-owners Tom Mooney and Christian Krogstad, House Spirits would not exist today, but for Senator Wyden’s intervention to move TTB to begin acting on license approvals again while TTB was awaiting the outcome of the Treasury and Department of Homeland Security merger in early 2003. Senator Wyden deserves the industry’s praise.

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady imparted further guidance (his Committee is the chief tax writing Committee in the Congress and he will be the leader of tax reform in the U.S House). Illuminating the pitfalls of tax reform, he provided tips on how to best persuade Members of Congress to support passage. Current ACSA President, Mark Shilling, of Austin, Texas, credits Rep. Brady with advising our industry to focus on the “parity” argument. After many exhaustive hallway steps in Congress, our distiller community enjoyed a little levity with Congressional staff in the historic Rayburn Building in the U.S. House. Well over 100 people attended and sampled featured spirits from the producerattendees. During that reception, ACSA had yet another opportunity to present to Congressman Erik Paulsen (R-MN) another “Champion of Craft Spirits Award” for his work as chief sponsor of H.R. 747, the House version of S. 236, and for his outstanding work in rounding up over 250 fellow co-sponsors in the House. Congressman Paulsen has been a champion for the burgeoning industry of craft spirits in Minnesota. Now is the time for a fair FET reduction for craft distillers. We will not rest until the task is done.

Margie A.S. Lehrman is Executive Director of American Craft Spirits Association. Visit www.americancraftspirits.org for more information on ACSA and to join. Contact James E. Hyland, Esq. by emailing Jim@PennsylvaniaAvenueGroup.com.


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The Trademark Act’s “disparagement clause” has been declared unconstitutional

the results were somewhat inconsistent as to which marks were deemed “disparaging” and which were not (e.g., the USPTO denied an application for “HEEB,”2 but allowed “DANGEROUS NEGRO”3 to register). In Tam the Supreme Court struck down the disparagement clause, holding that it violated the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment because, in the words of the Justice Alito, it “offends a bedrock First Amendment principle: Speech may not be banned on the ground that it expresses ideas that offend.” The government, in an effort to convince the Court of the disparagement clause’s constitutionality, put forth various arguments including that (1) trademark registrations are a form of government speech and (2) trademark registrations are a form of government subsidy. The Supreme Court was not persuaded, stating in response to the first argument that “If the federal registration of a trademark makes the mark FOR government speech, the Federal Government is MORE babbling prodigiously and incoherently. It is THAN 70 saying many unseemly things.” YEARS, THE In light of the Tam decision, many are left wondering what to make UNITED STATES of the other portions of Section PATENT AND 2(a) of the Lanham Act, namely TRADEMARK OFFICE the prohibition on registrations for “immoral” or “scandalous” HAD ENFORCED marks. The USPTO has stated THE PROVISION, that it will continue to examine AND THE RESULTS applications in accordance WERE SOMEWHAT with the bar on “immoral” and “scandalous” marks until the INCONSISTENT AS Court of Appeals for the Federal TO WHICH MARKS Circuit issues a decision in In re WERE DEEMED Brunetti, a pending case addressing the potential registration of “FUCT” “DISPARAGING” for clothing.4 The Federal Circuit has AND WHICH requested additional briefing in light WERE NOT. of Matal v. Tam, but many suspect that the “scandalous” and “immoral” provisions of Section 2(a) will also be found unconstitutional.



n June 19, 2017, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Matal v. Tam, declaring the Trademark Act’s (commonly referred to as the “Lanham Act”) “disparagement clause” unconstitutional as a violation of the free speech principles embodied in the First Amendment. If the case name doesn’t ring a bell, the players involved might. The decision was the culmination of Simon Shiao Tam’s fight to obtain a federal trademark registration for “THE SLANTS” for use in connection with his rock band. The term “Slants” can be used as a racially pejorative word for persons of Asian descent and was selected by the AsianAmerican band in an effort to “reclaim” the derogatory term. Tam’s win at the Supreme Court, however, wasn’t only a victory for his band. The Washington Redskins, who are also engaged in a protracted legal battle to maintain their trademark registrations despite challenge from a Native American group, hailed the decision a success. The Redskins’ owner, Dan Snyder, simply stated: “I am THRILLED.”1 The legal provision at issue in the case, referenced above as the “disparagement clause,” can be found in Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act. This provision prohibits the United States Patent and Trademark Office (the “USPTO”) from granting federal registration to any trademark that “[c]onsists of or comprises immoral, deceptive, or scandalous matter; or matter which may disparage or falsely suggest a connection with persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt, or disrepute.” (Emphasis added). For more than 70 years, the USPTO had enforced the provision, and




U.S. Trademark Application Serial No. 78558043.


U.S. Trademark Registration No. 77746670.





SO WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR DISTILLERS? While it is no longer necessary to consider the potential disparaging effects of a trademark for purposes of federal trademark registration, it’s unlikely that we will soon witness a substantial rise in the number of “disparaging” trademark applications for the simple reason that trademarks that offend consumers are unlikely to be commercially viable. The same might not be as true for scandalous or immoral marks, and for that reason it will be interesting to see what occurs in the wake of the Brunetti decision regarding the remaining portions of Section 2(a). Moreover, the First Amendment only restrains governmental entities from taking action that restrict free expression. Thus, a wholesaler or retailer can simply refuse to carry a product it views as disparaging, scandalous or immoral. Similarly, a trade association can choose to withhold certain member benefits from products it deems offensive. The Brewers Association, for example, recently announced that it would not permit the use of its Great American Beer TRADEMARKS Festival trademark in connection with a THAT OFFEND medal-winning beer whose name it CONSUMERS ARE deems offensive. UNLIKELY TO BE And Tam may have an even greater impact if and when COMMERCIALLY VIABLE.


distillers or other alcohol beverage producers use that precedent to challenge the host of federal and state alcohol beverage laws designed to enforce standards of morality and good taste in the marketing of such products. Federally, an Alcohol & Tobacco Tax & Trade Bureau (“TTB”) regulation prohibits on distilled spirits labels: (2) Any statement that is disparaging of a competitor's product. (3) Any statement, design, device, or representation which is obscene or indecent.5 A nearly-identical regulation applies to distilled spirit advertising. Fortunately for the industry, TTB rarely invokes these two prohibitions. But should TTB seek to invoke them, a distiller would likely have a robust First Amendment objection. In the wake of Tam, that position has become even stronger. TTB generally takes a light touch when it comes to labels that might be described as disparaging, obscene or indecent. The same cannot be said for certain state alcohol beverage control authorities. Even before the Tam decision, those state agencies have spawned a number of precedents in which alcohol beverage producers and advertisers successfully challenged government actions against allegedly obscene or indecent labels. Among them:


A 1998 Second Circuit Court of Appeals decision holding that the New York State Liquor Authority could not refuse to approve

27 C.F.R. § 5.42(a)(2) & (3)

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the label of Bad Frog Beer – which featured an amphibian displaying its extended middle finger on the grounds that the label was obscene.


A 2012 Western District of Michigan decision holding that Michigan could not refuse to approve the label of Flying Dog Brewery’s Raging Bitch IPA on the grounds that the label allegedly promoted sexism and was “detrimental to the health, safety, or welfare of the public.”


A 2001 District of Colorado decision holding that Colorado could not require Flying Dog Brewery remove the phrase, “Good Beer, No Shit” from the label of its Road Dog Ale.

As the forgoing list of decisions illustrates, the First Amendment already presents a formidable obstacle to government attempts to suppress truthful, non-misleading commercial speech, including speech certain government regulators deemed disparaging, obscene or indecent. The Tam decision adds an additional precedent to these First Amendment principles, highlighting that distillers have substantial protections for messages deemed inappropriate by certain governmental bodies. Of course, vindicating First Amendment rights requires lawyers, time, and (because lawyers generally want to be paid) money. Because of this, in spite of Tam and other precedents, regulators may take actions that seem to violate First Amendment principles unless and until an

industry member DISTILLERS SEEKING TO USE musters the “EDGY” LABELS OR ADVERTISING resources to CAN TAKE SOME SOLACE challenge the action of the government. Still, IN KNOWING THAT IF distillers seeking to use NECESSARY, THE LAW GIVES “edgy” labels or advertising THEM SUBSTANTIAL can take some solace in knowing that if necessary, the PROTECTION. law gives them substantial protection against government suppression of their commercial message.

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 supplier-tier industry members. His practice for craft distillers includes distribution agreements, distribution counseling and litigation, beer formulation, labeling, promotional compliance, compliance strategy, and federal and state tax and trade practice enforcement defense. Eleanor (Ellie) Atkins is an associate in the law firm of McDermott Will & Emery LLP, based in the Firm’s Washington D.C. office. She works in the Intellectual Property Prosecution Group, where her practice for alcohol beverage companies focuses on trademark law.

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Save money, time and headaches with some simple considerations.


ou’ve spent months developing a new brand package and all that is left is to get the package produced. Well, unfortunately there is no easy button. There are, however, several easy things to consider that will insure your new packaging produces flawlessly.



SIZE DOES MATTER. A label has to be applied to something… and most of the time, it’s a bottle. If you are developing a custom bottle mold you should finalize it before the completion of print ready files for your labels, capsules, corks/closures, shippers, etc.; otherwise, you may be spending good money on elements that won’t fit your bottles.



If you are using a stock mold, pay close attention to the manufacturer’s stated label panel size and that your labels are smaller than the panel. Word to the wise – give yourself at least 2mm from the top and from the bottom of the label panel to give your bottling line some tolerance when running the labels during bottling. If you are developing a custom bottle consider key elements like the bore diameter of the bottle and whether your bottle will fit within the typical facing (height and width) at retail and whether the bottle will fit in the bar rail on-premise.


YOUR BRAND’S BILLBOARD, MAKE IT SING. Your label is the single most important element of your package. When it comes time to print your label, make sure to keep these items in mind:


Meet with your label vendor to thoroughly review the files and to optimize the label size and print techniques to their presses. Often print technique upgrades or effects can be achieved for little to no additional costs and conversely, if your specifications don’t fit their presses well, your labels can be excessively expensive to produce. A few millimeters here and there can also translate to big savings when addressing a full print run where the paper material is one of the largest drivers of cost.


Always run a die-blank test. This is simply a roll of labels die cut to the correct dimensions with all embossing and debossing on the selected stock. These test labels should be tested on your bottling line BEFORE your print run to insure there are not any application issues. — It’s cheap insurance to make sure your labels will apply flawlessly on your line and without flagging or bubbling issues. It’s much less expensive (and headache) to make adjustments after a die-blank test than to throw away an expensive production run.


Consider where your product will be chilled. If in a cold cooler at retail or in someone’s freezer (Vodka) the type of paper will be critical to avoid scuffing and bubbling due to moisture. Welded stocks that have a plastic barrier built into the label material prevent label degradation in ice buckets and prevent bubbling from moisture exposure. While more expensive, this upgrade can save you some major headaches down the road.

CAPSULES, CORKS & CLOSURES PLAN AHEAD FOR LONG LEAD-TIMES! Capsules and closures can sometimes have long lead times of 3-months or more, so make sure you allocate plenty of time for production. A little preplanning can save a frustrating and unnecessary delay later.


Give your vendor a visual color target. Do not rely on simply referencing a produced capsule or closure from the marketplace or their portfolio. There may have been color shifts through years of production runs and you could end up with the wrong color. ⟶



Make sure to review your desired materials and finish – matte, satin, shiny. This will vary depending on the capsule material and even PMS specified colors can vary wildly on different finishes.


If you are using polylam or PVC capsules, have your glass vendor verify that they can be used with your bottle. Don’t assume they will work on every mold… you would be shocked how many bottles can’t accommodate a polylam or PVC capsule due to their bead or a reverse taper in the neck of the bottle.



LEAD TIMES AND PRINT METHODS Many shippers are often ordered with glass and have longer lead times, so be sure to plan ahead. Often only 1-2 ink colors for the shipper are included in the bundled price, so be sure you know what is included to avoid having to redesign or pay an upcharge because of the number of colors used on your shipper design.



Make sure that your closure company has a sample of the bottle and is sizing to the correct bore diameter to prevent leaking issues caused by a poor fit. If you are developing a custom bottle, be sure to consider the bore diameter as not all bar pours will fit into every bore diameter.


If you are using a natural or synthetic T-top cork, make sure your distiller is comfortable with the cork vendor and the performance of their type of closures with the type of alcohol you are producing to avoid issues.

Make sure your designer is aware of the printing process (Flexographic Direct Print, Flexographic Preprint or Lithography) that will be used to print the shippers. Each printing method lends itself better to certain designs (flat colors versus photography), so make sure the designs are optimized for the printing method chosen. Many designs will not translate well or can’t be produced

at all using Flexographic processes, so it’s critical that your designer understand the parameters.


If you are ordering your shippers separately from your glass be sure your shipper company has a sample of the glass to ensure proper fit and knows whether you have a paper label or are screen printing your bottles so that they specify the correct type of partitions to avoid label scuffing.

David Schuemann is the owner and creative director of CF Napa Brand Design. For more information, visit www.cfnapa.com or call (707) 265-1891.



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or a few months, Pump P-502 was my nemesis. It was an internal gear pump with integrated pressure relief, and usually pumped fluid at about 500-530F. The reason this pump and I didn’t get along was because when it went down, the biodiesel refinery did too, and when that happened we needed to work on it in the immediate moments after it had failed, 500 degrees and all. When I say it’s possible to melt leather gloves, I do so with knowledge gleaned from this pump. I will never forget the day that Tim Mann and I were crouched next to the pump, about 45 seconds into operation, with the president of the pump company standing there watching (summoned because of our frustration) and assuring us that, “the pump could not possibly do what we said we had been dealing with for months,” and the thing just plain seized up. His jaw opened, then shut, he went back into the control booth, changed into his steel toes and floor gear, came back out and grabbed our tools and tore that pump apart there and then….melting the tips of his leather gloves in the process. But more on that story later. If you’re operating a distillery or thinking about opening one, pumps are going to be a big part of your everyday world. Generally speaking, there are only a few types of pumps that you need to worry about in a distillery, so I’m going to concentrate on those and leave some discussion of the more esoteric pump styles for hot tub conversations at ADI and ACSA.



»» »» »»


Remote operation: Find a pump with a remote control, especially if it has speed control. It’s a great tool to allow you to be in two places at once when utilizing the pump. Mobility: Make sure the pump has a low base with casters or wheels. A static pump is great if everything in your distillery is hard piped, but if you’re dragging hoses between tanks, then give yourself a break and make sure you can move the pump too. Repair and Maintenance: If the rep can’t open, repair, and perform the basic preventative maintenance with a leatherman or just their fingers, find another pump. Area Electrical Classification: If you have stringent electrical classifications for your distillery (or don’t know what that means) get a pump that doesn’t have a motor, like an AOD.



Centrifugal pumps are standard in breweries and distilleries. They don’t mind pumping solids, are relatively simple to repair, and are usually mostly bulletproof. The biggest problem with a centrifugal is that they will not build a prime. If you don’t get liquid to the inlet, it’s just going spin without pumping or ever starting to pump. For the most part, VFDs (Variable Frequency Drive, think speed control) are unnecessary with centrifugal pumps. In certain cases, VFDs can be used if the pump is in constant service, 24/7, for energy savings and whatnot, but for the most part VFDs are not required. The internals and housings are usually stainless steel, which means that they aren’t going to wear down over time due to chemical issues such as wash pH. However, if you ever open your centrifugal and see pitting on the blades, that suggests cavitation, which can ruin a stainless pump rotor as quickly as anything.

These pumps are making big inroads into distilleries and breweries and are based around the positive displacement concept of moving fluids. I really dig these pumps because they can pump damn near anything in a distillery, don’t require a prime to start pumping, are super simple to repair/ replace worn out impellers, make good use of VFDs to increase and decrease flow rates, easy to clean, etc. In distilleries with washes in the low to mid pH ranges (4-6), expect the elastomer in the impeller to be affected if it’s not properly specified to pump slightly acidic washes as are common in distilleries. Additionally, very hot temperatures may be outside of the elastomer specifications, so use caution if you’re trying to pump away stillage from your just-completed stripping run.


MOYNO (PROGRESSING CAVITY): These pumps are sort of amazing in some regards and just plain overkill in others. They are progressive cavity but really shouldn’t be asked to pump dry to build a prime — they should be treated like a centrifugal in ensuring that prime is established to the pump head before running. What makes these pumps amazing is that when they have prime, they’ll pump something to the moon if you ask them to. On the other side of that coin, you need to ensure really good pressure relief and safeties. Overall, they’re sort of overkill for the standard micro-distillery unless you’re doing something that requires very high and constant pressures, like pumping something forward through a filter bank, pushing stillage and sludge long distances to waste water treatment, etc.

PERISTALTIC: These pumps are small duty pumps, usually dosing pumps for chemicals, with flow rates in the gallons per day or gallons per week ranges. If you have one of these, it’s probably on your water quality system, CIP dosing system, or boiler chemical feed system. Peristaltic pumps are positive displacement and are usually made from a small section of tubing with a rotating shoe that compresses the tube as it travels in a circle. These pumps are great for pumping very low flow rates, build prime easily, and are generally started automatically by a controller and run to a certain dosing rate.


AIR OPERATED DIAPHRAGM PUMPS: If you want to run an intrinsically safe pump, from an electrical standpoint, these pumps are the cat’s meow. AODs use compressed air to flex two opposing diaphragms to create flow. These pumps are positive displacement, can build prime, and because they don’t use a directly attached motor you don’t have to worry about XP electrical classifications. Speed control is established by regulating the amount of air to the pump more air, more flow. Most AODs will produce a “surge” flow, meaning that like a beating heart, every cycle of the diaphragms will deliver a constant but up-and-down flow rate. Great for transferring between tanks, running something through a filter bank, etc, but not great for feeding something that requires constant even flow, like a continuous column. So what happened with P-502? Check out the link to get a good idea how these pumps


work and I’ll describe the rest: SELFVFD www.vikingpump.com/resources/sales/ PRIMING ELECTRICALLY SAFE TYPE (RECOMMENDED) videos/how-it-works-internal-gear-pumps Centrifugal No No If XP Motor It turned out that the thermal gradient between the center of the pump where the idler gear is Flexible Impeller Yes Yes If XP Motor located, the crescent in the middle, and the outer surface of the pump occupied by the rotor Moyno Yes No If XP Motor gear was such that the idler gear would thermally expand quicker than the remainder of the pump Peristaltic N/A Yes If XP Motor body. The result was that the pump would seize AOD as the expanding idler gear locked up between No Yes Yes the crescent and rotor gear. The solution was to put in a heated pump head, such that a smaller assisted flow, vertical staged centrifugal, flexible impeller, and gear thermal gradient could be maintained between the rotating parts — VFD, soft-started, or just on/off — each of which was selected of the pump and when they started to expand they wouldn’t impact and used for a specific purpose and application. No one pump does each other. I didn’t have to work on that pump ever again. every job, but in our industry, that of making hooch, for my money That refinery had pumps of all types; internal gear, peristaltic, an AOD or Flexible Impeller is the way to go. centrifugal, rotary lobe, vacuum blower, vacuum pump, venturi

John McKee, along with his wife Courtney, are the co-owners of Headframe Spirits in Butte, MT. John is co-owner of Headframe Spirits Manufacturing and hasn’t met a pump he hasn’t broken at least once. For more info, email john@headframespirits.com.

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his past July, the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (“TTB”) confirmed its participation in a joint operation with the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages & Tobacco (“DABT”) targeting South Florida retailers in an effort to investigate alleged “pay to play” schemes. The TTB reported this joint operation as one of the largest trade practice enforcement initiatives launched in recent history. Last year, we saw Boston’s Craft Brewers Guild fined along with several retailers for similar trade practice activities. Pay-to-play or “slotting fee” schemes, while prevalent in many markets, implicate various trade practice and tied-house violations. Allegations of violations usually involve the unlawful payments, often reaching thousands of dollars in monetary payments or gifts of other goods, to retailers for preferential product placement and exclusion of competing brands. These types of investigations often uncover direct payments to retailers and indirect payments utilizing third-party marketing companies to funnel illegal inducements. While these business activities fit within the usual and common course of business negotiations in other markets with non-alcoholic products, within the alcohol industry, the practice is illegal under the Federal Alcohol Administration Act (“FAA Act”) and a majority of state alcohol laws. Industry members may publicly admonish the act and criticize alleged violators, but in practice, these types of private arrangement are widespread and difficult to uncover and prosecute. Moreover, the rigidity in standing trade practice regulations contradicts the modern free flow of commerce making compliance sometimes difficult for large suppliers and start-up craft brands alike. Many trade practice regulations still governing the alcohol industry today have their roots in pre-Prohibition practices that were common during the early 20th century. The alcohol distribution system at the time consisted of only suppliers and retailers. Local producers had ownership ties to many saloons and WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM  

sold their products on extended credit terms, furnished expensive equipment and supplies, paid rebates for retailer support of brands, and engaged in various other means of cutthroat competition for control of retail outlets. Some of these practices promoted excessive consumption and indebted retailers to such an extent as to strip them of their economic independence. The era of Prohibition, often referred to as the “failed experiment,” didn’t resolve any of the preProhibition problems. Instead, an illegal industry flourished and crime rates skyrocketed. In 1933, the 21st Amendment repealed Prohibition and laid a foundation for the creation of our three-tier system and extensive state regulation. The three tier-system and subsequent trade practice and “tied-house evil” regulations aim to eliminate the direct link between suppliers and retailers that fosters indebtedness and the loss of retailer independence that can stagnate product innovation and overall market growth. Ideally, the three-tier system should: Create a system for reliable tax collection; Support tier independence and market access for smaller businesses; and Allow more state/local control over the places and methods by which alcohol is sold. Unfortunately, trade practice and tied-house regulations are overly complicated, often misunderstood, and consequently (and conveniently) ignored. The whistleblower complaint sparking an investigation doesn’t always come from an innocent party, but rather a competing brand or retailer that just can’t play at the same level. So, ultimately, how will increased enforcement activity impact the prevalent use of pay-to-play schemes? Sporadic enforcement activity from the TTB and state agencies leaves much room for inconsistency in the interpretation of restrictions and permissible exemptions. Often, on-site staff and managerial staff or sales representatives simply aren't familiar enough with the rules to be able to live by them in their daily business activities. When evidence and allegations are peeled away, the most common


excuse is lack of knowledge and training. This systemic ignorance, be it willful or just negligent, can leave industry members facing hefty fines, suspensions, revocation and truly negative publicity that can cripple an ongoing business. The TTB has responsibly sought to guide the industry through enforcement activity and even post-enforcement policy notices. Unfortunately, in each case, little is said about either pre-or post-enforcement compliance measures taken to prevent future violations. While media focuses on the alleged wrongdoing, more attention should be given publicly and internally to education and compliance practices that can help industry members prevent violations but also benefit from exemptions to tied house laws. For example, there are stand-out red flag practices such as the following that place both suppliers and retailers at risk of investigation and enforcement actions: Monetary gifts or gifts of other goods of value including equipment, gift cards, tickets, travel or other hospitality; Agreements with an industry member that obligate a retailer to purchase or otherwise promote a specific brand; Industry member involvement in the day-to-day activities or decision making of a retailer; and Discriminatory offers that are not available to all like businesses on the same terms.


However, these general prohibitions are balanced with exemptions that can be explored and negotiated for a legal benefit to all parties. The following are common permissible exemptions, although the application and extent of the exemptions varies by state and industry members should always seek specific guidance from a qualified legal party on any proposed marketing or financial arrangement: Product Displays (shelving, racks, barrels) – Generally, if permissible, must not exceed statutory monetary limitations and must meet specific display requirements; Point-of-Sale and Consumer Advertising Specialty Items (posters, inside signs, clocks, menus) – The permissible use of such items is normally limited in monetary value and quantity, and rules may differ based on type of alcohol product promoted; Educational Seminars/Product Knowledge Training hosted by industry members – These types of events, where permissible, are usually limited in subject matter, location and frequency; Advertisements – Some cooperative advertisements may be permissible where unaffiliated retailers are included. However, such permissibility is again dependent on the specific details of the promotion or advertisement and financially responsible party.


Statutory vagueness leaves some room for interpretation of prohibitions and exemptions, but ultimately, if an inducement leads to lack of retailer independence or exclusion of brands as a result of illegal inducements, then the activity is likely an improper pay-to-play scheme. Even with better compliance guidance, today, tied house laws are often viewed as a relic of the past needing an aggressive remodel. If read literally, the black letter law of most trade practice and tied house regulations leaves little if any room for cooperative advertising or support between industry members that may be beneficial for product innovation and retailer growth. The legislators of the 1930's surely could not have imagined the diversity of brands and retail outlets and certainly not the explosion of social media and internet advertising. Many of the monetary restrictions on permissible "gifts" don't fit into our modern economy or the inflated costs of typically permissible products or advertising. Unfortunately, these restrictions leave alcohol products outside the typically permissible business negotiations common for gaining favorable shelf space for non-alcoholic products. At this point in history, other regulated product industries, such as the cannabis industry, enjoy a flexibility in joint tier efforts and advertising, even ownership, that is closed off for alcohol industry members. These factors, viewed collectively with our modern economy and age of social media and the expansion of other regulated products, screams for modernization of our trade practice and tied house laws. Of course, some regulation is undoubtedly needed to ensure the

industry remains diverse and accessible to smaller producers. The current system, however, has not been effective in its protection and efforts to level the playing field. Recent enforcement cases evidence a lack of interest in embracing the rules as the types of violations throughout the years seem repetitive, and violations are tied to all industry segments, including large suppliers and even craft producers. Instead of preventing the game, regulators and industry members can focus on development of more commercially reasonable rules that support legitimate business interests. Industry members can recognize the pros and cons to tied house regulations. But, if regulators could start from scratch, as other regulated product industries have done, would they regulate the alcohol industry under such an inflexible three tier segregation scheme? Our historic regulatory foundation should have enough flexibility to serve the modern commercial needs of our industry rather than frustrate collaboration and free economic choice while exhausting enforcement resources.

Marbet Lewis focuses her practice on the laws governing the alcohol industry and the manufacture, importation, and sale of alcohol beverage products. She represents clients in all aspects of alcohol business licensing, national alcohol licensee mergers and acquisitions, negotiation of asset purchase agreements and required alcohol use provisions, license transfers and licensing due diligence, trade practices, contracting between industry members, industry member relationships, alcohol product advertising and review of marketing agreements, importation agreements, label approvals, and regulatory compliance guidance.

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hey say everything’s big in Texas, and arriving at Ironroot Republic Distilling, you’ll be inclined to agree. Helmed by Robert and Jonathan Likarish, two brothers raised in Texas, and their mom Marcia Likarish, Ironroot Republic Distilling is a strange, wonderful combination of European-style technique and Texas attitude. They just started distilling three years ago, but the scope of the facility—a three-and-a-half acre lot that was once a boat dealership—says loud and clear that these guys have their sights set on something big. There’s something predestined about the Likarish brothers’ love for distilling. Their family has been in the copper industry for years—their dad was a metallurgical engineer—so when they visited their first distillery back in college (Washington State’s Dry Fly), it flipped a switch. “That was the starting point in our minds that you could actually make your own liquor,” says Jonathan. “But then, we fell in love with the copper. So we knew at that point, we’d eventually be in the distilling business.” Not long after, the Likarish brothers decided it was finally time to take the plunge. Trouble was, they weren’t alone. In 2013, competition for stills was fierce. They’d originally ordered a still from Forsythe in Scotland, but a few weeks later they got a sheepish phone call that Edrington Group had bought up all of Forsythe’s capacity for the next two years, and that theirs couldn’t be manufactured after all. Discouraged, they called Vendome. Last they’d checked, the American still


manufacturer had a waiting list at least two years long. But it turned out that the Likarishes had inadvertently ended up putting themselves on the waiting list during that first call, and their still was scheduled for production in just two months. Surprised, delighted, the Likarishes put down their deposit. Ironroot Republic makes a wide range of spirits, including vodka, gin, moonshine, brandy, and several different award winning whiskeys, including Harbinger Bourbon Whiskey & Hubris Corn Whiskey, many incorporating locally grown grain. “We started more on the wine end,” explains Jonathan. “We were into Armagnac, Cognac—whiskey as well—but it wasn’t just whiskey. That’s a little different. A lot of our distilling brethren come from a brewing background.” That wine-influenced approach is evident in Ironroot Republic’s approach to warehousing and maturation. Full size barrels are the norm here, and unlike many American whiskey producers, they do everything they can to keep the warehouse temperatures down and the humidity up, including insulating the warehouse with foam and spreading water on the floor to keep the air more humid. “We don’t want it to get up to 140 degrees in here,” says Robert. “That’s the opposite of what we want. We’re more oak averse. Coming from the brandy tradition, the cellar has very slow oak introduction. So for us, with our non-bourbons, we practice elevage, switching from newer casks to older and older barrels as the spirit gets older.”

Jonathan gestures to a few smaller barrels that dot the warehouse. “Smaller barrels are reserved for experimental batches,” he explains, like a series of bourbons made with different rye varieties grown in Oklahoma. “We’ve got purple corn, green Oaxacan corn, black Aztec corn, Bloody Butcher corn, flint corn, this beautiful Magic Manna corn—off the still it smells like sugar cookies,” says Robert. “For us, if you’re not trying new things every year, you’re staying pretty stagnant. And when you’re playing around in the whiskey geek world, they want to know what’s coming next.” Like many craft distillers, the Likarish brothers have had help come from unlikely places. Their boiler inspector, Jim Jake, moonlights as a grain farmer, and gave them a recipe for some of the original moonshine distilled in the Denison area generations ago. Their real estate agent heard about their property at church (where so much good Texas networking happens) before it hit the market, and they got a great deal on the transaction. Local farmers have been thrilled to collaborate with Ironroot Republic by supplying custom-grown grain. “The farmers really, really started embracing it,” says Robert “We’ve got standing offers from five or six different people: ‘Do you want something different grown here? Tell us what you want.’” They’re even working on bringing back a barley variety bred right there in Texas, although the largest seed quantity they can find is just 75 seeds. “I have no idea what it tastes like,” says John “But it would be really cool to have some guys raise some.” But perhaps the most amazing, WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM

improbable piece of good luck came via a contact from the distillery’s info page. Just a few days before Christmas in 2015, Jonathan got a short message from a company called Berry Bros. & Rudd, an English spirits retailer, saying they were looking for some Texas whiskeys, and could Ironroot Republic please send a sample? “This looks legit enough,” Jonathan thought, and forwarded it to Robert. Then he Googled “Berry Brothers & Rudd” and learned they were the oldest wine and


spirits merchant in England. Founded in 1698, Berry Bros. & Rudd still occupies their original building near St. James Palace. Over the last three centuries, Berry Bros. & Rudd has sold drinks to generations of British royalty, hosted Napoleon in their cellars, lost 69 cases of wine and spirits with the Titanic, and rebuilt from bombings during World War II. Ironroot hadn’t even released a whiskey yet, and weren’t planning to anytime soon. But they bit the bullet and sent a few

samples of not-quite-one-year-old whiskey across the Atlantic. Within 24 hours of getting the samples, Berry Brothers & Rudd called the Likarishes, told them their samples were fantastic, and asked to order six barrels. “Are you punking me?” Robert thought. But they weren’t. It turns out that Berry Brothers & Rudd had some obscure ties to Texas. In 1842, the fledgling country of Texas established an embassy in London. They didn’t have a lot of cash, so the


building they leased ended up being too far from the capital to do any good. So Texas decided to create a legation—a kind of embassy extension—in the rented second floor of the Berry Bros. & Rudd building. Three years later, Texas became part of the United States, and they closed their shortlived embassy and its legation. But now, more than 150 years later, Berry Brothers & Rudd decided it would be the right time to launch a whiskey that commemorated that historic episode. So

they trademarked a new name—Texas Legation—and Ironroot Republic was exactly the supplier they were looking for. The first batch, a blending of six barrels, has nearly sold out, and the second batch has quintupled in size. Robert and Jonathan are thrilled that people enjoy drinking their whiskey across the pond, but they haven’t let the international success go to their heads. At Ironroot Republic, that quintessentially American DIY ethic is still alive and

well. Jonathan recently designed a small secondary still for tinkering with other products, then had it contract produced by a manufacturer on the East Coast. Unsatisfied, he drove down to Walmart, bought a tea jug, and rejiggered it as a secondary condenser. “I painted it silver so it matched,” laughs Jonathan. “Texas.”

Ironroot Republic Distilling is located in Denison, TX. For more information visit ironrootrepublic.com or call (903) 337-0495.

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The American Distilling Institute …providing support & resources to craft distillers since 2003. ADI E-Newsletter Industry news weekly, every Wednesday. Over 10,000 subscribers. sign up with diane@distilling.com

ADI Forum Network, buy, sell, share information on technique, marketing, safety, equipment… adiforums.com Distiller ™

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A publica tion of the ng Institu

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The Distille of Marylandries Washington & , DC

Vol. 12 issue 3

TTB Revamps Labeling Requi rements


As Went Beer, So Goes Spirit s Pay to Play and the Impac Cocktail Culturt on e

2016-17 Distiller cover

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12/22/16 8:06 AM

Distiller magazine The Voice of Craft Distilling Tri-annually: Summer, Fall, Winter distilling.com/publications/distiller-magazine/

Craft Spirits Conference & Expo Annually, every April. distilling.com/events/annual-spirits-conference/

Judging of Craft Spirits Annually, every February distilling.com/events/judging/

Hands-On Workshops From first-time introductions to master classes in producing, packaging, and marketing craft-distilled spirits distilling.com/events/distilling-workshops/

Annual Distillers’ Resource Directory The most comprehensive compilation of DSP’s and resources in the industry. distilling.com/publications/adi-distillers-resource-directory/ The Distiller’s Guide to Rum


from the introduction…

A Whisky Lover’s


ding and packaging design for craft spirits. designing successful brands to share best lishing your brand strategy, selecting the rcing materials. Distributors, bar owners dering which brands to carry, and successights from the front lines. ers, designers and spirit lovers. Over 150 f excellence in packaging. It offers expert looking to create a premium brand that

The Distiller’s Guide to

RUM by

Ian Smiley, Eric Watson & Michael Delevante With Contributions by

Eric Zandona and Martin Cate

ard, CA, whitemulepress.com

White Mule Press Hayward, CA whitemulepress.com

This book was inspired by the recent popularity of rum among the cocktail circles, and by the advent of so many new rum distilleries in North America. Rum is now being made in micro-distilleries all over the United States, including a return to the original epicenter of rum distilling, Newport, Rhode Island. At the time of the American Revolution, there were about 30 rum distilleries in Rhode Island, 22 of which were in Newport alone, and the rum produced there was revered by some as the best in the world. The last Rhode Island rum distillery of that era closed in the 1840s. But, now they are coming back and not only in Rhode Island, but in all of New England, and across the United States and Canada.

White Mule Press Niche Books for Lovers of Spirits Thirty titles and growing. whitemulepress.com

In this book, you’ll read about the story of rum and how it is made, written by the well-known distillery expert, Michael Delevante. The book also details the ingredients, equipment, and processes used to make rum. You will learn about the lubricious effects of barrel aging, and the various ways that it is done. And, there is a chapter that explains step-by-step how to make a 155-gallon batch of rum mash and how to distill and age it, written by Ian Smiley.This chapter gives a new micro-distillery a proven recipe and process to get a running start in producing their first product. There is also a chapter on the batch distillation of rum using a hybrid batch distillation system comprised of a pot still and a rectification column written by Eric Watson of AlBevCon.

Ted Bruning

PO Box 577 Hayward CA 94541 (510) 886-7418



o far enough back in the life story of any distilled spirit, and you’ll find sugar. Without it, there’s no alcohol, and without alcohol…well, let’s not waste any time contemplating that idea. Most spirits are made from one of three different sugar sources: grain (whiskey, many vodkas), cane (rum), or fruit (brandy). There are a few exceptions, like potato WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM  

vodka, but until recently, it was a pretty safe bet that the liquor in your cocktail came from one of those three substrates. But there is another, buzzy sugar source on the scene: honey. For several thousand years, humans have been fermenting diluted honey into a wine-like beverage called mead, but the use of honey as a distilling substrate is a

relatively new invention. “Traditionally, people didn’t make spirit from honey,” says Derrick Mancini, owner and manager of Quincy Street Distillery in Riverside, Illinois. “It would be too scarce a source of sugar, it’s expensive, and it was hard to find in quantity.” He says the only place he’s found any historical record of honey being used with regularity for the production


of distilled spirits is the Canary Islands, a rocky group of islands off the coast of North Africa with almost no other sources of natural sugar. There’s a lot to love about distilling with honey, as well as some notable drawbacks. It’s flavorful, natural, and the byproduct of an essential component of sustainable agriculture. For many distillers, it’s also relatively easy to find a local honey supplier. Unfortunately, it can also be more expensive than other sugar sources, can pose some challenges from a processing perspective, and sometimes confounds the TTB. But despite those drawbacks, several trailblazing producers are tinkering with honey in the distillery—and consumers are taking note.

TRAILBLAZING DISTILLERIES When Derrick founded Quincy Street in 2012, he knew he was interested in experimenting with honey in the distillery. In college, he’d been an avid mead maker, even contemplating opening a meadery on Washington State’s Long Beach Peninsula at one point. But life had other plans, and his dream morphed from making mead in the Northwest to making spirits just outside of Chicago, Illinois. His fascination with honey hadn’t waned, so he made a few test batches of a rum-like spirit made entirely from honey on Quincy Street’s hybrid copper pot still. “I had friends taste things, and everyone commented on the honey spirit having a very unusual aroma and flavor. Even though it was very rum-like, a lot of people said it was unique and interesting, and I thought it was, too.” In further experiments, he found that the variety of honey he used made a major impact on the flavor of the resulting distillate. “Certain honeys make terrible spirit,” says Derrick. “For example, we found that we could not make a good spirit from clover honey.” Eventually, he found that goldenrod honey, sourced from a local supplier, produced the flavor profile he was looking for. Derick says that it took some trial and error to get the fermentation and distillation


process just right. After diluting the honey with water (honey’s original gravity is so high that no microorganisms can survive), they use a proprietary yeast blend for fermentation. It’s distilled in a single pass, using a carefully developed program and cut points. The resulting product, Prairie Sunshine, is now one of Quincy Street’s flagship products, inspiring product extensions like Persimmon & Honey, Prairie Sunshine made with honey and wild-gathered persimmons; Prairie Pumpkin, produced from honey and pumpkins; and Prairie Moonshine, made from a combination of corn and honey. They’ve even experimented with aging Prairie Sunshine, although they’ve found that too much time in the barrel masks the honeyed aromas that make the spirit so appealing to begin with. Quincy Street Distillery isn’t the only distillery using honey as a basis to make liqueurs and infusions. The Hardware Distillery Company on the shores of Washington State’s Hood Canal makes a product called Bee’s Knees, an 80% honey/20% fruit distillate. They make several versions using a variety of different fruits, including cherries, raspberries, figs, plums, and peaches. Jan Morris, Co-owner of The Hardware Distillery, says they like the results they get from buckwheat honey, a very dark honey with an intensely grassy flavor. “It ferments really, really well,” says Jan. “It seems like it takes other honeys longer. It surprised us that there was a honey that fermented more quickly.” At The Hardware Distillery, fermentation takes three to four weeks (not exactly short by grain distillers’ standards), and relies on two different kinds of yeast and two different yeast nutrients. To the east, Caledonia Spirits in Hardwick, Vermont, is taking a different approach. One of their flagship products, Barr Hill Vodka, is a 100% honey vodka made from Northeastern honey distilled on a continuous column still. Their other releases, Barr Hill Gin and Tomcat, a barrel-rested gin, are slightly sweetened with the same honey. Honey might seem like an odd choice for the production of vodka, which often lacks

much in the way of ingredient character, but Ryan Christiansen, owner and head distiller at Caledonia Spirits, says the aroma of honey comes through loud and clear in the final product. “It’s like walking into a field of wildflowers,” he says. “When you taste it, you’re not tasting honey, but you’re smelling honey.” Consumer response to honey spirits has been positive. Ryan says Caledonia Spirits struggles to keep Barr Hill Vodka in stock, despite its premium price point. Cardinal Spirits in Bloomington, Indiana, recently produced a Honey Schnapps liqueur made from honey produced by 40 family beehives and fermented using yeast strains cultivated from the bodies of bees by a yeast professor at Indiana University—the 100 cases produced sold out in less than a week.

THINGS TO CONSIDER For honey spirit producers, sourcing is an important first step. Many, including Quincy Street and Caledonia Spirits, cite a longstanding relationship with one honey producer as key to their success. Finding a local source also makes it possible to develop regional specializations. While Derrick uses only goldenrod honey, he says that the right honey choice may depend on location. “In different regions, there are different wildflowers that will be suitable,” he says “Once you go south, you have to look for other honeys—tupelo, maybe. Or go north, and you have to switch again. So it become a very regional thing if you’re using wildflower honey.” Cost is also a major factor for distillers to consider. There’s no getting around the fact that honey is expensive, typically between $1 and $3 per pound in bulk, with availability and pricing varying depending on the variety of honey and the season. Processing is also a consideration. Honey is more viscous than almost any other substance used in the distillery, and cool temperatures can trigger crystallization, so the right storage conditions and equipment to move, mix, and store it are essential. “Back in 2011, I used a shovel and a drill with a paint paddle,” says Ryan. “My first WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM

few work days were shoveling honey. I live in Vermont, I’m no stranger to shoveling snow, and shoveling honey is far worse. Now, we keep it raw, we store it in the warmest room we have to soften it a bit, and we have an amazing collection of heavy duty pumps.” Finally, a core challenge facing all honey spirit makers is categorization. The Federal Distilled Spirits Standards of Identity does not recognize spirits made from fermented honey, so for now, most honey spirits are marketed as a Distilled Specialty Spirit. “The TTB doesn’t have rules on the books for this stuff, so they have to make judgment calls, which is never good,” says Adam. “We wanted to call it spirit distilled from honey and sweetened with raw honey, but they required us to call it ‘spirit distilled from honey with added honey flavor,’” even though that “honey flavor” was simply honey. Some honey distillers are interested in working together to expand consumer understanding of honey spirits and petition the government to create a new category that would better represent them. “I’d love to get


all the different honey spirit guys together,” says Derrick. “We want to get the TTB to create a new designation. That’s very hard to do, but one thing that makes it possible to go after, [the] E.U. created the category, and when another large market creates a category, you have a shot at doing it.”

INDUSTRY SUPPORT The honey spirit guys might not have to go it totally alone. Recently, the National Honey Board took a volumetric survey to find out what kinds of businesses were buying honey as an ingredient. It turned out that distillers were a much bigger segment of the honey market than anybody thought, ranking as the sixth-largest end user of honey from an ingredient perspective. “It floored us,” says Keith Seiz, Ingredient Marketing Representative at the National Honey Board. “We haven’t focused on the [spirits] market that much from an ingredient standpoint, but we went into it full bore this year. We just finished one research study about the use of honey in

spirits, general best practices, and are embarking on another one where we’re using sensory panel analysis.” Both studies are expected to culminate in the release of best practices and results white papers that will be released to the industry, beginning in October of 2017. The Board also has technical staff available for assistance, ready to answer distillers’ questions and help connect potential end users with the suppliers and information they need to bring honey into the distillery. Find out more on their website, www.honey.com. And for distillers ready to jump headfirst on the honey train, this fall, the National Honey Board is hosting a distillers’ summit in Nashville, Tennessee. Modeled on past summits for the baking and brewing industries, the event will feature technical presentations, honey spirit tastings, and general knowledge sharing. “We’re not selling a product,” says Keith. “It’s all about collaboration and innovation, and talking about this really cool ingredient.”



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The SPIRIT of the


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uch has been written about flavor perception, TASTE what we perceive in the mouth. spanning the range from popular media to Nobel Prize-winning studies. We are rightly interested in how AROMA what we perceive in the nose. we perceive our chemical environment and, in the case of foods and drinks, we have several motivations to evaluate what we are ingesting. For instance, our taste perception FLAVOR the combination of taste and aroma. can be protective in the case of the potential presence of taste compounds are generally transported to taste buds through toxins, which is touted as an explanation for the sheer range saliva and have no volatility requirement. The combination of of bitterness receptors that we have. Additionally, our enjoyment or taste and aroma we refer to here as flavor. There are other, related otherwise of foods and drinks substantially affects what we eat and perceptions, such as mouthfeel, astringency and pain. We will drink in the future. Most of us at some time or another have had an come back to astringency and pain perception later in the context unfortunate experience with a food or drink, whether it is due to, of distilled spirits. say, food poisoning, or over-refreshment. Mechanistically, the perception of aromas and of the bitter, sweet In any case such experiences commonly result in subsequent and umami tastes are surprisingly similar. In all of these cases the avoidance of that specific food or drink. It is interesting to speculate flavor molecule binds to specific proteins, known as a G-proteins. as to why this. One theory is that, together with oxygen, what we These proteins penetrate a lipid cell membrane and protrude both eat and drink ultimately becomes part of us. Perhaps there is a into and out of the taste and epithelial cells. So when the “right” subconscious response to substances that do us harm to the extent flavor molecule interacts with the “right” G-protein on the outside that it can even override rational thought? On the other hand, we of the cell, the protein changes shape, which induces a lot of action are likely to seek to repeat pleasurable sensory experiences, at least inside the cell, resulting in a signal being sent to the brain and unless there is a delayed perception of harm associated with such ultimately resulting in flavor perception. It occurs to me that this products. is a clever evolutionary trick. The flavor compounds do not need In the context of taste perception, there are some definitions to breach any cell membranes, thus reducing the risk of toxicity. to be aware of here. Three terms are often confused. Here, when This is not the case for salt and sour (acid) perception, where it we refer to taste, we restrict the term to what we perceive in the seems that salts such as sodium, and protons, (the latter are partly mouth. This then refers to sweet, bitter, umami (savory), sour and responsible for sour perception), make their way into cells and salt. Aroma is what we perceive in the nose, either orthonasally (ie effect a more direct signaling to the brain. sniffing) or retronasally, where flavors enter the nose via the back So the question is, how do we distinguish between different of the throat by evaporation from the mouth. Thus, aromas must be flavors? By way of example, we can consider olfactory receptors. sufficiently volatile to make it to the epithelia in the nose, whereas WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM  


While the human genome can, in principle, express around 1,000 olfactory receptors, in fact, typically most humans have around 350 olfactory receptors expressed. Given that it is generally considered that humans can detect many thousands of aromas, it seems that there is not one receptor for each aroma. The current thinking is that an aroma molecule interacts with a number of receptors and that it is this unique pattern that defines specific aromas of pure flavor compounds. By way of example, if each aroma-active compound interacts with an average of three receptors, then there are around 20 million combinations, more than enough to explain all of the aroma nuances that humans can perceive. We know that individuals vary enormously in their flavor assessment abilities. This can be due to training history, over- or under-expression of specific receptors, and even nasal geometry. If we lack a specific aroma-detecting ability, this is known as an anosmia, and it is likely that we all have some anosmic tendencies. Training can help individuals understand the strengths and weaknesses of their sensory repertoire. While we will not discuss training further here, it cannot be overemphasized as to how important rigorous training is when striving for reliable sensory evaluation. Poor data will lead to potentially wrong/bad decisions. Any producer of foods and drinks relies on sensory assessment both during production and of final products, as it is not feasible to pass product or work-in-progress by reliance on analytical methodology alone, no matter how sophisticated. For the distiller, nosing or tasting raw materials, such as water, yeast, and grains

can help to head off at least some potentially compromising negative flavors, reducing the risk of substandard product quality. Here though we will consider three spirit assessment scenarios commonly faced by the distiller:

»»Appraisal of NGS »»Evaluation of white spirits »»Evaluation of brown spirits When used, NGS plays a huge part in both the production and the final quality of the target product. As such, it is essential that NGS is thoroughly assessed before being used. It is unadvisable to nose and certainly to taste NGS as is. At around 95-96% ABV, the experience is likely to be, at the least, unpleasant. In common with the appraisal of other spirit products, NGS should be diluted to a suitable strength. The rule-of-thumb is to dilute distilled spirits to around 20-23% ABV (although products such as Cognac are often appraised at around 34% ABV). For NGS, this is a dilution of around one volume of spirit to four volumes of taint-free water. The rationale here is that dilution reduces the burn of the spirit which can mask its other potentially vital attributes. This burn is perceived by trigeminal or pain receptors (the same system that detects spicy food and carbonation). Sample dilution also helps to disrupt the ethanol clusters that are present at higher ethanol concentrations, which in themselves can trap flavor compounds. There are various sensory schemes that can be applied to the

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appraisal of NGS, but most if not all focus on the absence of negative flavors. One exception here is the positive flavor differences between neutral spirits from different commodities. Certainly in the Scotch whisky industry, where around 60% of the spirit produced is from grain, there is a consensus that NGS from maize is sweeter than its wheat counterpart. Any NGS that does not rate too highly in terms of quality can potentially still be employed, although it is perhaps wise to put it under total reflux in the presence of copper in the still prior to the production of a gin or vodka. Unlike NGS, white spirits are final products that, once approved, will go to the consumer. The major categories here are vodka and gin, although other products such as aquavits and absinthes can reasonably be included here too. As for NGS, dilution to around 2023% ABV is recommended, but here the distiller is looking for the presence of those positive attributes that define the brand, as well as ensuring the absence of flavor negatives. So both training and familiarity with the brand are essential prerequisites for reliable product assessment. Various approaches can be used here. For botanical spirits it is likely that the distiller would look for botanicalspecific attributes, not least as these can help distinguish the brand from its competition. Brown spirits have the additional complexity of non-volatile wood components being present, including sugars, tannins and Maillard reaction products. Earlier we mentioned astringency, which is a drying of the palate caused by the precipitation of salivary proteins out of saliva (think of a heavy red wine). This is induced by tannins

and is responsible for astringency in some brown spirits. So for brown spirits, there is more of a case for moving beyond nosing to taste evaluation, given the presence of a range of non-volatile species. Again, dilution to reduce the impact of ethanol burn is highly desirable, even though it may induce haze formation in nonchill filtered products, typically due to the precipitation of longchain fatty acids. There is a relatively new category of “brown spirits” derived from the exposure of white spirits such as gin to wood. Generally, these are aged for shorter periods of time than traditional brown spirits, but nonetheless are likely to become increasingly popular in the future. (Arguably the tequila and aged genever industries have been the most successful in marrying delicate spirits with wood maturation.) We need to develop our understanding of the flavor interactions in these novel category extensions. Despite advances in our understanding of the physiology of taste perception, we are still a long way from developing instrumental mimics of human perception. So, for the foreseeable future, as an industry we need to rely on sensory evaluation tools as an essential component of process and product management. Rigorous training and appropriate sample preparation are critical features for reliable sensory monitoring systems to improve the quality of sensory data.

Paul Hughes, Ph.D. is assistant professor of food science and technology at Oregon State University in Corvallis, OR. For more info visit www. oregonstate.edu or call (541) 737-4595.

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Sugar & Caramel Written by Luis Ayala

Sugar and caramel are two of the most common additives employed today in the blending of distilled beverages. Despite their popularity, very often these ingredients are exempt from being declared on the labels. In this article, we will explore the origins, pros and cons of using these additives and whether producers should disclose them or not.

Darker, Bolder and Brighter To fully understand why different fruits evolved into brightly-colored specimens when mature while others did not requires that we immerse ourselves in the fields of botany, genetics and chemistry. For the purpose of this article, suffice it to say that the intensity of the color of fruits tends to increase with their level of maturity, such that the ripest, sweetest fruits always have brighter, more attractive colors than their under-ripe counterparts. This phenomenon works to the plant’s advantage, as brightercolored fruits (those with higher levels of phytochemicals) can be seen from farther away than dimmer ones and, as a reward for those animals able to see them, the fruits have a richer and more nutritional content. The fruit consumers (animals and humans) then, in theory, ingest the fruits and seeds and deposit the latter in different places, allowing for the plant species to propagate and perpetuate itself. Under this scenario, it is easy to imagine how hundreds of WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM  

thousands of generational iterations of this cycle would result in highly-specialized plants and animals, programmed to take action based on the nutritional appearance of fruits. From an anthropological perspective, hunter-gatherers who encountered ripe fruit were rewarded with an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, electrolytes and easy-toburn energy in the form of simple sugars. Those humans who benefited — and survived — through their attraction to such fruits, passed on the predisposition (genetics) and traits (culture) to their descendants, thus strengthening a cycle that has shaped most of modern-day humanity. We see examples of this predisposition in everyday life. At the supermarket, we subconsciously are more attracted to the basket with the reddest strawberries, the greenest limes and the yellowest bananas. When looking at processed foods, the same interpretation applies: brighter, stronger and bolder colors are more attractive because they should be better.

Aged Spirits As the demand for the commercialization and transportation of distilled spirits increased, ship builders sought containers that were adequate for the task. Fortunately for us, coopers were skilled in both the construction of sailing ships and of barrels and thus the barrels became the container of choice for storage and shipment of these beverages. After weeks or months at sea, under the effects of the weather and the constant shaking of the ocean, the distilled spirits within the barrels would undergo a transformation centered around the flavors and colors extracted from the casks. It helps to think of this transformation as the process of steeping a cup of tea: simply replace the water with the distilled spirit and the teabag with the barrel. Based on this analogy, the hotter the climate (and thus the temperature of the water or distillate), the shortest the steeping time needed to extract flavor from the tea bag/ barrel. Also, the more agitation, like pulling


the requirements of different food and the teabag in and out of the cup or shaking can safely assume the practice existed long beverage producers: Caramel Color I the contents of the barrel due to the action before the publication of this booklet. of the ocean waves, the faster the extraction The book, which presents us with a (plain or spirit caramel), Caramel Color II of the tea flavors. fascinating window into the mercantile (caustic sulfite caramel), Caramel Color If a merchant had 100 identical barrels, world of that era, includes recipes for III (ammonia or beer caramel, bakers and filled with the same spirit on the same day, sugar-based caramel, for colors ranging confectioners caramel), and Caramel Color but shipped 50 across the ocean and kept from “light amber to a dark brown,” for red IV (sulfite-ammonia, soft drink caramel, or the other 50 in a dark, cool basement, color using beets and for Port-Wine color acid proof caramel). There are additional it is easy to see how upon arrival at their using rhatany (Krameria). names associated with these classes, destination, the contents of the 50 barrels As with all things commercial, the which often leads to confusion, so here is that were shipped would look darker and use of these new ingredients also set in an easy reference table: would have a higher level of wood extractives than their Parameter Class I – e150a Class II – e150b Class III – e150c Class IV – e150d basement-kept counterparts. But Color intensity* 0.01 - 0.12 0.06 - 0.10 0.08 - 0.36 0.10 - 0.60 once those shipped barrels were emptied (their contents sold) and Total Nitrogen (%) <0.1 <0.2 1.3 - 6.8 0.5 - 7.5 re-filled, even if they undertook the same journey as before, their Total Sulfur <0.3 1.0 - 3.5 <0.3 1.4 - 10 contents would not come out as * Defined as the absorbance of a 0.1% (w/v) solution of caramel color solids in water in a 1-cm cell at 610 nm. dark and rich as they did after their first voyage. Think of the impact of using the same teabag to make a second cup of tea: even if the temperature, shaking and steeping time are the same as for the first cup, the second (or any subsequent) cup will never have the same color or flavor as the first cup. If we wanted to, we could add a small amount of caramel to these latter cups to give them a color similar to that of the original cup, proving why caramel has found its way into many of the foods we consume regularly. It didn’t take long for astute merchants to realize that the darker products were better (easier to sell and more profitable) and this, more than anything else, propelled the beverage industry into the world of color manipulation.

Early works describing coloring It is very hard to say who started commercial exploration and exploitation of colors in beverages, but it stands to reason that when color manipulation proved efficient, other merchants would have reacted and adopted the practice as well. By 1860, there already existed a “Treatise on the Manufacture, Imitation, Adulteration and Reduction of Foreign Wines, Brandies, Gins and Rums” which was based upon the “French system” so we


motion the quest for stronger, cheaper, better alternatives, leading to a plethora of caramels and tinctures available to today’s producers. According to the American Association of Cereal Chemists, caramel color accounts for more than 80% (by weight) of all colorants added to foods and beverages. Currently, annual global consumption of caramel exceeds 200,000 tons!

Types of Caramel Those new to the world of caramel are quickly surprised to learn that there are a lot of different types of caramels. Also, those who tend to criticize caramel tend to do so in general, often times because they’ve read articles that do not differentiate between the types. If you start with granulated white sugar in a saucepan and heat it up on the stove, you will see that the sugar starts to melt and that, if you continue applying heat to it, the clear syrup starts to change colors, becoming darker and darker with time. This caramel is known as burnt sugar or caramelized sugar and is perhaps what most people think of when they hear the word caramel. There are, in fact, four distinct types of caramel color to satisfy

In addition to their varying coloring intensities (technically their “tinctorial power”), the listed caramels have different molecular structures, with different electrical charges that make some of them better than others in specific situations. In general, Caramel Class I is used in high proof spirits, Class II in high proof spirits with high oak extracts, Class III in beer, gravies, mixes and sauces and Class IV in soft drinks and other food products. But the role of caramel in beverages goes beyond its ability to impart color. The Pepsi-Cola Company, for example, filed a caramel patent in 1971, not because of its coloring properties, but as an emulsifying agent that would help them incorporate non-water-soluble ingredients that would otherwise come out of solution (U.S. Patent No. 3,622,343). Coloring of spirits is not limited to simpler beverages: if you are a Scotch Whisky drinker and believe single malts do not have caramel, please skip the rest of this paragraph! According to The Scotch Whisky Regulation of 2009 producers can use "plain caramel" (E150a), although the EU laws permit the use of "spirit caramel", which is not specifically defined and may include any of the other types. Most other distillate regulations (if they even exist) allow for the use of all WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM

If you decide to use caramel, determine which type you want to use and be prepared to explain why. the caramel types outright. And beware, molasses contain caramel. I’ve been told by some producers that they use molasses instead of caramel to darken their distillates, this way — they claim — they can tell consumers that their products are “caramel-free.” If you think about it, freshly-pressed sugarcane juice is not dark, it only becomes brown/black after a considerable amount of heat has been applied to it. Remember the sugar and heat experiment from the beginning of the article?

having to declare it on the label (the list includes Brandy, Canadian Whisky, Irish Whisky, Rum and Whiskies). In most cases, the regulations stipulate that the coloring ingredient, combined with other approved blending and flavoring materials, does not exceed 2.5% by volume of the finished product. This explains why many producers are interested in more powerful/concentrated additives, which allow them to add more flavors and color to their beverages without exceeding this regulatory threshold.

U.S. Government Requirements

Evaluating the Objections

Since most of our readership is USAbased, this article focuses primarily on the American regulations, but these are closely mirrored by many other countries. In the United States the specifications for caramel color are found in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Title 21, Section 73.85. Furthermore, it is listed as Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) as a general-purpose food additive in CFR 21, Section 182.1235. The Beverage Alcohol Manual summarizes much wordier texts found in the Code of Federal Regulations, Parts 5 (Labeling and Advertising of Distilled Spirits) and 16 (Alcoholic Beverages Health Warning Statement). Everyone who is involved or plans to be involved in the production or marketing of alcoholic beverages in the USA should have a copy of this manual. A quick look at Chapter 7 (Coloring/Flavoring/ Blending Materials) indicates which spirits can have Caramel, for example, without

We live in the age of easy access to information and of opinion-sharing, so when something is thought to be bad, social networks are quickly buzzing with commentary and plans of action. Following is a short list of objections or obstacles that all producers should be aware of:


Caramel in beverages, especially carbonated ones, has been the topic of much discussion. The notion is that consumption of too much caramel causes cancer and a plethora of additional maladies.


Added sugar in spirits (often permitted within the same limits as caramel, without requiring label disclosure) is another subject that is attracting a lot of attention among certain consumer groups. Here their concerns are dual: either sugar is being added to cover up bad quality

distillates or it is being added to make them more appealing to unsuspecting audiences who, like the huntergatherers of yesteryear, are naturally inclined to prefer sweetness (ripeness) over dryness. Regardless of the reason for it to be added, some consumers are also outraged that the added sugar is not disclosed on the labels. As you can imagine, if a producer uses both sugar and caramel, they may put themselves in a tough position, especially if they haven’t first developed a communication strategy to efficiently deal with inquiries from consumers, distributors or the media.

The Sweet Spirits’ Dilemma Anyone with a basic understanding of fermentation and distillation knows that sugars are converted into alcohol and even if the fermentation is incomplete, residual sugars are left behind in the spent wash when the alcohol is distilled. Average consumers, however, do not have a grasp on these basic concepts and think that 80-proof vodka, for example, has fewer calories than 80-proof rum or moonshine (just two examples). One reason behind this belief is that vodka is fairly inodorous and thus it is assumed to be insipid, while most other spirits have aromas from their fermented sources (grains, fruits, sugarcane, etc.). In nature, most things that smell sweet are actually sweet, yet another way fruits have managed to attract the attention of

Brandy Bourbon Calories in 1 ounce of distillate at 80-Proof, without additives



Additional calories per ounce if the distillate has 10 grams of sugar per litter


Additional calories per ounce if the distillate has 20 grams of sugar per litter








seed-disseminating consumers. So it is no wonder that when someone smells a fruit or sugarcane distillate, with aromatic traces of their original sweetness, that person could assume that the distillate will, in fact, be sweet. The shock comes when

they taste the spirit and their taste buds are disappointed in the lack of sweetness depth (because all sugars were converted into alcohol). For these spirits, adding sweetness (sugar, fructose, etc.) after distillation is a perfect example of restoring

the natural organoleptic balance expected by the consumer. The question is whether these additions should be declared and how they should be explained and justified.

So what should YOU do? Knowledge is power. The information in this article should put you in a better position to make decisions regarding sugar and caramel in your products. If you decide to use caramel, determine which type you want to use and be prepared to explain why. Don’t lie about not using caramel: the truth is a simple lab analysis away. Same with sugar: be prepared to explain why you are using it and what its impact is on the flavor and on the overall caloric value of the product. One way to overcome the objection that sugar is being added to the spirit to “cover imperfection” is to offer (at the distillery’s


tasting room, for example), a version that is unsweetened, so consumers can appreciate the spirit without the sugar. Explain to them during the process that the sugar is being added to bring the sweet dimension into balance with the other dimensions (alcohol congeners, acidity, bitterness from wood, etc.), since the original sweetness was converted into alcohol during fermentation. Another thought is to keep in mind how the product will be consumed by the

majority of the target consumers. If the product is designed to be primarily mixed with carbonated drinks, which are already darkened with caramel and sweetened with sugar, having a distilled spirit with additional caramel and sugar may cause the consumers’ palates to saturate quickly, forcing them to change to other products and thus causing the producer to lose out on additional income. Cheers!

Luis Ayala is an international rum consultant and broker of specialty aged rums. He is founder of The Rum University, Rum Central and Got Rum? magazine. Visit www.gotrum.com or email luis@gotrum.com for more information.







n 2013, Chris and Shanelle Montana learned they were expecting their first child. Most people would nest. The Montanas started a distillery. Chris, an avid homebrewer, had recently finished law school. In one of his classes, he’d learned about the Surly Bill, a piece of Minnesota legislation passed in 2011 that dropped craft distillery licensing fees from $30,000 to $1,000. After school, he took a job at a prominent local law firm, but between briefs and filings, the idea of distilling had taken root in his mind. When Du Nord Craft Spirits opened in 2013, the state laws were not particularly favorable. Distilleries couldn’t offer samples or sell bottles or cocktails, and nobody could buy alcohol on Sundays anywhere in the state. Their distillery was a purely production operation, and all of Du Nord’s products were sold through distribution, a very challenging way for small distilleries to build a brand and a business. “When we first started, and we knew this, there were no micro-distilleries. So there was no constituency to have changed this part of the three-tier system,” says Chris. But Chris and Shanelle had a notion they might be able to do something about that. Both had worked in politics, Chris as a congressional aide and Shanelle as a lobbyist, and they figured if anybody could change the legislative landscape, it was them. “We were foolish enough to say screw it, we’re going to get into this anyway, and we think we can change some laws and make it a little bit better,” says Chris. That gamble paid off. As the first president of the Minnesota Distillers’ Guild, Shanelle helped the industry achieve several critical milestones, including allowing onsite tasting, onsite cocktail rooms, bottle sales from the tasting room (375 ml bottles only, and just one per person per day, but as Shanelle says, “baby steps!”), and, most recently, the ability to sell alcohol on Sunday for the first time in Minnesota statehood. That’s all good news. But the Montanas didn’t start Du Nord because they wanted to work on legislation—they started it because they wanted to make spirits. Du Nord’s flagship products are Fitzgerald Gin, Formula No. 1 (named after Minnesota’s native son, F. Scott Fitzgerald) and L’etoile du Nord Vodka. Du Nord also produces two liqueurs: Apple du Nord, a spiced apple liqueur made with locally grown apples; and Café Frieda, a coffee liqueur made from organic, locally roasted coffee from nearby Peace Coffee. Fitzgerald Gin straddles the gap between London dry and American styles, pairing juniper with citrus, angelica, and licorice for a slightly sweet and deeply fragrant flavor. L’etoile du Nord Vodka, named for Minnesota’s state motto (“star of the north”), is made from sugar beets and corn, giving it a subtle vanilla flavor and creamy mouth feel. All of Du Nord’s spirits shine in cocktails—a good thing, because in 2015, Du Nord Spirits opened Minnesota’s first cocktail room, their answer to the now-ubiquitous craft beer taproom. Designed to be casual, welcoming, and kid-friendly—think food trucks, comfy sofas, and a shuffleboard table—the cocktail room has quickly



become a community destination, the kind of place where families can hang out on the weekends and friends can meet for a quick drink after work. According to state law, Du Nord can only serve cocktails made with their own spirits. Chris says having a cocktail room has been a fantastic opportunity to expand Du Nord’s business, build community relationships, and open the door for new, quirky products that would be hard to sell any other way. Recently, an Ethiopian neighbor dropped by the distillery with a bottle of areke, a traditional Ethiopian spirit made by women in clay pots over wood fires. Then, he said those magic words that are totally irresistible to craft distillers: “Try this. Can you make this?” “Unquestionably, we’re going to try to do this,” says Chris. “But will I just put areke out on the market? We have a decent African community here, a subset of them would know what it was, but most people would have no idea. So having a cocktail room is an opportunity to show people, this is what you do with this spirit. It’s an educational opportunity.” The distillery and cocktail room are located in south Minneapolis, just a few blocks from where Chris went to high school, but Du Nord Spirits has always maintained strong connections with Minnesota’s agricultural roots. Shanelle’s parents, Mike and Mona Evens, grow all of the non-GMO corn used in the distillery in Cold Spring, Minnesota, just a little more than an hour away from Minneapolis. “My dad hauls it down every couple weeks or so,” says Shanelle. “It’s been a huge bonding opportunity for Chris and my dad, because every couple of weeks they hang out.” Chris is also using rye grown by another local farmer to make a yet-to-be-released whiskey. Distillery waste goes to feed livestock. Even some of the distillery equipment has its roots in agriculture: several fermenters and one of DuNord’s two stills are made from decommissioned dairy tanks, an often inexpensive alternative to custom-produced distillery gear. Like many craft distillers of their cohort, DuNord is now grappling with the challenges posed by growth. They’re trying to decide if this is the time to transition from all-electric stills to steam, a move that would save money in the long run but represents a big shift from years prior. Growing capacity is also a concern. “I think our biggest problem is economies of scale,” says Shanelle. How do you raise that without a huge capital infusion? How do you become more efficient? How do you get to the point you can do bulk bottles?” But for the time being, Du Nord is celebrating its accomplishments. In four short years, they’ve changed the landscape of Minnesota craft spirits and expanded their business in every direction— including actively recruiting women and people of color to work in the distillery on the production floor, in the cocktail room, and behind the scenes. Plus, they’ve added another Montana to the world, with a third on the way. It’s a busy life, and a good one. “We have three, and at some point, four babies,” laughs Chris. “Because one of them is Du Nord.”

Du Nord Craft Spirits is located in Minneapolis, MN. For more info visit www.dunordcraftspirits.com or call (612) 799-9166. 68 




ws er state la posed und im s e ti re u a d w n the e Dela primarily o cluding th will focus rations, in o n the rp io o s m c s o u f fr c o ons erived This dis the operati nd laws d a to w g a n L ti n la o t. re orporati oration Ac General C iness Corp n a prior article, Model Bus I discussed the — tap family and friends for their ways that smaller spirits capital needs. But even for those that businesses can solicit and receive rely exclusively on unrelated third parties equity investments from third parties to fund their startup and growth, the relationship by selling shares of company stock or limited liability between investor and entrepreneur is essentially the same as the company membership interests. If the cash is received from a business relationship between our hypothetical mother and son. traditionally friendly party — the distiller’s mother, for example By accepting the investor’s cash, the entrepreneur will take on — then the business may be pleased to get more favorable terms obligations which are directed to the company and — by extension than might be available if the investment were obtained in a truly — the investor. So before he thanks his mother and endorses her arm’s-length transaction from someone who doesn’t necessarily check over to the purveyor of a shiny new dephlegmator, let’s spend care about the distiller’s well-being (let alone the possibility that if a few moments thinking about those new obligations, how our the new venture fails the distiller will end up moving back in with distiller will need to behave once his mother is a shareholder in his the investor). business and — more generally — the proper care and feeding of But even if the investment was received from his sweet and loving corporate stakeholders. mother, as soon as our hypothetical distiller deposits mom’s check Generally speaking, directors and officers of a corporation owe into the business’ account, his relationship with her has changed. “fiduciary” duties to the corporation itself. Fiduciary is a special For as soon as the funds clear she is no longer simply his mother. word, connoting a special kind of obligation. In fact, a fiduciary duty She is now a shareholder in his corporation, a member in his LLC, is generally the highest level of obligation imposed under principles or a creditor of his business. In a very real sense, she is now his of corporate or agency law. Over centuries of jurisprudence, the boss. This may represent a fundamental shift in the character of specific obligations owed by directors and officers have been broadly their interactions. categorized in the U.S. as falling within two basic categories of Of course not all small businesses — let alone small distilleries fiduciary duty: the duty of care and the duty of loyalty.




i THE DUTY OF CARE. Under the law, our hypothetical distiller — who we presume for purposes of this article is a director and an officer of the corporation — owes a duty of care to the company. This means that the law requires him to manage the business with the same level of attention and care that a reasonably prudent person would exercise in a similar situation. You could be excused for asking whether a reasonably prudent person would choose to open a distillery in the first place, but that is a different issue. Once the company has been formed, this is the level of care he must exercise. To satisfy his duty of care, our distiller needs to be certain that he keeps himself informed about all material aspects of the business. This means more than simply knowing how to separate the heads, hearts and tails. It means also that he needs to understand the projected cash flows, distribution strategy and risks of the business. He needs to draft a business plan and manage the business to that plan. Put less analytically, he needs to worry about and sweat the small stuff. This doesn’t mean that our distiller must be independently omniscient in order to fulfill his duty. Rather, the law allows him to meet his duty of care by asking questions of and relying on experts so long as he reasonably believes they are in fact experts and has no reason to doubt their answers. So if our distiller isn’t great with accounting and spreadsheets, he can still meet his duty of care with respect to managing the company’s financial affairs by bringing in a chief financial officer, accountant or bookkeeper,

letting that person do their work, asking them appropriate questions and then managing the business accordingly. Sometimes, managing the operation prudently means looking into and handling unpleasant business. Directors have an obligation to do this and cannot simply ignore problems as they arise. Rather, they must take initiative, investigate when things go awry within the business and take appropriate corrective action. This can mean making hard decisions ranging from the necessity of going out and looking for additional capital (meaning, perhaps, that his mother has a smaller ownership stake in the business) to firing a troublesome employee (even if a friend or relative) to closing the doors if it has become clear that the business is failing and there is no realistic prospect of turning things around. Of course, if our distiller really makes his mother angry with the way he runs the business, he may have to prove in court that he met his duty of care.* That is where process becomes important. It isn’t enough for our distiller to meet his duty of care, he needs to be able to show that he did so. When our distiller is acting as a corporate director, this means having regular board meetings and keeping a record of the proceedings. Even if those board meetings are held at his breakfast table, he needs to keep accurate minutes. And when the meeting includes significant decisions (e.g., whether to spend the business’ precious cash to buy a second still even though he isn’t yet able to quickly sell everything produced with the first) the minutes need to reflect a deliberative decision-making process.

to sue a son While it is certainly unusual for a mother *over business matters, it does in fact happen with alarming eated in my childhood frequency — proving out the maxim oft rep happy.” home: “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody 70 

THE DUTY OF LOYALTY. A director’s or officer’s second general fiduciary duty is the duty of loyalty. Put simply, this obligation requires the director or officer (i.e., the fiduciary) to put the interests of the business ahead of his own interests. The duty of loyalty will require our distiller to avoid engaging in self-dealing. So, for example, he should not take action as a director to set the salary that the company pays him. If possible, he should instead allow other directors of the company (who are not employees) to determine the amount of his compensation. Similarly, our distiller should avoid any situation in which he takes personal advantage of a benefit or opportunity that rightfully belongs to the company. This means that if he comes up with an idea for a new brand of spirit, our distiller can’t simply form a new company and pursue the opportunity. He must bring the opportunity to the attention of the existing company’s board of directors and give the company the chance to pursue it. Only if the opportunity is disclosed to the board and the company decides not to proceed can he then move forward independently without violating his duty of loyalty. The duty of loyalty also requires our distiller to act in good faith, disclosing any conflicts of interest between himself and the company, and abstaining from board decisions on those items. Such conflicts aren’t limited to items like determination of our distiller’s salary. Rather, they can surface in connection with myriad business decisions. Suppose, for example, that the distillery wants to open a new tasting room and is looking for a good location. Further suppose that our distiller knows of some available commercial space in the general neighborhood in which the distillery wants to expand. The property is priced at an above-market rate, but the landlord just so happens to be someone in which our distiller has a romantic interest. If he can get the company to lease the space, our distiller figures he might have a shot at getting a date with the landlord. What should our distiller do? If the company has taken in outside equity investment, the distiller can certainly bring the potential lease opportunity to the attention of the company. But in order to fulfill his duty of loyalty, he probably needs to disclose also to the board of directors that he has a romantic interest (albeit unrequited)


in the landlord. And if the board (with our distiller abstaining from the vote) nevertheless approves the company’s entry into the lease in full knowledge that it is at an abovemarket rate, then the decision by the company to enter into the lease will likely be hard for a shareholder to challenge even if our distiller actually scores the date with the attractive landlord. Note that our distiller’s abstention from the vote on the lease is important because the duty of good faith requires not only disclosure of conflicts of interest, but also that directors act with the purpose of advancing the interest of the company. Clearly, our distiller’s motives in this scenario may have been less than pure. But if he discloses the conflict and abstains from voting on the matter, he has not in fact taken any action with respect to the lease and does not appear to have violated his duty. The duty of care also imposes an obligation of confidentiality. One of the delightful aspects of the craft distilling ecosystem is the amount of sharing that takes place among the participants. But that sharing — which is certainly admirable in many situations — must take a back seat to a director’s duty to keep confidential the secrets of the company itself. Those secrets might include items related to the production process, but in all fairness there is relatively little in distilling which isn’t widely known among the imbibing public and the industry as a whole. The more likely secrets relate to financial and strategic matters, like whether and when the company may seek to be acquired by or acquire a competitor. In the context of the current flurry of industry consolidation, failing to keep this kind of information confidential may have very real negative consequences on the company itself.




In the foregoing discussion, we’ve analyzed the duties of care and loyalty in the context of a corporation. But the duties have relevance also in the context of other business forms. If you’ve accepted equity investment (from your mother or otherwise) without having formed a corporation or limited liability company, you’re probably operating your business as a general partnership. In that circumstance, these duties exist in their strongest possible form and you must comply to avoid liability. Alternatively, you may have formed a limited liability company. If that is your chosen structure, you may — or may not — be required to comply with some or all of these duties. Whether you must comply will depend primarily on the law of the jurisdiction in which you formed your LLC as well as the language included in your LLC Operating Agreement. Generally speaking, some jurisdictions allow a waiver of significant components of these duties so long as the waiver is included in the Operating Agreement and the waiver does not extend to the point that it violates the controlling statute.

WHAT CHANGES WHEN YOU’RE RUNNING OUT OF CASH? Unfortunately, craft distillers — like most startups — are exceptionally good at running out of operating capital. So chances are pretty good that if you’re a small distillery, you’ve either nearly run out of cash before, you’re going to run out in the future or you’re currently looking at your bank statement and wondering how you’re keeping the business going. This is a really tough industry. From a legal standpoint, when a company becomes insolvent, the directors of the company may need to begin considering not only the interests of the shareholders but also the interests of the company’s creditors. This doesn’t mean that the directors owe the creditors a fiduciary duty; the duty runs to the company itself. But creditors of an insolvent corporation — as the rightful ultimate owners of whatever assets may actually exist since insolvency means that there is no equity in the equity holders’ interests (i.e., the shares are without value while the company is insolvent) may be viewed as stepping into the shoes of the

shareholders. So if our distiller convinced his mother to buy shares in his company, and then obtained a loan from some third party, his company’s insolvency means that he may need to consider that third party’s interests ahead of his mom’s interests — a challenging conversation at Thanksgiving to be sure. Note that it can be tricky to determine when a company actually becomes insolvent. Generally speaking, insolvency will be found when either the company cannot pay its debts as they come due in the ordinary course or has liabilities which are in excess of its assets. Of course, reasonable people can disagree over whether either assets on a balance sheet are fairly valued and businesses frequently find that they have liabilities that arise of which they were not previously aware. Because of these difficulties, a board of directors likely needs to begin considering the interests of the company’s creditors when the business is within the “zone of insolvency” — that dreary situation in which there is a reasonable probability that the corporation may be insolvent.




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If you’ve made it to the end of this discussion, you may well be asking why you need to comply. What benefit do you get if you meet your fiduciary duties? The short answer is that it becomes more difficult for one of your shareholders to sue you for something you’ve done. So if you’re certain that none of your shareholders are going to sue you (e.g., you’re the only shareholder or you sold shares to your mom but you’re convinced she won’t hire a lawyer), then you may be thinking you’ve wasted your time. Perhaps you’re right. But then again, considering that your business’ creditors can effectively step into the shoes of your shareholders if you breach your fiduciary duties and the corporation happens to be insolvent — perhaps you’re mistaken. By fulfilling their fiduciary duties to a corporation, directors get the benefit of one of the greatest features of our corporate law: the business judgment rule. Broadly stated, the business judgment rule holds that so long as the directors have fulfilled their fiduciary duties and a challenged decision by the board does not involve conflicts of interest, improper personal benefit or other obviously troubling impropriety, the court will not substitute its judgment for the judgment of the board. In other words, the court will respect the business judgment of the board. This means that you can be dead wrong in your corporate decision-making and, so long as you fulfilled your duty, you are unlikely to find legal liability. That’s a good thing. Of course, if you really are dead wrong in your decisionmaking and your mom loses her investment, it is possible that she will not follow this longstanding legal precedent and will indeed criticize your judgment. I can’t help you with that one. You’re going to need to sort that out on your own.

Brian B. DeFoe is a business lawyer at Lane Powell, where he focuses his practice on helping companies in the customer-facing industries of hospitality and retail. Brian can be reached at defoeb@lanepowell.com, via phone at (206) 223-7948, or on Twitter @BrianBDeFoe. Visit www.hoochlaw.com for more thoughts on spirits and the laws that govern them. This is intended to be a source of general information, not an opinion or legal advice on any specific situation, and does not create an attorney-client relationship with our readers. 72 




Our “drinks from around the world series” may have just hit peak weirdness. This story comes from our good neighbors to the north who appreciate a stiff drink, and know how to handle a little frostbite. As always, we don’t necessarily recommend you run out and try making these drinks on your own. Harry Haller is an independent consultant focused on working with sugarcane-based distilleries. He can be reached at 00harryhaller @gmail.com or (310) 933-6430.





n a small town in Iowa, Jeff and Laurie Quint are carrying on an old German family tradition, with a few American melting-pot twists thrown in for good measure. Opening Cedar Ridge in 2005 with a winery and Iowa’s first distillery since Prohibition, the Quints carry forward a family history in wine and spirits that traces back at least 10 generations to a stillthriving winery in Germany’s Mosel Valley. They started planting grape vines in 2003 and 2004, but the wine industry was already established in Iowa by then. So, according to Kolin Brighton, Cedar Ridge production manager, they said, “Let’s put in a distillery.” The Quints opened in Swisher, Iowa, starting with vodka, gin and


brandy, and things just grew from there. The company originally operated out of a 1,300-square-foot space rented from a liquor store, which is how Brighton became involved. “I was in college, so I was like, ‘I want to work at a liquor store, because they have an employee discount.’” During the Iowa flood of 2008, he said, “Both businesses took on six feet of water, so I helped come back and rebuild the liquor store a little bit, and then in ’09 Jeff just said, ‘I need a production guy.’” That was when the new facility was still under construction. He cleaned, filtered, ran lines, “then I picked up the winemaking art, and the distillation just sort of grew from there. I was the only employee in

production. We had one sales guy.” Disappointed that there was no bourbon being produced there in the heart of corn country, they decided to grow their own corn to produce Iowa’s first bourbon, released in 2010, and then moved on to single malt. Jeff had gone to Scotland “to get inspired to make single malt,” Brighton said. “He came back, gave us the recipe, gave us the techniques, and we started making single malt. Two years later, we tasted the barrels and it wasn’t what we wanted, so we figured out how to make it better, which is the finishing barrels,” he said. Since Cedar Ridge happens to make a variety of wines — 20,000 gallons a year — and brandies, the distillery has access to an impressive WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM

variety of used barrels. “We came up with a plan, we’re gonna take all of the single malt and put it into finishing barrels of some sort. We’re a winery, we make port, we make really good port … We also make brandies, and we’d just been selling these barrels. So we took our single malt and transferred it into these finishing barrels that other distilleries pay large amounts of money for.” Two years later, they started releasing those barrels, one at a time, starting with a port cask, an apple brandy barrel, a peated barrel. “We released a new single barrel of single malt out of a single finishing cask every month for 24 months. So we sold


24 barrels of single malt in two years, and the retailers got pissed. They said, ‘You’re sending us a new product every month. We can’t sell this.’” They revamped the program, ordering solera tanks in 2014 to blend the finishing barrels in and draw from, releasing their solera single malt four times a year. They have a set recipe for what goes into the whiskey solera tank, given the variety of barrel types available. “We filled it the first time, as soon as the tanks came in, and since then the tank’s never been empty,” Brighton said. “In Scotland, the Glenfiddich 15 is a solera blend. they don’t use finishing barrels,

though, they just take 15 year old whiskies that are good, and put them in, and they have the same system. They bottle out of it, they fill it back up, and the tank never goes empty. We took that a step further by using finishing barrels, so the tank is a recipe of X wine barrels, port, sauternes, cabernet, chardonnay, all that. It’s got a percentage of fruit brandy finishing barrels, so there are apple, grape and pear brandies that go into that. We have a wood finish, so we have Hungarian oak, French oak, some cherrywood occasionally. And then we use peated, also, so then the peat gives it a little Scotch-y backbone.” That recipe went into the solera tank the


first time, they waited six months and then bottled it. “It was pretty good,” he said, so they refilled it with the same recipe. “Batch two was even better, and batch three was even better. Every time we bottle out of it, there’s a little bit more complexity, a little bit more character, because that original batch is still in there.” The single malt recently won Best American Craft Whiskey at the NY World Wine & Spirits Competition, as well as a 95-point rating in Wine Enthusiast. “It’s good whiskey. It’s basically down to that recipe that we originally devised, and that tank over the years has made that a better product, because people that just take a


recipe and blend it and bottle it, they’re not getting the benefits of having all those whiskies together for years and years to develop in complexity.” They also have a dark rum solera tank. The rum goes into the tank when it hits three years, and they just draw off of it asneeded. The rules are the same, though, and they never draw the solera tanks down more than halfway. “If it goes empty, then it defeats the purpose of a solera. Then you have to start over,” he said. The distillery and winery are growing and thriving, with three barrel houses and a hybrid European still that can produce their whiskies and brandies, then

transition to gin or vodka. Cedar Ridge stays in touch with their roots, though; their original 33-gallon still is on display at their production facility. “I ran it one time on a batch of rum,” Brighton said, just to say he had used it. “During the flood they filled it with water, so it wouldn’t float away.” “This is kind of a relic, but we can’t get rid of it, because it was the first legal still in Iowa, ‘cause we were the first distillery, and this was our first still.”

Cedar Ridge Winery and Distillery is located in Swisher, IA. For more information visit www.crwine.com or call (319) 857-4300.


----------------------------------------------------BAIJIU --------------------------Getting to know

Written and Photographed by Margarett Waterbury


pirits literacy in the United States is at an all-time high. The number of casual drinkers who can bandy about concepts like barrel entry proof or debate the merits of pot versus column stills seems to be growing every day. But make an offhand remark about your favorite sauce aroma baijiu, and most spirits nerds still draw a blank. Baijiu, pronounced “by-joe,” is a Chinese spirit distilled from grains. The term baijiu is a broad category similar to whiskey, and different types of baijiu can be as different from each other as Kentucky bourbon is to Islay single malt. It is also the biggest spirits category in the world in terms of volume as well as dollar value. China’s biggest baijiu brand, Kweichow Moutai, is the most valuable spirits brand in the world, surpassing even Diageo. During the first quarter of 2017, a time when many Chinese gift and enjoy baijiu to celebrate the new year, Moutai sold $1.8 billion worth of baijiu, pushing its market capitalization to $65.4 billion. If baijiu is such big business, why don’t most Americans know anything about it? Explanations include America’s challenging relationship with China, a dearth of English-language books and resources on the topic, and ex-pat horror stories about baijiu’s famously polarizing flavor profile. “Baijiu is not a new spirit in this country,” says Yuan Liu, senior vice president of business development at CNS Imports, one of the country’s largest baijiu distributors. “Baijiu has been in America for more than 30 years, but it has its challenges due to limitations of

previous importers not being able to explain fully what baijiu is to general consumers in this country.” Despite these challenges, Yuan is seeing interest among non-Chinese consumers in the United States grow, albeit slowly, and a handful of contemporary bars and restaurants are adopting the spirit, experimenting with its use in cocktails and as a food pairing. For curious American distillers, the world of baijiu offers an exhilarating array of unfamiliar ingredients, production processes, still types, and flavors. Baijiu is produced throughout China, and each town and region’s expression has its own subtle variations. It can be made from a range of different grains, including rice, sorghum, corn, wheat, and barley, and grains are frequently combined. The raw grains are steamed to cook them, and instead of using malted grains or exogenous enzymes, they are inoculated with a microbe-rich starter called qu (pronounced “chu”). The qu contains molds that convert starches to sugars, much like the koji culture used to make sake and miso, as well as yeasts that then transform those sugars into alcohol. Different qu can produce different flavors and levels of acidity, and can have an important impact on the flavor and aroma of the final spirit. These solid state fermentations have very little liquid, and more closely resemble spent grain from a brewery than a typical whiskey mash. The fermentations vary greatly depending on the type of baijiu, and can range from as short as a few weeks, to 6 months or more. Some varieties are fermented underground in pits that have been in use for hundreds of years, over which they’ve developed a unique and powerful yeast, mold, and bacterial culture that gives many brands their signature flavor. After fermentation, distillation typically takes place in a Chinese pot still made from steel. Distilling solid-state ferments in a pot or column still would likely result in scorching, clogging, puking, and all sorts of other unpleasant problems, so baijiu producers use a still resembling a rice steamer that passes hot steam through the fermented grains. The alcoholic steam is condensed in a worm-tub style condenser. Baijiu is not aged in wood, but many are rested for months or years in other kinds of vessels, including stainless

Left: At Vinn, steamed brown rice undergoes a very long fermentation in small batches before distillation. 78 

Right: Vicki hand-labels a batch of whiskey, made by aging their traditional baijiu in oak barrels. WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM


steel tanks and ceramic jars. The finished products are categorized by their fragrance or aroma: rice fragrance, light fragrance, strong fragrance, and sauce fragrance are the most important categories. All of that is a lot for American consumers to take in, but there’s another component in the mix: many baijius have a big, complex taste that can throw some American palates for a loop. “The taste profile is very foreign to your typical American consumer,” says Yuan. Think mushrooms, tropical fruit, and blue cheese, with the intensity dialed up to 11—not exactly the sweet caramel-vanilla flavor that most of us associate with spirits. In Oregon, family-owned Vinn Distillery is working hard to change American minds about baijiu. Headquartered in Wilsonville, a suburb of Portland, and founded in 2009, Vinn is the only baijiu distillery in the United States. They use traditional family recipes to make a delicate, rice-fragrance baijiu as well as a rice vodka, a rice whiskey (their baijiu aged in new charred oak), and a blackberry liqueur. If introducing a tentative American public to a full-proof, unsweetened, unfamiliar spirit they’ve never heard of sounds like an uphill battle to you, you’re not wrong, but the Ly family has persevered through some much more momentous challenges. Their roots go back to southern China, but about four generations ago, their family relocated to northern Vietnam, where they lived until 1978. In the years following the Vietnam War, ethnic Chinese were purged

from Vietnam, including the Lys, who were eventually sponsored by a church in Wilsonville, Oregon, and brought to the United States as refugees. No matter where the Lys went, they took their family tradition of baijiu distilling with them. In Vietnam, they operated a small community distillery, producing baijiu for their friends and neighbors. When Phan Ly and his wife, Kim Trinh, arrived in the United States with their five children, they couldn’t find baijiu in any of the local liquor stores — so they started making their own, in a still that Phan designed and built himself. After he retired, Phan started Vinn Distillery, naming his business after the middle name that all five of his children share. Today, the distillery remains a family affair, although Phan passed away in 2012. Vinn’s distillery is located in a barn behind the Ly’s family home. Kim and her eldest daughter, Lien Ly, are in charge of distilling, while sisters Michelle Ly and Vicki Ly manage sales, marketing, distribution, and the company’s Portland-based tasting room. On Tuesdays, everybody gathers to help with production, fill and label bottles, and talk about the business—oh, and to have lunch together, usually cooked by Kim and often featuring homegrown vegetables and a nip of baijiu, bottled at “family strength,”a hearty 52% alcohol by volume. In the eight years they’ve been running the company, the Lys have noticed that consumers’ responses to baijiu are starting

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------MAJOR BAIJIU AROMA CATEGORIES

Baijiu aroma types are categorical terms that describe not only a baijiu’s fragrance, but also the taste profile, region of production, and base grain(s) used. Rice aroma — With rice as its base grain, this aroma category is simple and light. Typically produced and consumed in the warm climates of Southern China. Brands to try ✓✓ Vinn Distillery Baijiu ✓✓ Guilin Sanhua

Light aroma — The primary grain of light aroma baijiu is sorghum. Produced and consumed in the cold climates of Northern China, this category is light and sweet, but often high in alcohol (56 proof or higher). Traditionally, the qu includes peas, and fermentation takes place in buried earthenware pots. Brands to try ✓✓ Kinmen Kaoliang ✓✓ Hua Du Beijing ErGuoTou

Strong aroma — Strong aroma baijiu is most closely associated with Sichuan, an inland province in south-central China. It is typically distilled from a combination of sorghum, wheat, rice, sticky rice, and corn, fermented in underground pits. Floral and complex in flavor, its standard bottling proof is 52% alcohol. Brands to try ✓✓ Luzhou Laojiao (product name San Ren Xuan) ✓✓ Shuijing Fang ✓✓ Jian Nan Chun

Sauce aroma — The most intensely flavored of the baijiu styles, sauce aroma gets its name from its distinctive, savory fragrance. Made in and around Guizhou province, western neighbor of Sichuan, it uses a very long pit fermentation and complex distillation process, and many are aged for several years before bottling.


Brands to try ✓✓ Moutai ✓✓ Xijiu


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to change. “When we first started,” says Michelle, “nobody knew about baijiu unless they’d gone to China.” “Even the Wikipedia entry was just one line,” laughs Vicki. “’All it said was: ‘A white spirit.’” But today, more consumers have at least heard about baijiu, and Vinn’s challenge is less about introducing the category for the first time than it is countering consumers’ ideas that all baijiu is an intense, fiery spirit with a funky taste. Rice fragrance baijiu is a style that is associated with Southern China. It’s the lightest style of baijiu in terms of flavor and aroma, although that doesn’t mean it lacks character. Vinn’s regular baijiu expression is also bottled at 80 proof, quite a bit lower than the typical Chinese bottling strength of at least 100 proof. “For people that haven’t tried our baijiu before, their first response is ‘Oh god, I don’t think I want any of that,’” laughs Vicki. “But once they try it, it’s ‘Oh, this is really nice.’” Vinn’s baijiu is somewhat reminiscent of sake, albeit a bit stronger, with a delicate floral aroma and an earthy, mushroom-like flavor. The production process at Vinn is still very traditional. The Lys use California-grown rice as their main fermentation substrate— brown rice for the baijiu, and white rice for their rice vodka. The rice is steamed, laid out in an even layer to cool, and then inoculated with qu. Vinn makes its own qu using a family recipe that combines rice flour with herbs and spices. Michelle says it’s hard to make, but that a well-made qu can last for years in its solid state without losing any of its power. The inoculated rice is then transferred to five gallon buckets, which ferment in a solid state for six months. The Lys add a little bit of water to each bucket, just enough to enable them to get the grains out easily. Then, the completed ferments are triple distilled on a pair of 26-gallon pot still and rested in stainless steel for at least a year before bottling. The resulting spirit is delicious on its own, especially when paired with Chinese food (it shone alongside steamed chicken with soy dipping sauce and fried whole fish with scallions), and it also performs well in cocktails. In Oregon, tasting rooms can serve mini-cocktails, a rule Vicki and Michelle happily exploit with watermelon margaritas and Shanghai mules, a baijiulaced variation on a Moscow mule. “You can substitute it for rum, you can substitute it for tequila, or you can substitute it for vodka,” says Michelle. “It’s really versatile.” The day when baijiu is as ubiquitous as whiskey or gin in the United States are probably far away, but pioneers like Vinn are leading the way—and perhaps opening their customers’ eyes to the vast and diverse range of baijiu styles. “Baijiu has a challenging road ahead,” says Yuan, “but when I explain to people what they are tasting, people get very intrigued. I think once people give this category a chance, they will find brands they enjoy, and they will find the way baijiu is made very, very interesting.”

Margarett Waterbury is the managing editor of The Whiskey Wash and Edible Portland, and regularly contributes to other publications about food, drink, and agriculture. She was named the 2017 Alan Lodge Young Drinks Writer of the Year by Spirits Business Magazine. www.margarettwaterbury.com WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM


Following on from many questions we receive from craft distillers about testing of spirits and, after extensive discussions with several distilling scientists at the Worldwide Distilled Spirits Conference held in Glasgow, Scotland, it became clear that, even at an international level, there is much to be discussed regarding the testing of distilled spirits.



nlike for brewers and winemakers, who are well represented by scientific organizations, newer distillers have a much harder time finding the details required for establishing a decent quality control testing program for their products. In contrast, the American Society of Brewing Chemists, in existence since 1935, provides members with access to a hearty tome called the Methods of Analysis Manual, collaborative methods testing, and a Journal publishing state-of-the-art, peer-reviewed brewing and beer research results. In Europe, there exist numerous organizations producing their own methods manuals and journals including the Institute of Brewing and Distilling (IBD), which now crosses the boundary between brewing and distilling. Similarly, winemakers in the US are represented by the American Society of Enologists and Viticulturists (ASEV). Currently craft distillers are only represented to any degree by two recently established, small, but growing organizations — the American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA) and the American Distilling Institute (ADI). Even with the ADI and the ACSA organizations there is a clear need for better resources for today’s distiller — at any level of operation — and most certainly for the science-support personnel working within the industry and guiding the

GC (Gas chromatography) HPLC (High Performance Liquid Chromatography)

quality of final products. Some methods of immediate use for the distiller are to be found in the expensive volumes from the Association of Official Agricultural Chemists (AOAC) or via membership of this body which approves methods for testing of food and beverages. Moreover, the AOAC is recognized as the source of officially proven and accepted methods of analysis for many commodities including beer, wine, and spirits (see Official Methods of Analysis of AOAC International – 20th Edition, 2016 — though an $800.00 purchase!). The US Tax and Trade Bureau provides some information on methods and instruments they accept for official testing/reporting purposes, but it seems that craft distillers are largely unaware of these resources. Of note though, for US distillers is that a list of beverage testing methods is provided on the TTB website: www.ttb.gov/ssd/ pdf/list_of_beverage_methods.pdf. Also, little known is the European Commission Regulation (EC) N0 2870/2000, (www. publications.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/ publication/b858d9a9-7fd3-4b3b-9cdf31f1e2e499f0), a Community reference guide to methods for the analysis of spirit drinks. These resources should be located and utilized by craft distillers. However, as a starting

Proof (US degrees Proof – 2 x’s the % alcohol by volume as expressed at 60°F)

Real extract (most simply expressed as degrees Plato or grams/100 grams - defined in the text)


point, the focus here is on recommended methods in existence since the 1930’s and used by the major distillery groups to this day, albeit with more modern, efficient, accurate, and precise instrumentation. Following a brief discussion of 11 test methods, alcohol (proof) testing will be considered in a little more detail than other methods, and a detailed review on how to run carbohydrate content and calorie calculations will then round out the article. The article should provide a useful entry into the alcoholic testing world, regardless as to whether the distiller does the testing in house or outsources to a third-party facility.


from our Older-Age Master Distilling Scientists!

In 1937, the Schenley Research Institute initiated an extensive set of experiments which were designed to look at the maturation events and the timing involved with respect to bourbon and rye whiskies (Liebmann and Rosenblatt, 1943; Liebmann and Scherl, 1949). A brief review of the results from the 1937 grand-experiment revealed several key analytical tests they deemed important to judge the quality of maturing spirits. Most of those tests are still important today, although a few may be of lesser importance than they were 80 years ago. Interestingly, many of the items in the list (Table 1) are required tests for the US Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) export certification program. The eleven characteristics described by the Liebmann group, together with extended notes, can be seen in Table 1 (Liebmann and Rosenblatt, 1943; Liebmann and Scherl, 1949). A main point to make here is that a few simple tests, such as alcohol content and color, along with some basic tastings, simply will not suffice to judge the overall quality of distilled spirits. Also, an understanding of the significance of the results is important, and not just because they appear, for example, on the required or recommended test list for the TTB or other regulatory compliance agencies. Noting again that the tests were run on bourbon and rye whiskies — the quality parameters will apply equally well to other aged spirits and, in some cases, to unaged or white spirits. These properties, or characteristics, were and are commonly used as a guide to and measure of quality — the leading indicators! “Experience and observation have shown that abnormalities arising in one or several of the physico-chemical characteristics will generally result in abnormalities of the taste characteristics of the liquid.” [Liebmann and Rosenblatt, 1943.] As taste is the final arbiter of quality and consumer purchase some form of a quality assurance and quality control program must be in place in every customer-focused distillery. The distiller should consider the tests noted in Table 1 as an important set when establishing their own test laboratory and/or when discussing with a third-party facility the importance and cost of such testing, and be able to interpret the results of such testing. More significantly they should be able to relate the results back to the distillery staff in order to improve their distillation processes and product formulation/re-formulation, and to determine the quality of


the final product. Additionally, many of the tests are required for export certification purposes. Along with some sensory evaluation techniques, the tests noted will go a long way to ensuring success in a growing but more highly competitive market. Other tests can be added to the list as the distiller’s laboratory operations grow. For most traditional distilled spirits (for example, the whiskies), the toxic compound methanol was not considered of significance back when Liebmann’s group was active. However, for other beverages such as brandy and fruit-based liqueurs, methanol levels can be high and the distiller should be concerned with this compound and, as such, might be considered as an addition to the list. A cogent account of the methanol issue has appeared recently within the pages of this magazine (Hughes, 2017). To bring this first section to a close, the summation would be that many things have not changed in the last 80 years or so with respect to the testing of a set list of the quality parameters pertaining to distilled spirits. And that the details need to be understood, and that the recommended tests from above be borrowed and updated by today’s new breed of distiller — they certainly are by their major competitors.


and then Extracting Other Information

Moving on to things that have changed, or that are now in vogue, we look towards the nutritional impact of distilled spirits. Alcohol determinations are of course of utmost importance in the alcohol beverage industry and not just for the sake of knowing this one value. Several key articles on this topic have been presented within the pages of the Artisan Spirit magazine (Chen, 2017, Hold, Bachler and Groseclose, 2014, Spedding, 2015a, Spedding, Weygandt and Linske, 2016). Methods for alcohol determination have also been reviewed elsewhere (Spedding, 2015b, 2016). For many traditional spirits (whiskies, rum and non-sweetened products) with a low content of solids, the alcohol content is relatively easy to measure. However, many spirit types, flavored vodkas and liqueurs for example, have significant levels of sugar present, and sometimes a little protein content which complicates the alcohol testing. Cream and egg based liqueurs will have significant levels of fat and are also a little more difficult to handle. Recently the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have initiated a program for reporting calories and other nutritional parameters in most foods and beverages. Because of these initiatives and, as the topic has apparently not been covered in any detail in craft-spirit-related articles, the remainder of this article focuses on alcohol and extract determinations and then nutritional factors. The major bourbon and Scotch whisky distillers make careful WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM




(Temperature corrected – presumably at 60 °F in the 1930’s.) Still accepted at 60 °F in the US, though usually determined today via alcohol measurements obtained at 20 °C. The alcohol content must be determined as accurately as possible at many process points and in finished product. The early tests of Proof were done in part to relate to the other parameters and if differences in alcohol proof had positive or negative effects upon maturation and to determine the state of the maturation process. Alcohol testing (high accuracy and precision) is mandatory for spirits producers for regulatory/legal/taxation purposes, for bottling strength and consumer information purposes. During fermentation and distillation less accurate alcohol values are required for judging production and operation efficiencies. Alcohol by weight is also required, along with residual extract content, for calorie determinations and other nutritional information – discussed further in the text.


Representing all the acids present in the spirit, though expressed as if all exist as the more volatile acid – acetic acid. Acids (volatile or non-volatile) may exist as free acids in solution or bound as complexes hence fixed acidity see FIXED ACIDITY. Interactions between the acids and the other chemical components are extremely complicated, yet each of these plays a role in the measurement of total acidity and in maturation reactions!


Fixed acidity is measured as total acidity minus volatile acidity – the latter term not further discussed in depth here (though see the right-hand column). Very generally pH is a quantitative assessment of fixed acidity. The concept of pH though is abstract and as such is not as important a parameter as understanding the relationship between acidity and balance in the spirit. Moreover, acidity levels bear upon the correct maturation of the spirit in the wood. Bound or fixed acids may be locked up in reversible or non-reversible combination with other chemical species. They may be easily released or may require extreme conditions such as heating of sample to fully release them.


Ethyl acetate is the most common ester and appears in the heads portion of the distillation process and is known to be a major chemical player in spirit maturation. Described as solvent-like, nail varnish remover-like and with fruity nuances (Spedding and Jeffrey, 2015). As for the acids, many esters may be present in a spirit but as a major heads fraction component the expression of total esters is as for ethyl acetate only.


A major chemical class involved in spirits flavor and off-flavor. The main player is acetaldehyde: green or bruised apple flavor notes, ethereal, florists shop-like, melon or pumpkin descriptors (Spedding and Jeffrey, 2015). An indicator of stressed fermentations. Other aldehydes also play a role in spirits flavor. See FURFURAL.



Furfural – another aldehyde, and related compounds are generated from sugars during heating – caramelization and Maillard reactions and, from several viewpoints, are chemically important in alcohol beverage production. The report from 1943 suggested this was not an important parameter to judge aging quality by and might be dropped from standard test regimes going forward. Though it is still included in the TTB export certification program. Furthermore, related or derivative compounds are regarded as potentially toxic and considerable discussion is underway in this respect. See Spedding (2017 a, b) for details on the Maillard reaction and generation of the furfural related compounds.

Degrees Proof (2 x ABV at 60 °F). Alcohol by volume (v/v) is expressed in this paper as % ABV.


Gas chromatography (GC) with Flame ionization detection (FID), Density measurements often after distillation, High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) or other methods (Spedding 2015b).


^Used to be expressed as grams of acetic acid per 100 liters at 100 degrees proof.


Titration with standardized base to pH 8.2. Requires an end-point color indicator or a pH meter.


^Expressed as grams of acetic acid per 100 liters at 100 Proof.


Distillation (often by Cash or Volatile acid still) then titration with standardized base to pH 8.2. This collects and reports on the volatile acids – this value then subtracted from the total acidity thus gives the fixed or bound acidity.


^Expressed as grams of ethyl acetate per 100 liters at 100 Proof.


Measured by chemical means back in the 1930’s – today via Gas Chromatography and FID detection.


^Expressed as grams of acetaldehyde per 100 liters at 100 Proof.


Measured by chemical means back in the 1930’s – today via Gas Chromatography and FID detection.


^The results are expressed as grams of furfural per 100 liters at 100 Proof.


May be determined by Gas chromatography or High-Performance Liquid Chromatography.





aka. Higher or fusel alcohols. Collectively the higher alcohols are covered here but mainly isoamyl {3-methyl-1-butanol} and active amyl alcohol {2-methyl-1-butanol}. The group here, with higher boiling points than ethanol, appear in the tails fraction and are indicative, in high amount, of poorly rectified spirit. While complex reactions take place in the wood involving fusel alcohols the general levels delivered at barrel filling do not change with aging giving the rubbing alcohol and pungent/solventy notes which are not desirable in clean vodka or aged spirits. OK to a certain degree in white dog or legal “Moonshine” (Spedding and Jeffrey, 2015).

Collectively ^expressed typically as grams of amyl alcohol {fusel oils} per 100 liters at 100 Proof.


Originally measured by cruder chemical tests they are now determined as individual components via Gas Chromatography.


Results expressed as grams per 100 liters at 100 Proof.



Then and now, but to which we now add the term “extract.” Extracts and insoluble matter from wood maturation. The 1943 paper indicated that this too, like furfural, cannot be used as a reliable indicator of the age of whisky, but is required for the correct Proof determination of spirits. Solids of high concentration (sweetened spirits) represent the real (true) or apparent extract content as noted under the discussion on calorie determinations.

Determined via evaporation and weighing of the residue. Must be done under strict proofing rules (see the TTB). As real extract may be determined on distillation residuals via distillation. See text for details.


May simply be expressed as visual “color as is” or as SRM “units” (Standard Reference Method). Absorbance at 430 nanometers (nm) or at 525 nm, within the visible light spectrum, may be used.



Craft distillers often think this a good enough measure of the age of the spirit – though is not a true indicator of taste information. Color is created in a myriad of ways, from charring and toasting of barrels, and from caramelization and Maillard reactions (Spedding, 2017 a, b). In addition to color, haze is an important “visual quality” issue – another complex topic which should be considered by the distiller for product shelf-life stability and might be discussed with the lab folks testing their products; haze and sediment identification being a frequently requested test these days. Haze/sedimentation issues have several potential origins which can be controlled if the topic is better understood.

Measured back in the 1930’s with colorimeters and today by spectrophotometric means usually on spirit at 100 Proof or today on finished spirit and reported as a value at a specified wavelength of visible light (see above).


^Expressed as grams of tannic acid equivalents per 100 liters at 100 Proof as determined by reference to standard curves.


Tannins being a major wood component are chemically extracted and manipulated during aging/maturation. This test then is a measure of the solvent extraction of the different fractions of tannins. May still be an important quality parameter for Scotch whisky producers but, according to personal communications with bourbon distillers, not as important for them today. Though I suggest this be questioned. Tannins may be flavor (astringent) components, antioxidants and play a role in maturation chemistry.



See note under FIXED ACIDITY. Application and limitations of pH measurements were cited in Liebmann and Rosenblatt in 1943 but we state again that pH is, very generally, a quantitative assessment of fixed acidity. The concept of pH though is abstract and as such is not as important a parameter as understanding the relationship between acidity and balance in the spirit. Though a rapidly obtained number used to follow process and product consistency.

An older chemical-derivatization/coupling and spectrophotometric detection method is still used today to measure the tannin materials in the aged spirit.


Reported in Standard Reference Method (SRM) units. Or simply as a pH value (number).


^Measured at 100 Proof at 25 °C, via use of a pH meter.


^The expression of amounts was as posited by Liebmann and Rosenblatt in 1943 and may be expressed in different terms or units today. Some of the chemical compounds listed above are described more fully by Spedding and Jeffery (2015) and Spedding (2017a, b). AOAC test numbers may be found in a recommended test listing provided by the US agency – the TTB: www.ttb.gov/ssd/pdf/list_of_beverage_methods.pdf



measurements of the extract content of their grains and mash, and can then predict the alcohol yield for each batch fermentation. The same can be said for sugar-based spirits manufacturers. Their predictions will be monitored by a follow-up alcohol analysis often by High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) (see Heist, 2015). This process will form the topic for a future issue, but illustrates the first point in the distilling process at which alcohol is often measured — following fermentation. The distiller can then make predictions on spirit yields from distillation itself. Alcohol content needs to be determined following distillation to ready for cask filling, after maturation (perhaps even at several time points during maturation), and at bottle filling. Bottles (or cans) may be tested for alcohol content for regulatory compliance and tax purposes. Distillers must learn to measure alcohol at the very least. Today, with highly sweetened spirits, they also need to be able to measure the residual extract or real extract (the extract representing the sugar, protein and mineral content in the absence of alcohol) (detailed and defined further below — see Apparent and Real Extract — An interlude). This value can then be used to help determine total product calories and other nutritional data (also detailed below). If fats are present this represents a more complex topic and it is recommended that the distiller making spirit products with fats present (cream or egg-based liqueurs for example) consult with a food or alcohol beverage testing lab familiar with assessing such products for reporting complete nutritional profiles (and see www.ttb.gov/ssd/documents/ssdtm407carbshsld.pdf); there are noted issues with this documented method — in particular this author has reservations about the solids determination methods outlined by the TTB in this directive — the reasoning is complex and not discussed here but see Spedding (2016) for details and a final note at the end of this present paper). One highly noteworthy point here is that the TTB agency draws upon many samples from the trade each year. Their published reports always reveal a significant percentage of erroneously listed alcohol values on spirit labels. Clearly distillers are either not correctly determining the alcohol content of such spirits, or their third-party test facilities are not doing their job properly. Getting this right is thus of the utmost importance! A comprehensive review on how to determine alcohol content and extract values has appeared recently (Spedding, 2016); and, even though the reference mainly deals with beer, it shows the use of proper tools, methods, and robust algorithms needed to obtain accurate data. Currently user error, both through incorrect instrument use and method performance, is the main cause for many calculation discrepancies. A final important note on alcohol values for nutritional (calorie) determinations. The alcohol by volume is converted to a weight basis by use of conversion factors based on the specific gravity of alcohol and the actual spirit specific gravity. Many brewers and distillers get this value wrong if using hydrometers and or refractometers or simpler density meters. And more importantly here is that many testing laboratories also either miss this point and/or get this wrong! Amounts are expressed in grams (see Spedding, 2016 for a full discussion on alcohol determination methods and respective WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM  

calculations). The % alcohol by weight values (ABWt) will also be utilized below in example calorie calculations. A quick note on this to show the conversion for an accurately determined ABV to ABWt is shown here:

ABWt = ABV x SG alcohol SG sample

[Eq. 1]

Alcohol by weight (ABWt) and by volume (ABV) are expressed as % by weight (w/w) or by % by volume (v/v) respectively. The specific gravity (SG, or “relative density”) of pure alcohol is taken as 0.7907 (for 20°C) and the SG of the sample is the actual determined value obtained via density meter (either with or without prior distillation depending upon solids or extract content). Alternative methods for alcohol content determination when extracts are in high concentration are not further considered here (see references cited earlier in this section).


An interlude

see Artisan Spirit online for more definitions: artisanspiritmag.com/definitions-01/ So, what do we really mean when discussing extract values? Brewers measure changes in density as sugars (the original extract being mainly carbohydrate in nature) are consumed during fermentation and converted into alcohol. This causes a drop in the density and the extract value. Measurements are obscured (the true gravity is “hidden”) by alcohol (of lower density than water, sugar solutions or beer) causing “buoyancy effects” with hydrometers, for example. Thus, false or apparent readings of gravity are made when instruments measure beer (containing water, sugars and alcohol); hence “apparent extract.” For distillers, the same principles are in effect, but the extract is from the addition of sugars, proteins, and other solid materials from flavor additions, such as fruit. So, in cases of high solids content, the distiller needs to run laboratory scale distillations to separate the alcohol from the extract (solids) and to determine the alcohol SG in the distillate (largely the alcohol and water). The solids are left behind in the “distillation residuals” but can be determined by bringing the distillation pot contents back up to the initial sample volume and measuring the density of the extract-containing solution (with no alcohol present) to obtain the extract content; tables and algorithms being used for the distiller to be able to convert the density into the Plato extract values. The real extract is a true(r) measure of remaining sugars — and proteins etc. — as determined in the absence of alcohol (removed via distillation or boiling). When distillers measure a sample containing sugars this will be an “apparent” gravity and neither the true alcohol content or extract content can be directly determined. The true or real extract is ultimately expressed in grams per 100 grams of sample (a Plato value) and is needed to obtain, along with the alcohol by weight value, the correct caloric content of a spirit sample. Moving on we now consider calories and other nutritional values.




For our nutritional purposes, traditional distilled spirits contain mainly alcohol and In the US, the term calorie refers to a water and little if any matter contributing caloric energy. However, many sweetened/ kilocalorie. One kilocalorie (kcal) is the same flavored spirits and liqueurs will contain carbohydrates, and perhaps a trace of protein. as one Calorie (upper case C). A kilocalorie is Some organic acids and fat may also be present (see Acidity in Table 1 and further the amount of heat energy required to raise the details below). Technically organic acids should be included in calorie determinations temperature of one kilogram of water by one but as they carry, per gram, only slightly less energy than protein and carbohydrate, they degree Celsius. Nutritional calculations are are lumped in with these two macronutrients (see Olšovská et al, 2015). It is this organic largely based on the so-called Atwater factors, matter that is referred to as the extract content in the spirit and will be a real extract, which express the caloric content per nutrient meaning its value is not influenced by the presence of alcohol (see Apparent and Real source (fat, protein, carbohydrate, alcohol) Extract — An interlude). Very small amounts of minerals may also be present but unlike in terms of calories per gram. For protein and for beer, this material often determined and reported as “ash” is of little consequence carbohydrate this is 4 kcal/gram, fat 9.0 kcal/ for calorie or carbohydrate determinations and thus not dealt with in any detail here gram, alcohol 6.9 kcal/gram (7.0 in Atwood (though is included in example calculations below for the sake of completeness). tables though brewers and distillers use 6.9). In dealing with the nutritional issue, and a consideration of calories and distilled The Atwater factors are discussed elsewhere spirits, another brief note on nutrients is now provided. Macronutrients are the structural (for example see, University of Minnesota, 2017, and energy-providing caloric components of food and beverages; carbohydrates, fats and and The American Society of Brewing Chemists, proteins. Micronutrients include the vitamins, minerals, trace elements, and antioxidants 2017, and references contained therein). that are essential for good health. The quantity and quality of these nutrients vary greatly, depending on what types of food or beverage are consumed and, also on the quality of those foods. The topic has been covered by Washington State University (2017). For distilled spirits analysis, it is likely that only the macronutrients will be under consideration if the distiller is called upon or chooses to report fuller nutritional information. Though the need here for a complete understanding of the product composition, based on specialty raw materials used, is hopefully clear.

PROTEIN, ASH AND CALCULATED CARBOHYDRATE This follows on from the above in terms of nutritional information. The protein content is required in and of itself for expressing the concentration of this nutrient in beer, spirits and food. However, a protein value (if any is present from any raw materials used) is also required to determine the true total carbohydrate content of the spirit. Total carbohydrate content is obtained via calculation rather than through direct testing, as its experimental determination is both messy and not very accurate (see Carbohydrates in High Solids Distilled Spirits SSD:TM:407: www.ttb.gov/ssd/documents/ ssdtm407carbshsld.pdf). Furthermore, the assay for protein is also quite complex, often messy and dangerous and most difficult to do for the very small amount of nitrogen containing material in beer and spirits which is lumped together and reported as “protein.” Most brewery and distillery labs are probably not prepared for the expense of setting up to do this complex and hazardous assay in house. The Kjeldahl assay (protein tested via chemical digestion), is commonly described as an “ancient food testing method.” Many food labs, fully competent in testing protein in foods, cannot get down to the lower limits of detection for “protein” in beer yet alone for the lower levels in some spirits (see Abernathy, Spedding and Starcher, 2009 for a discussion of limitations). So, it is important to assess if the lab the distiller wishes to use is in fact able to do this assay on nonfood substances such as beer, malt, or mixer beverages and other distilled spirits, or to decide if it is even necessary to determine it


at all! Protein values are typically calculated from total nitrogen content adjusted for non-protein nitrogen, times a conversion factor specific for each food group. The protein content will be reported as % weight/weight (w/w, grams per 100 grams) and needs to be converted to grams per serving size.

CARBOHYDRATE CALCULATIONS Once the protein, ash and extract values for the spirit or liqueur are known the total carbohydrate value is obtained by the formula:

Carbohydrates grams per 100 grams spirit = Real Extract – protein – ash An example will serve to illustrate the levels of carbohydrates in a highly flavored and sweetened product. Sample Spirit: 11.6°P = real extract, (°P = degrees Plato, g/100g or % by weight); 0.05 = protein % by weight; and 0.00 = ash % by weight; 1.00105 = Specific gravity (SG) of the spirit; 44.36 = 1.5 US fl. oz. in mL.

Carbohydrate grams per 100 grams spirit = 11.6 – 0.05 – 0.00 = 11.55 (Rounded back to 11.6 g) Carbohydrates per 1.5 US fl. oz. spirit = 11.6 x (44.36 x 1.00105/100) = 5.15 g If the protein content is likely to be low in value it could be ignored for most cases, as can the mineral content, which grossly simplifies this calculation; the result being a quite reasonable approximation with the value falling within most regulatory specified degrees of


tolerance. Good enough for government work and for the consumer’s education for carbohydrate intake purposes. [Note: The alcohol information was not needed for this real-world example but would have been determined along with the real extract value.]

TOTAL CARBOHYDRATE As illustrated above, total carbohydrate values are initially determined as per 100 grams of spirit as the difference between the real extract and its sum of percentages of protein and ash. If fat is present, in a cream or egg-based liqueur for example, it too should be subtracted from the real extract value, although our lab has noted issues with this approach (unpublished observations). See the TTB mandate for more on reporting fat content and calories derived from fats (https:// www.ttb.gov/ssd/documents/ssdtm407carbshsld. pdf.) Total carbohydrate is approximately equal to the sum of available carbohydrates (starch and sugars and likely other more unusual carbohydrates such as found in Tequila as derived from agave for example). If fruit is used postfermentation/post-distillation, the contribution of fruit-derived sugars to the carbohydrate load from a caloric viewpoint should not be overlooked. Available carbohydrate in spirits may include, sugars such as, glucose, fructose and sometimes high concentrations of sucrose. As tested, usually by HPLC, values are reported in grams. We note that the total amount of the sugars, if determined in a spirit/liqueur and expressed as grams/100 grams of sample, should never be more than the real extract value of the product.

CALORIE CALCULATIONS The percent of calories contributed by each macronutrient (protein, fat, carbohydrate, alcohol) is calculated using the following method:

>> Energy factors (e.g., general or specific Atwater factors) for each macronutrient are used. [See An Introduction to the Calorie on page 86]

>> The gram weight of each macronutrient for the spirit is multiplied by its energy factor to determine the calories provided by each macronutrient for that spirit per 100 grams. From this, calories from each individual macronutrient component can then be reported on a serving size basis (see example calculations below).

>> The

calories contributed by each macronutrient per 100 grams are summed.

>> The total calories for all macronutrients per 100 grams of the spirit are then multiplied by the specific gravity of the sample and then by the appropriate factor for the actual serving size. See examples below. Examples for total calorie determinations in spirits are based on standard and approved calculations as covered in official methods manuals (example, American Society of Brewing Chemists, 2017, and see: Calories in High Solids Distilled Spirits SSD: TM: 403 from the TTB: www.ttb.gov/ssd/documents/ssdtm403calshsld. pdf). Please take note: The approach in this published TTB document is a little different from the one below.


A WHISKY WITH NO APPRECIABLE SOLIDS Whisky: ABV @ 20 °C = 40.2% ABWt @ 20 °C = 33.4% No solids/extract of concern — ignored here

0.94967 = Specific gravity (SG) of the spirit 44.36 = 1.5 US fl. oz. in mL.

The actual extract present was 0.03g/100g

Calories per 100 grams of spirit = 6.9 * (33.4) + 4 * (0.0 - 0.0) = 230.5

The real extract minus the ash is considered as protein plus carbohydrate and that, it will be recalled from above, there are 4 kcal of energy per gram for both protein and carbohydrate.

Calories per 1.5 fl. oz. (44.36 mL sample) = 230.5 * (44.36 * 0.94967/100) = 97.1 [97.0 Calories or kcal per serving] Applying different mL amounts will allow for the expression of calories for different “per fl. oz. serving sizes.” WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM  

A CALL TO ACTION Many distillers today are unaware of the resources available to them to assist in taking them to the next level. As a result, some direction as to where these key methods are described and published by scientific organizations or regulatory authorities was also provided. In order that craft distillers might excel and learn about, and from, the vast literature available they should be advised to provide group-level/memberassociated encouragement and support to begin discussions to form an organization like the American Society of Brewing Chemists (perhaps the American Society of Distilling Scientists). This organization could both provide the required library of essential papers and facts and drive the necessary research and education of the current and next generation of distillers. Such an entity has been sadly missing; distillers, at least in the US, being behind the times when compared to brewers and winemakers with their own scientific organizations supporting their efforts. It IS time to address this.





A SWEETENED/FLAVORED VODKA ABV @ 20 °C = 35.0% ABWt @ 20 °C = 27.6% {see Eq. 1} 11.6°P = real extract °P = degrees Plato, g/100g or % by weight

0.05 = protein % by weight 0.00 = ash % by weight 1.00105 = SG of the spirit 44.36 = 1.5 US fl. oz. in mL

Calories per 100 grams of spirit = 6.9 * (27.6) + 4 * (11.6 - 0.05 – ^0.00) = 236.6 Calories per 1.5 fl. oz. (44.36 mL spirit) = 236.6 * (44.36 * 1.00105/100) = 105.1 [105.0 Calories or kcal.]


The more sugars in spirits the greater the calories — quite significantly more for some modern-day spirits with 20-35 Plato sugar content (25-30 grams sugar per 100 grams of spirit!) Certain honey-flavored whiskey brands and very often cream-based liqueurs

CAUTIONARY END NOTES www.barrel53cooperage.com


As noted above – the author points out that solids determination methods for wine and spirits as presented by the TTB are not, according to theory, correct or the most acceptable means to an end. The methods rely on computations involving sample and alcohol specific gravities to determine the real extract gravity (and subsequently the solids content or extract value in mass terms). Such an approach only works within certain limits, as addressed elsewhere (Spedding, 2016) or as might be discussed upon consultation with the author. In addition, sugars, when present in high concentration, lead us to some erroneous alcohol readings; this is based on other chemical properties of the sugars in an ethanol-water solvent system. This issue was addressed, and resolved, by a graduate student from

Chen, F. (2017). Partial Molar Volume: Its Application in the Brewery and Distillery for Volume Contraction Calculations and Alcohol Concentration Determination. Artisan Spirit, Issue 18, Spring 2017; 80-84. Heist, P. (2015). Sugar Utilization and Importance Relative to Fermentation and Distillery Ethanol Yields. Artisan Spirit, Issue 12, Fall 2015; 87-91. Hold, S., Bachler, C. and Groseclose, N.


Liebmann, A.J. and Rosenblatt, M. (1943). Changes in Whisky While Maturing. Industrial and Engineering Chemistry. 35 (9); 994-1002. Liebmann, A.J. and Scherl, B. (1949). Changes in Whisky While Maturing. Industrial and Engineering Chemistry. 41 (3); 534-543. Olšovská, J., Šterba, K., Pavlovic, M. and Cejka, P. (2015). Determination of the Energy Value of Beer. J. Am. Soc. Brew. Chem. 73(2); 165-169. ê

American Society of Brewing Chemists (2017). Methods of Analysis -14th Edition. American Society of Brewing Chemists. Beer 6: Calculated Values, Beer 11: Protein and Beer 33: Caloric Content (Calculated). http://methods.asbcnet. org/default.aspx [Access restricted to ASBC members. Last accessed, July 2017.]

Hughes, P. (2017). Malicious Methanol. Artisan Spirit, Issue 19, Summer 2017; 84-85.


Abernathy, D.G., Spedding, G. and Starcher, B. (2009). Analysis of Protein and Total Usable Nitrogen in Beer and Wine Using a Microwell Ninhydrin Assay. J. Inst. Brew. 115(2): 122-127.

(2014). Because Accuracy Matters: Determining Ethanol Concentration. Artisan Spirit, Issue 7, Summer 2014; 66-67.



Spedding, G. (2015a). Measuring and Calculating Alcohol in Distilled Spirits and Liqueurs: Emphasis on WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM

will contain around 16-18 grams of sugar/100 grams of spirit/ liqueur. ^ [As noted above, unlike for many beers, there will be a negligible amount of minerals in spirit solution and, therefore, very tiny ash values for most spirits, so the distiller could omit the ash value and still obtain a suitably accurate value of the calories if the alcohol by weight and real extract values have themselves been obtained accurately.] For official reporting purposes, the data to run these calculations must have been obtained using officially accepted methods and via calibrated and reliable instruments. Such instruments can deliver repeatedly accurate values (i.e., true readings with precision when testing and retesting a sample.)

Gary Spedding, Ph.D. is a brewing analytical chemist/sensory specialist and managing owner of Brewing and Distilling Analytical Services, LLC. The team also includes Jessi Bentley, B.Sc. chemist, Matthew Linske, B.Sc. lead microbiologist, and Philip Gennette, B.Sc. analytical technician. For more information visit www.alcbevtesting.com or call (859) 278-2533.

Eastern Kentucky University working in our laboratory (unpublished observations). Some of the alcohol was consumed in reactions with the sugars. When some of the alcohol “goes missing” in these scenarios it is often said to be “hidden,” “latent,” or “obscured.” Such obscuration issues can be addressed by acid-base neutralization of the solution prior to distillation, or perhaps via the coupling of a refractometer with a density meter instead of relying on the alternative technology of coupling near infrared (NIR) alcohol measuring devices with a density meter. As also alluded to in the previous paragraph, these combined instruments (NIR alcolyzers with density meters) are limited to testing of alcoholic beverages within a narrower range of alcohol and extract contents than the instrument manufacturers would have us all believe. The author would again be more than happy to discuss these issues with interested parties.

Contemporary High-Extract Containing Spirits. Artisan Spirit, Issue 10, Spring 2015; 94-97. Spedding, G. (2015b). Alcohol Measurements: Chromatography (Gas Chromatography - GC and GC-Mass Spectroscopy, High Performance Liquid Chromatography - HPLC); Densitometry; Enzymatic and Spectroscopic (Near-Infrared - NIR and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance - NMR) Methods: A Brief Review. BDAS, LLC White Paper - Self Published. Dec. 2015; 1-6.


Corporate Office West Coast North Northwest Canada British Columbia Pleasantville, NY Windsor, CA Geneva, NY McMinnville, OR Montreal, QC Kelowna, BC

Part 1 – The Chemistry. Artisan Spirit, Issue 18, Spring 2017; 98-102. Spedding, G. (2017b). Toasting My Spirits: Maillard and the Incredible Reactions He Uncovered in 1912. Part 2 – The Maillard Reaction and Distilled Spirits Production. Artisan Spirit, Issue 19, Summer 2017; 65-69. Spedding, G. and Jeffery, J. (2015). Distilled Spirits and Key Flavors: Smelling Roses, Fruit, Stinky Feet and Much More in My Glass. Artisan Spirit. 12, Fall 2015; 53-58. Spedding, G., Weygandt, A. and Linske, M. (2016). Alcohol Dilution Practices for Distillers. Artisan Spirit, Issue 14, Spring 2016; 65-70.

Spedding, G. (2016). Alcohol and its measurement. In: Brewing Materials and Processes: A Practical Approach to Beer Excellence. (Charles W. Bamforth, Ed.). Elsevier/Academic Press. pp. 123-149.

University of Minnesota (2017). Atwater factors. http://www.ncc.umn.edu/products/nutrientsnutrient-ratios-and-other-food-components/ primary-energy-sources/ [Last accessed, July 2017.]

Spedding, G. (2017a). Toasting My Spirits: Maillard and the Incredible Reactions He Uncovered in 1912.

Washington State University (2017). Nutrition Basics. http://mynutrition.wsu.edu/nutritionbasics/ [Last accessed July 2017.]




RUM & YOUR BUSINESS PLAN Writ te n b y Lui s Ayala


very time I speak to future DSP owners, I start by asking how many of them know for sure that rum is going to be a part of their business’ offerings from the beginning. The answer ranges from around 25% up to around 50%. Those choosing to forgo rum could be potentially missing out on a large source of revenue. Most of the people who don’t want to have anything to do with rum blame the decision on the few mainstream rums (from multinational distilleries), usually surrounding overindulgence in their youth. Others base their decision on overall rum industry numberss, such as those on the graph on the right. If we take the overall industry numbers at their face value, we could be losing out on a hidden trend visible only by filtering these numbers to show just the Super Premium price category as seen below. 500



2002-2015 24,000




















Source: The Distilled Spirits Council







The biggest mistake rum neophytes make when attempting to commercialize their own rum is to try to compete against the market leaders, both in price and in quality. The market leaders are pricedriven and benefit from federal subsidies that allow them to maintain their low prices. Unfortunately for them, the volume declines shown in the first chart are forcing them to spend even more dollars on quality, trying to cut corners everywhere just to stay in the black. Fortunately for craft producers, the only segment showing a growing trend is the Super Premium, which includes rums with retail prices in the $36-$50 range. While the volume of rum sold at this range is low, the profit margin per unit sold is quite attractive and worthy of being pursued. Here is a short list of reasons why I think everyone should consider adding a rum to their portfolio: WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM

1. More options for more consumers. If someone only

drinks vodka,for example, and they visit a whiskey distillery, perhaps as part of a larger group of whiskey aficionados, they may not find any whiskeys that appeal to them. A light, rectified rum, aged or unaged, could have made that person a happy visitor, one willing to create revenue and to spread the word.

2. For distillers aging whiskey or bourbon, the freshly emptied barrels are PERFECT for aging rum. Most of the rum aged

throughout the world is put in White American oak barrels previously used for whiskey, so why not save time and money by using your own? An additional advantage is that the barrelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s provenance/lineage is preserved, allowing for single barrel rums with full traceability.



























































































14-15 Growth






3. Mixology is one of the big reasons why a lot of brands and categories are surging. The

more offerings a DSP has, especially across spirit categories, the more creative the bartenders can become without leaving the confines of the brand identity.

4. Rum has a story that is easy to tell, with an appeal that is wide and deep. And I am not talking about just pirates

and drink with umbrellas: rum shaped the lives of colonial people throughout the world and it continues to be a large part of the culture in many places. To know rum and to speak intelligently about it, is to give visitors and consumers a sense of adventure, significance, and fun.

5. Rum is poised to take off, especially the High-End Premium and the Super Premium categories. While you

could wait until after the take-off to figure out how to benefit from it, you could also start getting your feet wet, developing recipes, presentations, and even product personality.

If you decide to heed my advice and take a closer look at rum, just make sure you do your homework first: Understand which companies get subsidies and why, and also understand which segments are growing, not only as national averages, but within your selected markets.

Luis Ayala is an international rum consultant and broker of specialty aged rums. He is founder of The Rum University, Rum Central and Got Rum? magazine. Visit www.gotrum.com or email luis@gotrum.com for more information.





S ome 45 years ago an Irish distillery figured out how to put dairy cream and whiskey together to create one of the most dominant spirits in the international market today. You likely know who they are. However, several American distilleries also know how to put this unusual combination of liquids together and in the process created their own spirit category: BOURBON CREAM. This and other cream liqueurs are catching on in various parts of the country. How did this come about, and why did it take so long? There is a reason why so few cream spirits are on the market. Cream and alcohol do not mix. Dairy components separate when mixed with a weak acid, like whiskey, so making cream spirits is time consuming and difficult. Adding to the degree of difficulty is that any manufacturer handling dairy product in the United States has to conform to the strict standards and regulations of the Food and Drug Administration. For distilleries, that means more time, money, and space to make cream products. Despite the challenges, an increasing number of US distilleries are forging ahead into the world of cream spirits. 92 



Jason Barrett started Black Button in Rochester, NY, in 2012 and began making Bespoke Bourbon Cream shortly after the tasting room opened in 2015. When Barrett’s dad retired from engineering, he didn’t want to retire, retire. Needing something to do, Barrett put him to work in the tasting room serving samples and cocktails to customers. As happens in a tasting room, guests would ask Barrett’s dad what his favorite spirit was. Dad, who Barrett describes as not much of a drinker, would answer, “Bailey’s.” Guests would then inquire what was his favorite Black Button spirit, to which this honest man replied he didn’t care much for them. Barrett told his dad that wasn’t the best thing to say to guests when you are trying to get them to buy your spirits. Dad said bluntly, “If you want a different answer, make a different product.” Barrett accepted the challenge and Bespoke was born. Located in the third-ranked US dairy producing state makes accessing supply easier; however, the challenges of making bourbon cream remain the same. “It is a labor intensive process,” says Barrett. He uses real pasteurized dairy cream, which means the distillery is subject to FDA standards, and before he can make a batch the equipment has be WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM


To make Nooku, Old Elk Bourbon is shipped scrubbed clean. Barrett uses to New York to be mixed with dairy cream in four ingredients in his spirit; BY OLD ELK DISTILLERY an approved FDA facility. Douglas says the bourbon, water, cream and a Kate Douglas, Old Elk’s Head Distiller in Fort Fort Collins distillery is currently too small to burnt sugar/caramel coloring. Collins, CO, says making a Bourbon Cream was handle production. The finished product is then He began adding the sugar part of the owner's’ plans for the distillery from bottled in Missouri. She says Nooku can last up caramel coloring because the its beginnings in 2015. She says the distillery’s to five years and doesn’t need to be refrigerated. earliest batches of Bespoke, owners saw an ‘open market’ for the product. Because it contains dairy, Douglas says the even though they tasted great, She and everyone else have been blown away company has performed extra testing on it. looked just like 2% milk, by the response. “The way we found our five years is we did which didn’t appeal to him. “We didn’t think it would take off this fast,” an accelerated aging test. We took it to a First, he and his staff mix she says. “I thought sales would drop this lab where they took it to 25 degrees Celsius cream and bourbon while summer, but they haven’t. We’ve snagged 30% over room temperature (approx. 113-122 carefully warming it up. Then of the market from a ‘popular international degrees Fahrenheit) and down to 25 degrees they make a second solution cream liqueur’ in Colorado.” Celsius under room temperature (approx. 23with water and sugar caramel To make Nooku, a Native American word 32 degrees Fahrenheit).” The process mimics coloring. Then the two for snow rabbit, the distillery only uses two aging, but faster. The company wanted to solutions are mixed. Here’s ingredients: Old Elk Bourbon and New York ensure the product would remain shelf stable where things get tricky. If he dairy cream. Douglas says that because there over time and Nooku more than exceeded doesn’t get the pH of both is no added sugar, this spirit is not technically expectations. mixtures exactly the same, a liqueur. The spirit even has a special Not that anyone would leave it on a shelf that the batch will curdle. He category within the Alcohol and Tobacco Taxes long.“It tastes too good!” she laughs. Douglas even bought extra testing and Trade Bureau. She says Nooku is listed says Old Elk is introducing a Peppermint Nooku equipment, including scales under ‘specialized spirit’ with the sub category for the holiday season. that measure down to a ‘bourbon with dairy.’ hundredth of a gram, to get this right. As Barrett increases the temperature of the mixture, the pH decreases. “It’s not a linear process like distilling is,” he Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, KY, has (arguably) been making bourbon longer says. “When you want to change the proof, you than anyone else in the US, over 200 years. They have been making Buffalo Trace just add more water and there’s a formula to get Bourbon Cream since 2009. According to Media Director Amy Preske, they too saw a you where you need to be. It’s not like that with chance to enter a unique market, however, their entry was supposed to be small scale. pH. A 10th of a gram can throw everything off.” “Bourbon Cream was originally intended to be sold only in our Gift Shop,” she says. The process is so intensive Barrett says his “That changed when retailers and consumers started begging for it!” staff refuses to mix it. While she says the process is proprietary, BT’s Bourbon Cream is made with “They get everything ready,” he says, “and only two ingredients, the company’s flagship bourbon and real dairy cream. Preske when it’s time to combine the mixtures, they recommends consumers refrigerate after opening and that it should be consumed call me to ‘press the button’ so to speak. They within six months. The product was originally mixed and bottled in upstate New York, don’t want to be responsible for ruining an entire but because of the product’s popularity, that changed. batch because it takes so long to prepare.” “We’ve moved it to one of our own facilities,” she says. “We are pleased with the Barrett says the process takes 16 hours sales as they continue to grow.” (two work shifts) because they have to wait a half an BY HEADFRAME SPIRITS hour between For Courtney McKee, CEO and one of the founders of Headframe Spirits in Butte, MT, the concept for a each temperature bourbon cream was something she and her husband came up with upon founding the company in 2010, change. One batch however, they didn’t make it until 2012, after the distillery’s tasting room opened. She says it didn’t make yields 2,500 bottles. sense to make the product until they could serve and sell it to people directly in their tasting room. Orphan The effort is worth Girl, named after an old mine outside of Butte, has now become one of the company’s most popular spirits, it, however, because outselling Bailey’s Irish Cream in the state of Montana. Barrett’s dad says “We wanted to make a product that was in a less competitive area and find a new market to tap into.” When Bespoke is now his asked why they tried that with such a difficult product, her response goes back to the tasting room. favorite spirit.





“Who wants to just drink gin or vodka out of little plastic cups? No one!” she laughs. “We thought having something lighter and gentler would be an interesting experience [in the tasting room].” McKee says Orphan Girl is made with house bourbon and a “shelf stabilized cream” so the FDA doesn’t consider it dairy and the distillery can make it on-site without extra regulations. Because it isn’t considered dairy, the bottles do not need refrigeration. Something McKee has noticed about Orphan Girl is that it appeals to a diverse group of drinkers. She cites the “little old ladies” who purchase bottles from the tasting room for their card parties. Then there are the bikers who ride through town with a stop at Headframe to have a “Dirty Girl” cocktail, Orphan Girl and root beer. She even gives bottles of Orphan Girl to Montana’s Governor Steve Bullock for him to keep in his office, not to drink, but to give as gifts to visitors. She says the product is something unique to Montana and people have an appreciation for that.




VISIT US! tap.beercup.com/artisan



Joel Kath of Proof in Fargo, ND, began his distillery four years ago and has been open for two and half years. However, his vodkabased cream liqueur has been in the works for almost 25 years. “Beer doesn’t agree with me,” he chuckles. “I’ve always been a spirit's guy.” When he first started to work with spirits in his home, he would make his own cream liqueurs using store bought Everclear and vodka. Then he would add macerated cherries and other fruits along with coffee and vanilla beans. He used the finished product to make himself and his friends what he calls “Happy Coffee” during cold North Dakota winters. When he decided to make his own vodka, the cream liqueur followed. That early recipe is the basis for 2Docks today. He agrees that cream liqueurs are difficult. When making his first batches he used evaporated milk, but it didn’t store well. He now uses a “stabilized base” for his cream, which is not considered dairy by the FDA. He also adds lemon and orange peel to provide a citrus touch. He makes his vodka with locally grown potatoes. Kath says the cream liqueur is fan favorite in the tasting room, however, outside sales are a bit lower volume compared to that ‘international cream liqueur.’ He thinks it is because of the slightly higher price point of his craft products. However, once people try 2Docks, they are hooked. “People do recognize a handcrafted product, a home-grown product,” he says. “And cream liqueur cocktails are easy to mix at home, usually only two ingredients, so it’s something people always have on hand.” Bespoke is currently available in New York and Georgia and 2Docks in North and South Dakota and western Minnesota. Nooku is currently only available in Colorado and Orphan Girl is available in most of the Northwestern and north Mid-western US. Buffalo Trace Bourbon Cream is available nationwide. WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM

WHISKEY: a singular passion


Al Laws’ namesake business, Laws Whiskey House, is a successful distillery in Denver. But equally important to him, it is also a research facility and obsession. “We’re just all about whiskey. When I was 16, I was drinking Jack Daniels,” he said, noting that he was in Canada where the laws were different. “I think there’s an endless amount of things you can WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM  

do with whiskey. Be narrow and deep is how I look at it.” His baseline product is the country’s first four-grain bonded bourbon, a mix of 60% corn, 20% wheat, and 10% each barley and rye. Years before ever opening his doors, he enlisted Bill Friel, former master distiller at Barton’s and a member of the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame, to help design everything from recipes to


distillery layout. “We knew what we wanted to achieve,” Laws said. He started learning some of the intricacies of distilling, and planning the layout for the distillery, saying he wanted it to be “like the bridge of the Starship Enterprise,” with the distiller able to survey the entire operation from a central location.“(Friel) said linear, and I said no. I wanted to stand here and know I have everything in hand,” Laws said. Eventually the day came to fire things up, and once heads started coming off of his first spirit run, Laws asked Friel, “When should I make the cut?” Friel cracked open a beer and told him, “It’s your whiskey.” “It was unnerving the first time,” Laws said. “He never told me what to do. He always asked, ‘What if you did X?,’ and made me think it through.” Laws continued to put away barrels under-the-radar for three years, using the name Gargoyle Enterprises — given that gargoyles are traditionally meant to ward off evil “spirits.: the first batch was finally ready in October 2011. Now he’s nearly filled the his space, and is almost



ready to open a new warehouse a couple blocks away from the distillery. At 31,000 square feet, it will store the bottling operation and up to 10,000 barrels, a major jump from about 1,700 now. Some of the space, as they grown into the new building, will be rented out for brewery storage as an incubator. The Alberta native has taken Friel’s lessons and applied them not just to a corn-based whiskey, but also to rye and barley. They’ve also done a deconstruction series of single-grain versions of each of the four grains that go into the flagship bourbon. Corn comes from the Whiskey Sisters in eastern Colorado, while other grains come from Colorado Malting Company. Laws believes that his materials are more than a commodity, and he’s proud to be using local grain from people he can know personally. “We pay more for materials, but we want to know who is growing the grain, where it’s coming from,” he said. One of those grains, CMC’s heirloom rye, went into the Laws spirit that recently won World’s Best Rye at the World Whiskies Awards. “We’re interested in traditional sour-mash whiskies, and just update them with these nuances,” he said. Their original malt whiskey recipe included two-row base malt, Munich, Abbey, 60L caramel, chocolate, and rye malts, but has been different each time, providing a spirit that is ever-changing. He’s also taken those Kentucky bourbon lessons from Friel to heart and applied them to the barley. “We do on-grain fermentation, sour mash, we use backset with our malt whiskey. We get all these scorched-grain flavors that become nutty, hazelnut, peanut,” he said. He’s had CMC smoke some of their barley with his barrels and used the resulting malt for whiskey. They’re preparing to release a series of whiskies this fall that have been finished in barrels including rum, cabernet, Port, Cognac, Armagnac, and muscat. “Those things are cool, that’s what you want to do. We’re in 12 states, but we don’t want to lose that intellectual curiosity. It’s an obsessive kind of thing.” His love of whiskey is singular. Laws has steered clear of gin, vodka and liqueurs. “I don’t like any of that. It would be disingenuous for me to do that,” he said, though noting that they’ve put up projects including rum, brandy and agave spirit. “We made it because we could, and it was a cool thing to do, but it’s not our core.” With a team of about 20 people, he said every person is a key member. They don’t have a head distiller or a master distiller. If you’re the distiller on duty, then you’re the head distiller. If you’re an employee, whether in the distillery, marketing, sales, front-ofhouse, then Laws believes “you should be at the table.” “We need those people, we need all their talents. This isn’t done by one person. It takes a team, everyone’s head on a swivel,” he said. “We’re not about one individual. All rise, all fall. We’re not looking at models of how to do stuff. We’re more like steer into the wave and figure it out. You don’t learn stuff when things go right.”



owered by Lesaffre, one of the world’s largest yeast and yeast derivatives manufacturer, we offer you the highest quality standard of products for spirit manufacturing. Through a dedicated range of active dry yeasts, we deliver innovative solutions to give you the ability to create the spirit you dream about. So, select the right choice from the SafSpirit lineup to create the ideal spirit!


Laws Whiskey House is located in Denver, CO. For more information visit www.lawswhiskeyhouse.com or call (720) 570-1420. WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM  



America finally has some vanguard distillers aiming to bring personality back to vodka and give the spirit the respect it deserves.


or the longest time, it seemed as though vodka never had a fighting chance. Legally described as a liquor which must be "produced from any material at or above 190° proof, and, if bottled, bottled at not less than 80° proof ... distilled, or so treated after distillation with charcoal or other materials, as to be without distinctive character, aroma, taste, or color."* Vodka was destined to be the milquetoast of the liquor cabinet — praised, if ever, for what it didn't have. Adding to that, the first vodka to hit mainstream USA was marketed as the ideal liquor for anyone who didn't like the taste of liquor. No taste, no texture, no smell became the trifecta of a perfect vodka. However, for the majority of vodka's history, the spirit had robust body and a defining flavor. The earliest vodkas were closer in personality to today's schnapps and eau de vies, and even as improvements in distillation carried vodka towards the nothingness it is known for today, vodka still retained a certain level of character. But, ‘tis said, it is always darkest before the dawn, and it seems America finally has some vanguard distillers aiming to bring personality back to vodka and give the spirit the respect it deserves. They all have a commonality of intent — a love of the spirit. This is not about the shape of the bottle or the fanciful story on the label. This is not about the unwritten mantra held amongst many a craft distiller, "Make vodka to pay the bills while the bourbon and whiskey age." This is about what you taste when their product hits your lips. They are proud of their vodka and rightly so. It's damn good. Ten of these renegade distillers sent samples to me: Blue Heron from Wilderness Trail, General John Stark from Flag Hill, Seven Grains Vodka from Las Vegas Distillery, Pur Class from Hendrick's, Bet from Beet Spirits, Y Town Vodka from Candella Micro-Distillery, Penn1681 Vodka from Philadelphia Distilling, Florida Cane Vodka

from St. Augustine Distillery, Corbin Sweet Potato from Corbin Distillery, and Vly Creek Vodka from Union Grove. Each vodka was different from the other and unique in its own special way. After three blind taste tests were held, no two people in any group picked the same first, second, and third favorite. Opinion was incredibly divisive. Some proclaimed Blue Heron gave off a hint of tequila. Others insisted the subtle flavor was bourbon. Debate erupted as to whether General John Stark or Pur Class or Corbin Sweet Potato had the most body. And when asked to taste again, everyone's order of preference remained exactly the same. There was also strong varied opinion about each vodka. There were three groups: a half dozen millennials, eight restaurant owners, and four distributors and liquor store buyers. Amongst the restaurant owners, things went so far as to get viciously personal. One reason could be the choice of base ingredients. Flag Hill and Union Grove Distillery use apples. Bet uses sugar beets. The folks at Hendrick's work with potatoes. St. Augustine and Candella use cane sugar. Las Vegas Distillery's specialty vodka is made from seven grains. Wilderness Trail uses the same mash as they do for their bourbon. Philadelphia Distillery make theirs from rye. And Corbin ferments sweet potatoes grown on their family farm. It may stem from each having their own view of what's most important when making the spirit. St. Augustine emphasises simplicity. Wilderness Trail and Flag Hill consider fermentation paramount. The latter of the two allow for diacetyl creation during fermentation which adds a natural softness to the end product, thus avoiding the use of glycerin or other post-distillation techniques. Union Grove spends considerable energy preparing the base ingredients. Hendrick's believes still design is key, so they built their own. Another reason might be that all of them, save for one, use

* CFR › Title 27 › Chapter I › Subchapter A › Part 5 › Subpart C › Section 5.22 > Paragraph (a)



local ingredients, which is a bit of an understatement considering the amount of emphasis they put on "going local." More than a marketing or philosophical statement, it is a defining factor in why their vodka tastes the way it does. "Vodka is a message, it is a statement ... it is the body of our cocktails,” says George Racz of Las Vegas Distillery. “And as a body you have to fill it with soul." That is not to say their interests lie solely in garnering regionally grown ingredients. Significant attention is spent ensuring their presence is a positive asset to the surrounding community; that personal successes spread beyond them, working towards the betterment of their towns as well. Beet Spirits, for example, spent precious time building relations with nearby family-owned farms;they now work with 3,000 of them. Flag Hill has put money in neighboring farmland in New Hampshire. Yet the most defining factor could possibly be the most ethereal one. All these distillers did things their own way. They didn't hire consultants, most are self-taught, almost all built their first stills themselves. There was also a confidence of conviction amongst each and every one of them. Starting a distillery is a daunting task, and all did so without hesitation. This is not to say they were wanton; quite the opposite. Diligence was task number one. But they never wavered or second guessed themselves. They did not copy or replicate. And most of them did all the work themselves — from creating the recipe, to designing the bottle shape and label, to marketing and distributing. Corbin goes so far as to grow their own sweet potatoes. A further defining factor is their honesty or, more accurately, the importance they put on being honest. All nine distilleries make it a point to let you know exactly what goes into each bottle. No smoke and mirrors. No abuse or misuse of concepts unfamiliar to the layman. And absolutely no shortcuts. Possibly the most striking part, however, is how different each distiller is from the other. Their ages spread over five decades. One worked as a concert promoter and eventually owned a casino, one was at AT&T for 40 years, one is a scientist, one a farmer, one a spray foam insulation technician. Their reasons for taking the plunge into the world of vodka varies equally as much. A sudden epiphany, a tour of a distillery, a desire to go beyond the beer- and wine-making they already knew, a hunger to make a vodka they could drink neat and unchilled. All of which adds up to one glaring reality: The Vodka Revolution has definitely begun, and whether you choose to participate as a drinker or are inspired to open your own distillery, never forget to forge your own path, build your own opinions. The status quo is obsolete. With vodka today, the possibilities are endless, and thanks to the vanguards already crafting unique product with fierce character, the future is completely unscripted.

I N F O @ S P I R I T S C O N S U LT I N G .CO M

21 2. 292. 81 93



Harry Haller is an independent consultant focused on working with sugarcane-based distilleries. He can be reached at 00harryhaller@gmail.com or (310) 933-6430.




MOST DISTILLERS have a keen desire to understand the science of flavor. Just how does one create those wonderful fruity notes? Or all those caramel flavors? Creating the perfect spirit is what all distillers are chasing after. Understanding how each chemical compound tastes, smells, changes, ages and more importantly, how to create that compound, is a tall order. The world of flavor creation is complex and you’ll need to understand a little bit about some seemingly scary sounding topics, mainly organic chemistry and flavor chemistry. 100 

Start by taking a look at ethanol. A few things can happen to ethanol under the right conditions, which, in most cases in this industry, is in a barrel. If ethanol is oxidized, (which in simplest terms means to have a loss of electrons or to have a chemical reaction with oxygen) it can turn into acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde is a very common congener and flavor compound. In spirits it can give off a green apple or fruity note and additionally it can be used when creating those respective artificial or natural flavors. If acetaldehyde is oxidized further, it turns into acetic acid. Acetic acid, as many of you may know, is easily recognizable as vinegar. Depending on the individual, that could be good or bad. In this case it is good, but not for the most obvious reason. Three different flavor compounds are now swimming around: ethanol, acetaldehyde, and acetic acid. What’s next? The answer is esterification, or the creation of esters. Esters are compounds that have a pleasant/fruity aroma and can only be formed through a reaction involving an alcohol and an acid. Carboxylic acids, which are acids that contain a carboxyl group or COOH, are most common in this reaction, the simplest of which is acetic acid. Acetic acid and ethanol will react to create an ester. This leads back to why acetic acid can be good. Ethanol and acetic acid together create ethyl acetate. Ethyl acetate can be described as pineapple, wine-like, bittersweet and can be used in flavor production to make all sorts of



different fruity flavor concentrates. To put that into perspective, one alcohol can theoretically create three additional flavor compounds. The flavor ingredients you start with will determine how many all of the potential flavor compounds you will end up with. Going back to the beginning basic organic chemistry, esters are formed from a reaction between alcohols and acids. But this is not exclusive to one alcohol and one acid. If a distillate has one acid and five different alcohols present, that single acid could react with all five alcohols creating five different ester compounds each with their own unique aroma and taste. Now that you have a basic understanding of how these compounds get created. For a quick understanding of flavor chemistry, an easy way to understand it is like cooking. For example, let’s say that you want to make pasta sauce, so you bring in five chefs and ask them to make you pasta sauce. Each one of those sauces will contain a lot of the same ingredients like tomatoes, onions, garlic, and red wine. But after all is said and done, you will have five different sauces, because each chef will make it slightly differently. Now, to create flavors, just replace chefs with flavorists and the sauce ingredients/pantry with a lab bench and flavor ingredients. If each flavorist were to create an apple flavor, all would start with similar compounds like ethyl acetate or amyl acetate. Each base would then be supplemented with other chemicals to achieve a fresh and green WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM
























apple flavor with acetaldehyde, or a cooked, ripe and pineapple notes. Ethyl lactate is the ester of With the basic apple flavor with furfural. ethanol and lactic acid. Ethyl alcohol is generated Let's highlight ten very common compounds from simple fermentation of the mash with yeast. understanding of that are created during fermentation. Those To get the lactic acid, one would have to compounds are: Acetaldehyde, Acetone, intentionally infect mash with a lactic acid organic chemistry Methanol, Ethyl Acetate, Ethyl Alcohol, Propyl bacteria. This can be done scientifically, in order Alcohol, Butyl Alcohol, Acetic Acid, Amyl Alcohol, to maximize the yields from the mash, and still and flavor chemistry, and Furfural. Each of these different compounds get just enough lactic acid without completely give a unique aroma and taste to the spirit. The souring the product. Together, along with heat it is much easier to pasta sauce analogy can be related to distilling and time, the ethanol and lactic acid should react as well, replacing chefs with distillers and the creating ethyl lactate and water. This method will intentionally flavor tomatoes and onions with types of yeast, barrels, achieve half of the desired flavor profile. and storage conditions . Each fermenter and each To get butyl alcohol, get a yeast that has been an aged spirit with barrel will make its own unique flavor profile with customized to your needs. Certain strains of yeast all the compounds the same ingredients. Additionally, all of these can produce a minimal amount of butyl alcohol, compounds are used in the development of while still producing a large proportion of ethyl created naturally flavors used in everyday products. alcohol. Acetic acid is created by most yeast as A distillate containing all of these compounds a result of being stressed and/or exposed to heat. through fermentation. We use mash that has a specific yeast strain that has an enormous flavor potential. From alcohol flavor compounds alone, a simple formula can be creates a small amount of butyl alcohol when used. 3x+x2=potential flavor compounds, with x being alcohols. If fermented under hot conditions. At the end of the fermentation, a distillate had five alcohols in it and was then barreled, each of we then intentionally infect the mash with a lactic acid bacteria. those five alcohols create their own aldehyde, acid and ester. The mash now has all of the proper constituents to create a creamy Each of those acids made from each alcohol will then react with and fruity whiskey, which are ethyl alcohol, butyl alcohol, lactic the other alcohols, creating a new ester. With five alcohols, we have acid and acetic acid. Of course, this is theoretical, and hopefully the potential for forty different flavor compounds. That does not after aging the ingredients properly react with each other to create include all the other potential acids that can be created or other the perfect profile. alcohols, aldehydes, and even ketones such as acetone. The sky's Chemistry can greatly affect the outcomes of a distillery. Whether the limit as to what can be created in a spirit or a flavor. Ingenuity the product hits or misses is up to how a distiller is manipulating is the name of the game when it comes to distillers and flavorists all of the compounds presented. Chemistry has an important role creating the next best product. to play in all aspects of the distilling process: converting starches With the basic understanding of organic chemistry and flavor to sugars, fermentation, distillation, and aging. chemistry, it is much easier to intentionally flavor an aged spirit Tyler Gomez-Basauri graduated from University of Rochester with with all the compounds created naturally through fermentation. a degree in chemistry. He got his start in the beverage alcohol industry For example, if the goal is to have a whiskey after aging that will at Alltechâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Lexington Brewing and Distilling Company. After that, have a creamy and fruity flavor profile, then we can apply organic he caught the fermentation bug and found a position at Moonshine chemistry and flavor chemistry knowledge. There are two flavor University, an education distillery located in Louisville, Kentucky. At compounds that come to mind that yield those flavor notes: ethyl Moonshine University Tyler runs the distillery, manages various distilling experiments, and helps distilleries develop their mash bills and unique lactate and butyl acetate. Ethyl lactate gives a buttery, creamy spirits. and light coconut flavor/aroma. Butyl acetate gives sweet, fruity,

Three generations of raising premium grains for distilleries of all sizes. distillinggrains.com TOBY BLAKE 102â&#x20AC;








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This is the third installment of a four-story series on designing superior visitor services experiences at your distillery. Once your distillery has grown large enough to have a dedicated visitor services staff — even if it’s just one part-time employee — you’ll need to develop an entirely new element of management. Distillery visitor services staff perform important functions including educating consumers about your brand and products, leading tours and tastings, managing the gift shop, answering the phone and email, keeping the facility clean, and other miscellaneous tasks. However, distillers often ignore or minimize visitor services. To someone steeped in the technical difficulties of spirits production and distribution, the ”soft” guest services tasks might seem obvious and easy — but they are neither. Visitor services is as much a production environment as traditional manufacturing.

For visitor services, the product is delivery of a quality guest experience that accomplishes specific business objectives. Because tasks associated with visitors are less tangible than manufacturing a physical product, they’re more difficult to learn, clarify, and manage. Guest services isn’t sexy, or glamorous, but left unmanaged, it can be an expense without a return. A distiller who leaves visitors services employees to their own devices can expect a disregard of both guests and business objectives, mangled (and potentially brand damaging) outward communication, and constant difficulty executing visitor experiences.

CONSIDER THIS: If you aren’t training your staff, they are training each other without you


BE INTENTIONAL The foundation of staff training is making explicit how you want your staff to behave and what you want them to accomplish. There’s no substitute for writing it down; writing clarifies and formalizes the vision of success. So, in addition to clear, written branding and messaging for both your house and your individual products, you will need clear written cultural guidelines and visitor services operations systems. Together, these two components answer the question, “What does success look like?” Both replies should include textual descriptions and key performance indicators (KPIs). KPIs are metrics which provide the ability to monitor and evaluate the success of your visitor services program. Some easy KPIs are a number of tours, ratings on Yelp and other review platforms, social media sign-ups, and bottle sales. KPIs must always be clearly defined and communicated between management and staff. Nothing will drive your staff to frustration more than not understanding how they’re being evaluated. (Part 4 of this series will provide an in-depth treatment of metrics and analysis for your visitors program.)

HOSPITALITY AND THE CULTURE THAT CREATES IT Every company has its own unique culture, and if your culture isn’t intentionally created by you, it will be created de facto by your employees. As onehalf of the answer to “What does success look like?”, culture should explicitly include how your employees are expected to behave to each other, to you, and to


the visitors. It may seem so basic it doesn’t need mentioning, but if you’re not mentioning it, how else can you be certain your staff doesn't say something inadvertently inappropriate? Culture and hospitality can’t be bought or outsourced. Even if you hire an experienced visitor services manager and populate your staff with nice and competent people, the ultimate responsibility for creating and maintaining a positive culture rests with you. Culture begins with treating everyone — guests and fellow employees — with respect. That means you as the owner have to publically model that behavior. No amount of motivational posters will compensate if you’re known to treat customers, competitors or employees with disrespect. The next level is enthusiasm. You may be highly enthusiastic about your business, but think of it this way: You have a distillery, your staff members have a job. Enthusiasm underlies employee engagement and translates into visitor excitement — but it doesn’t come spontaneously when you sign a paycheck. Enthusiasm requires constant work and attention. It isn’t automatic, but it is infectious. An enthusiastic employee is proud to promote your products and would never forget to offer a tasting to a visiting spirits writer or any other guest. Respect and enthusiasm produce care. Because customers form an emotional relationship with your brand, hospitality can bond your visitors to your brand...and a lack of it may repel them from it. In his best-selling book Setting the Table, serial restaurateur Danny Meyer says “service is the technical delivery of a product. Hospitality is how the delivery of that product makes its recipient feel.” Your staff must care about how the other employees and the guests feel. Beyond that is details. A strong and clear culture also leads to employee self-management. A culture where every staff member cares about both the company and the visitors will be readily apparent upon entry, but so to will be the converse. A distillery where culture is an afterthought will be obvious to the visitor and might be marked by a lack of greeting, cigarette butts littering the entryway, and halfeaten lunches in plain view. Morale matters. But also remember that hospitality isn’t an end goal unto itself. “I had a great time” is meaningless if the visitor doesn’t ever buy your products or promote your brand.


SYSTEMS FOR SERVICES Like spirits production, delivery of a quality guest experience requires an understanding of the process and explicit systems to ensure success. Developing systems starts with identifying the areas of responsibility of your visitors services program. Typically, these are outward-facing communication (phone, email, possibly some social media), reception/greeting guests, tour and tasting experiences, and gift shop. Visitors service systems are built with the day as the primary unit of time. Each day should include an opening meeting, a review of that day’s events and bookings, responsibility assignment delegation, and any updates on distillery or portfolio changes. Failure to have an all-hands review can result in failure to have someone where they’re supposed to be at a given time,like a distiller or other key person not present for a scheduled interview. Each department within the visitors program will also need their own operational guidelines and checklists. For example, reception staff will need instructions for answering calls, taking reservations, greeting guests, etc. Gift shop employees will need instructions for using the register, handling cash, restocking, tracking inventory and closing. Specifically for your tour and tasting staff, you’ll need a ‘script’ covering each stop along the tour path, starting with gathering the tour group and closing with a thankyou. Each stop will consist of key communication points which clarify and reinforce your brand message and differentiate your brand in the marketplace. Tour staff will also need a daily checklist covering setup and cleanup plus detailing props, spirits, or other items needed. Without an explicit written reference, don’t be surprised if a tour guide brings a group into the tasting room only to find there are no tasting cups! If that happens, everything about your company and brand will look amateurish. Consider compiling all visitors program system documents into a single “Visitors Program Bible.” In addition to the operational instructions and checklists, include reference information with directions to your distillery, all forms of contact information and answers to common questions about your distillery and your products. Finally, construct a “sensitive topics” list which explicitly delinates acceptable versus Once you’re clear on your off-limits topics, and includes what to do if a culture and systems, you’ll guest asks a question the staff member doesn’t need to communicate them know the answer. In an effort to be helpful to to your staff. All of the guests, staff may spill sensitive information, branding, messaging, product be derogatory towards competitors or their information, KPIs, bookings, products, commit the company to obligations system changes, and other impossible to meet, or even outright lie if infrastructure necessitate they’ve never been instructed not to do so. constant communication. Just like in a traditional manufacturing “The greatest problem environment, systems compensate for human in communication is the limitations of memory and communication. illusion that it has been Systems also enable prioritization and help accomplished.” compensate for the difficulties of a chaotic  — George Bernard Shaw environment with guests coming and going


and ensure nothing gets missed. And as your company grows, your visitors program systems will need to evolve with it.

Communication cannot occur without effort on your part, and the best way to ensure sufficient


communication is to schedule it. Make checklists for daily, weekly, and monthly meetings and for special occurrences. For example, when a new spirit is released, every single employee should be versed in its brand message and flavor message — and having a release checklist can help ensure that happens. It may be surprising, but it’s entirely possible to have gift shop employees who don’t know who the head distiller is or don’t know anything about the spirits they sell — even if they’ve been with the company for years. Keep a communication items list and read it at every appropriate meeting. Items should stay on the list for at least two weeks. Yes, some employees will get tired of hearing them but remember that not everyone attends every meeting. People get sick, have rotating shifts, take vacations, etc. Schedule celebration, too! If you get media coverage, win an award or complete a major distillery project, be sure to include it in the communications list. Communication needs to touch every employee. Tour guides, support staff, gift shop, management and even janitorial — everyone is a potential brand ambassador. Don’t allow a guest asking the question ‘What makes your product special?’ to be met with a blank stare — by anyone. Finally, remember that communication is two-way: listening to concerns is the best way to identify problem spots so you can address them. If your staff knows when you will be available to them, they’ll be less likely to interrupt your day with nonpressing items.


TRAINING, REHEARSALS, AND REVIEWS Was your first fermentation or still run the best? Of course not. That first attempt revealed unexpected problems and opportunities for improvement. The same is true with visitor services systems, especially tour and tasting experiences. Rehearsals will allow you to discover possible fail points in the guest experience. Bring in volunteers to create groups as large as you expect to take the tour, then solicit honest feedback. (You’re offering free spirits tastings, it should be easy to come up with people to volunteer.) If your tasting room is an echo chamber and a large group can’t hear your guide at all, then the tasting will have a negative impact on the experience and your sales. Guests will lead their own tastings and who knows what the message will be! Remember that each new employee will need focused education. ‘Tag-along’ training tends to drift from the culture and system you’ve worked so hard to establish. And schedule reviews, especially with tour

guides. Without monitoring, scripts can drift, too. Staff training is an intentional approach to ensuring return value for the expense of employees. It’s also boring, slow work. The end result is nebulous and insubstantial. But it matters. All of the time, effort, and money spent on spirit production and brand development can be wasted if staff culture and visitors program systems aren’t given the same intentional emphasis or are left to develop on their own. Staff management requires:

»»Clear brand and

products messages

»»Explicit metrics »»Intentional culture »»Specific systems »»Constant communication Plus a regular investment of time, effort and focus to maintain it.


All of the negative examples included in this article are real experiences that I’ve encountered at distilleries. And — every single time — none of the owners or managers were aware that there was an issue with their distillery’s guest experience severe enough to turn visitors off of their brand. Read back over them and ask yourself if you’re actively preventing those types of problems.

Tim Knittel is a bourbon educator, writer and event specialist in Lexington, Kentucky. He formerly managed the culinary and VIP hospitality programs for the Woodford Reserve Distillery. He now runs Distilled Living which provides private bourbon education, brand representation and distillery consulting services. He holds the title Executive Bourbon Steward through the Distilled Spirits Epicenter.




magine this nightmare scenario: You’re just days short of completing your distillery expansion project and starting your first batch of a new product when catastrophe strikes. It can come in many forms — a failed inspection, an equipment malfunction, or a dissatisfied stakeholder — but whatever it is, you’re suddenly faced with an enormous obstacle that requires additional time and money to overcome, whether you have it or not.

If that thought gives you the shivers, it should. The good news is, you can avoid those costly scenarios by starting your project with a broad phase of concept development and planning in the form of a project delivery model. A good project delivery model helps businesses create a comprehensive approach to achieving their goals that is nimble enough to allow for modifications at the start of a project, when they are less expensive and more efficient to make.


Now that we covered the basics, we want to dive into a couple of key details you need to work out WRITTEN BY SHANNON O'NEIL with your team during the early planning stages to avoid encountering those nightmare scenarios further down the road. In this article, we’ll focus on the concept development phase of the project delivery model, which is the phase following business planning, where you’ve defined your opportunity and identified the products for your distillery or expansion.

SET PROJECT OBJECTIVES, KPIS & A MILESTONE SCHEDULE Your first step is to define the business need that your project will satisfy. Do you need to scale your production? Create a new product? Launch a new location? Once you’ve established the ultimate goal of your project, it will become the final destination


on your project road map. But before taking off on your journey, it’s important to also define what success will look like when you reach the end of the road. “There are a number of different values you can set as a top priority for your project,” says Anthony White, Division Leader for Beer, Wine and Spirits at Haskell. “Is it the cheapest solution? Is it the most aesthetic way to meet

your business need? Is it the highest quality product? It’s critical you communicate to your team what the priority is right from the start.” Defining success for your project will also help set the key performance indicators (KPIs) and important moments along your milestone schedule for the project. Although some important points are universal to any project — securing your

financing, producing your first product for market, etc. — others will be dictated based on the priorities you’ve set. These will ultimately act as checkpoints along your journey to make sure you’re staying on course, on schedule and on budget. Your milestones will also give you a better idea of how long it’s going to take to complete your project.

“It’s very common for us to sit down with a client who expects to accomplish a project in three months, but when we look at the time needed just for pulling permits and procuring equipment, the project will likely take up to a year,” says White. “Setting milestones establishes at a high level what needs to get done to get you from today to the end of your project.”


DEFINE A STAKEHOLDER BUY-IN PLAN Each member of your skilled team of experts is responsible for a piece of the puzzle, but are you sure all of those pieces will fit together when it’s time to complete the project? If not, you could be left with another costly obstacle and a fragmented team at the worst possible time. It’s very rare that folks from different backgrounds and functions and work streams have the same objectives. For example, someone from a procurement background will tend to think in terms of low cost, short delivery, ease of obtaining the source for the product, minimal customization and easy substitutes, but that doesn’t necessarily align with an operations or engineering perspective where they might want high functionality or flexibility. If you’ve already identified what success will look like through your project objectives, KPIs and milestone schedule, you simply need to translate those values into priorities for each segment of your team. This is when you have to make some tradeoffs. Once you determine which work streams will conflict, you can resolve the issues by assigning priorities and also nurturing those relationships along the way. Not only is this a critical point in the planning process, but it’s something you should repeat throughout the project to ensure that none of your stakeholders are alienated in the process.”


DETERMINE MASS/ENERGY BALANCES WITH A PROCESS FLOW DIAGRAM Here’s the biggest trip hazard to any food and beverage project: the technical details. If you don’t have the right equipment, the right process flow, and the right resources, your project will fail. You know the basics to distilling craft spirits — sugar source preparation (i.e. grains), mashing, fermenting, distilling, blending, and a bottling or barreling station — but you’re not building a moonshine still; you’re creating a commercial business. You need to scale your process to meet the production estimates you’ve set for your first five years, which means you probably need multiple mash cookers, high capacity fermenters and distillers, storage for your grain or other raw materials and storage for your final product whether it’s waiting for bottling or set aside to age. A project delivery model starts with a basic block diagram that identifies each major step in the process of producing whichever spirit or spirits you have selected. Once that’s complete, you can take each block in the diagram and create a detailed process flow diagram (PFD) for your facility. The process flow diagram not only shows path of production from the raw materials to a finished output ready for market, it also identifies what equipment and utilities you’ll need to get there.

Once you’ve added your list of equipment needed at each stage in the PFD, you’ll need to calculate your mass and energy balances. For the mass balance, you need to know the mass and volume flow rates in pounds per hour (lbs/hr) or gallons per minute (GPM) you need to move your materials and fluids from one piece of equipment to the next in order to meet your daily, monthly and annual proof gallon production goals. Knowing the rates you need to reach for efficient production will tell you how many product transfer pumps you need and where to strategically place them to provide the best flow and shortest fill times for your equipment. This works in tandem with your piping system, which should be properly sized to optimize material cost versus the energy required for fluid transfer. You’ll also need to note where flow panels should be installed. A flow panel, similar to a railroad switcher, gives you options to change the direction of your product flow between equipment pieces. So, if you’re making a spirit that needs to be distilled, blended, and distilled a second time, you’ll need a flow panel to move the product from the distiller to a blending tank and back. You might also use a flow panel that takes whiskey from the distiller straight to a station for filling

barrels, but can be switched to send the final product from the distiller to the blending and bottling station. The PFD should also illustrate areas where you need specific energy and utility resources. Heating and cooling are critical to the spirit production process. During the fermentation stage for instance, yeast has to be added at controlled temperatures. If the mash is too hot, it will kill the yeast, but if it’s too cold, the yeast won’t activate. You need to have your heating and cooling systems planned around your equipment. It’s helpful to consolidate the equipment where you’ll need to use energy like steam or cooling water elements so that those resources are used as efficiently as possible. That will provide you with a strong energy balance that keeps material and energy cost at an optimum level. At this stage, you should also take into account the maintenance needs of your equipment. How will you clean the pieces? Larger operations may want to procure equipment with built-in clean-in-place (CIP) technology while smaller distilleries can utilize a portable skid to access and clean each piece of equipment. Just make sure your equipment layout allows for ease of access to conduct any external cleaning or other maintenance to ensure the longevity and safety of your equipment.


CONDUCT A THOROUGH CODE ANALYSIS If you don’t know this, you’re probably in the wrong line of work, but alcohol happens to be a highly flammable substance. Consequently, there are a host of strongly enforced codes at the international, national, state and local levels to ensure the safety of your staff. The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), Office of Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), state and municipal agencies, are just a few of the governing bodies with codes applicable to your project, in addition to the universally accepted international building codes. It is vital that you research and analyze these codes at the outset of your project so that you will have a plan to present to inspectors and code enforcement officials instead of looking to them for guidance to fill the gaps.

This is where your engineering team gets involved. By going into a deeper code analysis of your mechanical and electrical systems, looking at international building codes, heat and fire protection codes dealing with flammable materials, each engineer can point out their applicable areas for concern that will help you compile a working code analysis document. In many cases, adhering to codes, particularly those dealing with flammable components, requires additional building considerations. You may have to create separate storage areas for high proof product in order to meet certain occupancy requirements and to identify hazard classifications for flammable vapors. There are also implications to consider for the electrical equipment you’ll be using, because many of them will have different specifications to suit the hazard classifications.”

KNOW YOUR FINANCIAL NEEDS WITH A ROUGH ORDER OF MAGNITUDE Here’s a key component we haven’t addressed yet: financing. Before you invest in real estate for a new facility or start pulling permits for an expansion, you need to know if the scope of what you have planned is feasible with the budget at your disposal. “Once you’ve got your target, you need to do a little bit of work to figure out if that’s reasonable or not,” says White. “If you’ve got access to three million dollars, but your list of estimated costs says ten million dollars, then you’ve got a problem.” Your milestone schedule, process flow diagram, and code analysis should give you a big picture view of the major costs that will be involved in your project. This process, known by project managers

WITH A PLAN IN PLACE, YOU’RE READY TO TAKE THE NEXT STEP Once you’ve completed the above documents and processes to establish a foundation for your project, it’s time to move from the concept development and planning phase of the project delivery model to the execution phase.

We’ll cover those steps in our next installment, but for now you can rest easy knowing the additional planning process steps you’ve taken will ward off those nightmare scenarios down the road.

as a rough order of magnitude (ROM), should give you a ballpark estimate within +/-30% of your actual costs. If your projected budget doesn’t match with the estimates assessed in your ROM, you’ll need to decide if you have to change the scope of what you want to accomplish, or change your funding sources. Whether you’re dealing with a major capex project or relying on investor support, the ROM will help you decide how, or if, you can proceed. “It’s important to note that this is not intended to be your final estimate,” says White. “It’s just a few checkpoints to see if you should continue investing in this idea or, if it’s not feasible, you might need to drop it and move on.”

Anthony White leads the Beer, Wine & Spirits division at Haskell which is dedicated to engineering and installing world-class manufacturing systems and facilities for clients in the Beer, Wine & Spirits Markets. Anthony graduated from the University of Florida’s Hough Graduate School of Business with a Master of Business Administration and from the University of Florida with a Bachelors in Construction Management, and is a Certified General Contractor.

Family-owned & operated whiskey barrel cooperage & stave manufacturer




MISSOURI WHITE OAK www.barrel53cooperage.com 108 










No two are alike… On a clear, cold December Saturday at 4 AM, a warehouse building in South Denver buzzes with activity. In a few hours bottles of Snowflake, an annual limited-release whiskey from Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey Distillery, will go on sale. Russell Cowdin of Grand Junction, CO, stands closest to the front doors keeping warm inside a heated tent. “I just parked my car and planted a chair,” says Cowdin. That was over 36 hours ago. Now dozens of “Stranafans” are camped around the block. At the front of the building are two food trucks and a coffee cart, all doing brisk business. Various genres of music play from portable stereos. Throughout the line are campers from Colorado, Utah, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, and even New York. Is any whiskey worth sidewalk camping in the bitter cold for? To these folks, the answer is yes. When he began blending whiskeys, Stranahan’s Master Distiller Rob Dietrich was simply trying to keep his job interesting. Stranahan’s was founded on one type of spirit, an American single malt whiskey -- and years later that’s still the only spirit the distillery produces. However, Dietrich was aging Stranahan’s whiskey in a variety of used barrels and casks that once held wine, beer, and Cognac, trying to see what kinds of flavors he could get, stretching the boundaries of the original, hoping they would mature into future special releases. For him it was challenging and fun. WWW.ART ISANSP IRITMAG.COM  

“This is where I get to color outside the lines. I get to create an unusual expression every year,” he says. For those first Snowflake releases, he originally picked from barrels holding the same spirit. Release No. 1 was called the Port Barrel because it contained whiskey only aged in port wine barrels. No. 2 was the Cab Franc Barrel and so on. Those early batches produced about 250 bottles each. Over time Dietrich began blending from different spirit casks giving the batches even more complex characteristics and the bottle number grew from a couple hundred to a couple thousand. As these releases gained attention throughout Colorado, Dietrich began naming them after the state’s fourteen-thousand foot mountain peaks. Since

the state has 52 of them, he won’t run out of names anytime soon. Using only his nose and taste buds and some trial and error, he blends these flavors together. To come up with each blend, he takes home beakers of whiskey from each of the 40-plus barrels he keeps around the distillery. Turning his kitchen table into a chemistry lab, he creates small combinations


from each flask, labels them with the combination ratio, and sets aside the ones that appeal to him. Once he has a few dozen, he narrows them down to a handful. From those he selects the one that will become Snowflake. He also keeps on hand the previous Snowflake iterations - 2017 marks Batch #20 - so that he doesn’t recreate what has been done before. “I want to out Snowflake the last Snowflake,” he laughs. For the first few releases, Dietrich says they would put the release date on Stranahan’s Facebook page,always at 8 AM on a Saturday. He and the staff noticed those days were extra busy. Then people started waiting outside the building before they opened. “It has been extraordinary to see how it has evolved from being a very busy Saturday to people waiting for us to open the doors. It just became this event,” he says. He now makes it a point to arrive at the distillery at 3 AM on release day to greet the folks in line. “It’s important to me to come in early,”

he says. “I’ll walk the line a couple of times and thank people for coming out. I’ll shake people’s hands, talk with them, get them excited. The biggest thing is that we are all here for our mutual love of whiskey.” He says after years of practice, the staff handles the event like a well-oiled machine. About 6 AM on the day of the release, the campers pack up their tents and belongings. It’s surprising orderly; no one tries to cut in line. Once everyone is on their feet, staff members hand out silver tickets used to purchase the bottles, a limit of two per person. When tickets run out, a sidewalk sign is set down designating the end of the line. Those behind the sign are turned away, however, Dietrich says they have never had any issues with angry customers. “There’s a camaraderie of people waiting in line together. It’s very organic and natural,” he says. However, there are those that try to take advantage of the limited quantity for personal gain. Specifically, people who sell the second bottle online

afterward. “I’ll see things on Craigslist, which is illegal by the way,” he laughs. “You have to have a liquor license to sell alcohol. We sell them for $100 [a bottle]. I’ll see people selling them for $400 online before we even open. Our whole point is to keep it accessible. We could sell it for $300 [a bottle] probably and people would still buy it, but there’s something about keeping it accessible that’s really important.” Cowdin plans on returning for release No. 20 this December. Dietrich says they do hold over extra bottles of each Snowflake. While some are for posterity, most end up in the distillery’s tasting room, so those who can’t (or don’t want to) stand in line in Colorado in December, can visit the Denver distillery, take the tour or simply order a dram in the cocktail lounge.

The annual release of Stranahan’s Snowflake usually happens the first Saturday of December and is officially announced on the distillery’s social media sites about two weeks prior. Visit www.stranahans.com for more info.

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he importance of starting with clean grain when creating a distilled spirit is of the utmost importance. For grain to be clean, it needs to be free of plant residue, inferior kernels, and kernels of undesired types of grains. To ensure that the grain meets the quality levels desired, the key is to start with a high-quality product straight from the field. Modern farm machinery is able to produce a much cleaner product than was possible in the past. Growing conditions, however, often result in low quality kernels mixed in with the good kernels. Therefore, almost all harvested grain can benefit from being cleaned mechanically. A variety of machines can be used to sort grain by size, weight, density and, in some cases, by its visual appearance. Sometimes only one machine is needed to reach the quality level desired; more often though, there is a progression of machines used to make a final product. The first machine used in the grain cleaning process is usually a fan mill. These cleaning machines will sort the grain according to size and remove any plant residue using air movement and perforated screens. The fan mill cleaning process begins when the grain enters a small holding tank that regulates the flow of grain. When the grain leaves this tank, it is in a slow, steady stream so that air blowing from a fan is able to remove any plant residue from the grain. After this short fall, the grain lands on a set of dual screens. These screens are set at a decline, and shake constantly so that the grain moves across them. Of the two screens, the top screen has holes that are large enough that the grain should fall through it. This leaves only large contaminants on top of the screen, where they are disposed of. Once on the second screen, the grain continues to slide across it, but in this case, the holes in the screen are sized so that the grain should WWW.ART ISANSP IRITMAG.COM â&#x20AC;


not fall through them. Therefore, small contaminates fall through and are removed. Once the grain has been across this initial set of screens, it is common for it to proceed to a second set of screens. This set of screens will repeat the process that the first set performed, but with holes being closer to the ideal grain size. Once the grain has finished moving across these screens, it will once again be subjected to air blown by fan. This time, the air movement will be stronger and designed to remove underweight kernels, which tend

to be of poor quality. With the use of the two fans and multiple sets of screens, the fan mill should produce a final product of the correct size and free of plant residue. It is common for a fan mill to remove 10-15 percent of the original grain supply. If the grain is initially of high quality, that may be all the cleaning needed to produce a satisfactory product. A second machine that is often utilized after a fan mill is called a gravity table. It sorts the grain by density. This sorting is most important when dealing with grains


that may have been infected with some disease near the end of their maturity. Since the infection would occur late in the grains maturing process, the size and weight would be similar to a healthy kernel. With a gravity table that specializes in density it is possible to remove these slightly lighter kernels. A gravity table has a flat surface with small holes where air is forced through, much like an air hockey table. The top surface is then elevated at one corner so that this corner is the highest point and the opposite corner is the lowest. This angled surface is then quickly shaken so as to throw anything sitting on its surface to the highest corner. Grain is fed into the lowest corner at a steady rate. Grain that has low density will float on the air and slide off the surface to a reservoir, where it will be discarded. The grain of the desired density will not float on the air and thus the shaking surface will throw it up hill to the higher corner where it will be collected for production. The fan speed, shaker speed, angle of incline and rate of grain entering can all be adjusted to achieve the desired results. Since the grain being cleaned by a gravity table has usually already been cleaned, there is usually less grain discarded unlike the fan mill â&#x20AC;&#x201D; a rate of 5-10 percent is

to be expected. This number can increase or decrease according to what the operator is trying to accomplish and how clean the grain was when it entered the gravity table. A color sorting machine is a newer method that has the ability to sort the grain by its appearance, to a startling degree. With this machine, grain flows into the intake and is directed to a number of different conveyors that arrange the grain so that each kernel is in an individual cup. These conveyors then move the grain to a dropoff, where it free falls for four to six inches. While the kernels are free falling, there are a number of electronic cameras that take pictures of the grain. These images are then processed by a computer to judge if the grains are the correct color, shape, size, or any other attribute that the cameras can catch. If the grain is judged to be desirable, it will fall directly into a collecting device and be used for production. If the kernel is found to be undesirable, a small puff of air will blow on the kernel and push it into a reservoir for discarded grain. All this happens in the time it takes the grain to fall four to six inches. A color sorter does an amazing job, but the investment in one is prohibitive for all but the most demanding of applications. The

percentage of grain discarded by a color sorter is normally around five percent â&#x20AC;&#x201D; which is low because the grain has been cleaned extensively before entering a color sorter. There are other machines that take different approaches to cleaning grains. Some are for specific purposes, such as separating round seeds from flat ones or removing beards and hulls from kernels. The most difficult thing for a cleaning machine to do is to separate two types of kernels that have similar characteristics. This is most evident when rye and wheat kernels are mixed. It is almost impossible to separate the two. Removing soybeans from corn is very challenging as well. The key to finishing with a highquality product is to begin with a high-quality product. It is much better to take good grain and clean it so that it becomes exceptional. If the cleaning process begins with poor quality grain, the final product, regardless of effort or skill, will not be satisfactory.

Brett Glick is a farmer and business owner from Columbus, Indiana. He and his brother, Trevor, operate their family farm. They also own and operate their private seed company, L&M Glick Seed, which sells corn, soybean, and wheat seed directly to customers and to the wholesale market.

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As the spirits industry becomes more competitive, the number of one-off expressions—a category that includes store picks, single barrels, exclusive releases, and private bottlings —are on the rise. That trend can quickly be confirmed by a quick wander down the whiskey aisle at your favorite liquor store, where there’s likely no shortage of hanger tags, stickers, and shelf talkers highlighting limited-edition releases. Once the domain of Scotch independent bottlers and big Kentucky distilleries, a growing number of craft distillers are now getting in on the limited release action. For smaller producers, exclusive releases can be an appealing way to move product, engage their customer base, educate consumers, and develop deeper relationships with retailers and distributors. However, they can also pose a few pitfalls. To make private bottlings work for you, like virtually everything else in life, effective planning and a little strategic thinking is key.





AT RETAIL In traditional retail environments, single-barrel, small-batch, and store pick releases are nothing new. Binny’s Beverage Depot in Chicago, for example, regularly offers hand-picked releases from big distilleries in Scotland and Kentucky as well as smaller craft distillers. “We’re longtime supporters of the craft spirits business,” says Brett Pontoni, Specialty Spirits Buyer at Binny’s, “and we make a concerted, proactive effort to support craft producers.” Binny’s store pick program encompasses a range of formats, from traditional projects like smallbatch picks of existing products, to more ambitious releases like a


TIPS FOR DEVELOPING A PRIVATE BOTTLE PROGRAM Don’t undercut your core product line. Think of any one-off release as an extension of your existing portfolio, never a replacement, and make sure your retailer or distributor isn’t interested in only selling one-offs, which turns you into a third party contractor. Think of hand-pick projects as an opportunity to develop relationships first, and a way to move incremental volume second. Converting the staff of a local bar or retailer into an informal team of ambassadors for your distillery is more valuable than selling one batch of product. Clearly communicate to your consumers that this product might be different than what they’re used to. You don’t want to confuse consumers, or lose them if they don’t care for a special release. Use special releases as an opportunity to educate your customers about the technique and craft of distilling. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your existing accounts if you have something special you think they might be interested in.

15-bottle series of single barrel whiskeys from FEW Spirits. No matter what the format, Brett says that consumers tend to be very interested in private bottle picks, drawn by a desire for exclusivity and underscored by marketing efforts from the retailers themselves. “A big selling point at retail is that people like Brett Pontoni at Binny’s or spirit buyers at any store have taken a lot of time and effort to hand-select these barrel programs,” says Bill Welter, owner


of Journeyman Distillery in Three Oaks, Michigan, which has offered several single barrel releases through Binny’s as well as other channels. “And they’re conveying that they’ve gone out of their way to handpick the best product, so the consumer has great interest in the barrel programs.” A key aspect to making single barrel handpick releases work for distillers at the retail level is to make it clear that it’s a different product than your standard release. This avoids confusing shoppers, and gives you a chance to educate consumers about what makes your distillery different. “Use it to point out your skill and creativity,” says Brett. “You can tell the story that [your product] is a living, breathing thing, that you’re actually creating, that this isn’t easy, and that you have to go through a lot to arrive at the desired end.”

BEHIND THE BAR Bars also find exclusive releases attractive for a similar reason: it helps them stand out from competition. In Oregon, Ransom Spirits in Sheridan, Oregon, occasionally sells single barrels to Portland bars like Bit House Saloon and Raven and Rose. “They like the idea of having a bottling that is markedly different from the regular bottling,” says Tad Seestedt, owner and distiller at Ransom Spirits. “We were aging a few barrels of Old Tom Gin for between two and three years, which we normally age about 10 to 11 months. We let [the bartenders] taste them to see what they wanted, and then we did a single barrel bottling and they divvied it up.” Tad says the logistics behind bottling such small quantities can be a drag, which means he doesn’t do it very often. “It sounds like a pretty simple thing, but to do a single barrel by itself is a real pain. Our normal batch size might be anywhere between eight and 12 barrels. Trying to do one, we have to have a tank that fits it and we have to scale down our already small

processing equipment. It’s a lot of work.” However, if you are considering dipping your toes into the single release market, selling barrels to local retailers might be the best way to start, since it comes with a crucial added benefit: relationship building. When you get local retailers to come visit you and do a barrel selection, you’re selling some product, which is great. But, even more importantly, you’re getting the chance to entertain somebody who can sell your products—including your standard releases—for an extended period of time, a far more valuable asset to your business than a single barrel sale.

ODDBALLS Almost every distiller in America has a secret: There’s a barrel or two of some funky experiment lingering in the back corner of the distillery, just waiting to see the light of day. Perhaps you got your hands on a used Muscat barrel, or you wanted to see what would happen if you added a handful of smoked malt to your mash. If you were immune to the temptation of tinkering, you probably wouldn’t have become a distiller in the first place. It might be wonderfully delicious, but if you’ve done enough tinkering, it will probably taste quite different than any of your standard products. And now you have a conundrum: Should you go through the entire label approval process to release a tiny batch of something you’ll never make again? Releasing it as a one-off exclusive bottling through non-standard channels might be the answer. One non-standard retailer that regularly picks up quirky one-offs is Taster’s Club, a spirits membership that ships whiskey, rum, and tequila directly to consumers. Taster’s Club regularly buys small batch, single barrel, or special finish spirits, and frequently works with small craft operations. “For us, the holy grail is working with a cool independent distiller with an interesting product,” says founder Mack McConnell. “We aren’t going to sell anything that’s bad, but barring a totally catastrophic outcome, we would want to be considered when a distillery does something experimental.”


Mack says that consumers love getting something truly distinctive. “We get a really positive reaction from the members. They like it because it’s unique, you can’t find it on the shelf.”

THE NITTY-GRITTY Beginning a relationship with a retailer or distributor around a special release product can be initiated by either party: retailer/ distributor, or distiller. Taster’s Club says that it is frequently approached by distributors and distillers, but also approaches distilleries with which it has an existing relationship to design special releases from the ground up. First, contemplate whether or not the project is actually in your best interest. Does the retailer already sell your standard expression? If not, a special bottling might not be the right move. “A lot of retailers want that exclusive thing,” says Tad. “Sometimes a salesperson will ask us if we can do a single barrel and we ask them what they have from our regular product line. If they’ve never sold anything of ours, it’s not worth it. Why don’t you just sell the regular bottling then?” If you determine the project is in your best interest, it’s time to pick out the product. At Journeyman, they send any interested client a selection of four to seven samples, depending on how many barrels the client wants. “We try to pick barrels of varying size, different parts of the warehouse, and varying age points,” says Bill. “That gives the retailer or bar an opportunity to get some different pictures of the whiskey.” An alternative to sending samples is to bring one or more representatives from the distributor or retailer to your distillery to taste samples. This can generate some positive exposure, but it can also be very expensive, especially if you’re stuck footing the travel and lodging bills for those buyers. Not all buyers will expect to be hosted if they travel to your distillery, but many do, so make sure expectations are clear beforehand, and know that sending samples is a perfectly acceptable—and dramatically less expensive—way to do it. Once a particular barrel is selected, the distillery then needs to bottle the product and ship it to the client via its distributor. Proper labeling can be a sticking point. Stickers, hanger tags, and blank spots that let you hand-write the proof of a barrel-proof spirit were all cited as creative alternatives to getting a totally new label approved and printed. While distilleries will always need flagship products consumers can grow to love, private bottlings represent an enticing new channel for selling unusual or innovative expressions, and a way to deepen relationships with on-premise retailers, distributors, and off-premise retailers. So next time you’re tempted to tinker, maybe you won’t need to resist after all.

Margarett Waterbury is the managing editor of The Whiskey Wash and Edible Portland, and regularly contributes to other publications about food, drink, and agriculture. She was named the 2017 Alan Lodge Young Drinks Writer of the Year by Spirits Business Magazine. www.margarettwaterbury.com WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM  

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A QUALITY MANAGEMENT PROGRAM is essential to the success of the small distillery and its ability to produce a quality and consistent product. A quality management program is equal parts proactive (quality assurance) and reactive (quality control). In our last article we covered what should be included in the program: developing good processes, good production documentation, extensive employee training programs, and a sensory analysis program. This article will focus more in depth on the elements of a good distillery processes. No process will be perfect the first time around, or the second, and it is highly important to have a flexible timeframe. The permanency of the process impact makes it prudent to perfect. Every facility is different due to equipment, water, personnel, and other factors so even the best researched methodology will need adjustments.

MASHING PROCESS An example of process development for a small distillery is a mashing regime. The mashing process is complex and there are a lot of different elements to consider such as: equipment, grain, temperatures, enzymes, and different types of mashing styles.

EQUIPMENT The type of equipment used has a significant impact on mashing. There are many types of mash tuns available for purchase. Is it heated by a boiler or by a heating element? Is there a lauter system? The difference between on-the-grain processing versus lautered mash is large; it changes how water is added to the mash.

GRAIN The type of grain used also has a significant impact on mashing. The processing for corn and rye are drastically different. Corn requires a higher gelatinization temperature than rye and also has less enzymatic activity. Corn also requires different grinding than rye. Rye is a sticky mess when not handled carefully. It requires a lower gelatinization temperature and needs careful monitoring to not turn into cement in the mash tun. Different mash yields can expect different yields. The mash bill will affect the temperature and enzymes used during the mashing process.


TEMPERATURE Temperatures used during mashing make a significant impact on mash yields and mash quality. Temperature is dependent on the grain, equipment, enzymes, and more. What temperature hold will achieve the highest yield as well as the best flavour? How long of a temperature hold is necessary? All these factors can change the outcome of mashing and therefore the entire whiskey making process. Temperatures and temperature holds are also dependent on enzymes. Determining the best temperature requires research and trials. It also requires knowledge of enzymes and their activities.

ENZYMES The mashing process can include either endogenous enzymes or exogenous enzymes. Enzymes can be found in their active state in malted barley and this can be used in the mashing process. Enzymes can also be purchased in a liquid form and added into the mash. The decision to use exogenous or endogenous enzymes has a significant impact on process development. If endogenous enzymes are used, very specific temperature holds need to be used. Careful practices must be in place so as to not deactivate enzymes. This means a lower temperature is used initially and temperature is gradually built up. When using exogenous enzymes, the choice is yours on when to add. Granted, there may be better regimes than others, but you are not limited by deactivating enzymes.

MASHING STYLES Mashing style evolves from necessity. It is dependent on equipment, grain, temperatures, and enzymes. Mashing style can include decoction or infusion. It can also be a different style. Decoction mashing is a style of mashing that involves taking a third of the mash and putting it in a separate pot where it is then heated to the required temperature and then returned to the mash tun. Infusion mashing is a style of mashing that applies heat to the entire mash either by directly heating or heating water and adding it into the mash tun.

MASHING PROCESS TESTING To start process development, all the research in regards to equipment, grain, temperature, enzymes, and mashing styles needs to be accomplished. Once all this information is gathered, the next step is to form a hypothesis. This hypothesis then needs to be tested. A small scale mash tun and still should be used to test batches. The data should be assessed and the hypothesis analyzed. The yield, pH, and flavour should be extensively studied. The balance between yields and flavour needs to be realized and decided. Lots of testing will be needed before the correct regime is discovered. Once a regime is discovered to be sufficient, it should be tested at least three times and the results averaged. The yield, pH, consistency, and ease of processing should all be recorded in detail.


After results are averaged and the yield, pH, and other data are found favorable and consistent, it is time to scale up to actual equipment. This will require testing and more adjustments should be anticipated as the change is scale and equipment will lend new problems. If this occurs, it is back to the small scale to determine the solution. Research and development leads to a wealth of knowledge for the small distillery. The best way to more fully utilize this knowledge is to make a guide. Every distillery should have a troubleshooting guide with all the answers to the problems that have already been solved.

TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE A troubleshooting guide is one of the most important tools of the small distillery. It contains all the lessons learned and the knowledge gained during operations. Part of developing processes is recording the steps and actions that do not work. These failed attempts should be recorded so they are not repeated.

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This guide is an important reactive tool for new employees. New employees should have this troubleshooting guide included in their training manual. The purpose of this guide is to make problem solving more efficient. It instils a knowledge that normally someone can only gain by doing. Specifically, it helps with the unique set of problems that plagues every facility. It is an operational quality control must.

CONCLUSION A good quality management program will help make a quality and consistent product more achievable. Developing good processes, good production documentation, and extensive employee training programs, and a sensory analysis program will all aid a quality management program. The initial focal point of this program should be process development. This is the start to making great spirits. One of the most important aspects of process development is time. Research, scientific trials, and analysis all take time. A time investment that will eventually develop into an asset to the small distilleryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s quality management program.

Molly Troupe is currently the master distiller at Freeland Spirits, located in Portland, Oregon. Her previous experience includes both Oregon Spirit Distillers as the production manager and lead distiller and at Hood River Distillers, Inc, as a quality control assistant. Along with her experience, Molly has an M.S.c in Brewing and Distilling from Heriot-Watt University and a B.S. in chemistry from Southeast Oregon University. 118â&#x20AC;




ne of sour, two of sweet, three of strong, and four of weak,” goes the enduring and short recipe for punch — lemon or lime, sugar, liquor, and tea or water. Originating from the Sanskrit word for “five,” which included spice for the fifth ingredient, punch migrated from India and the West Indies to England via the British Empire. Ships of the East India Company found that the ale and cider in their cargo holds grew stale in the tropical climes of the Caribbean. Punch offered a refreshing alternative and took advantage of available resources — rum, citrus, and sugar. For the hamlets and towns of colonial America, the tavern with its bottomless flowing punch bowl was the heart of the community, serving as public forum and neighborhood center, providing food and lodging, and welcoming every rung of the social ladder. Punch was America’s first mixed drink. Social and political gatherings always included punch — even the Constitutional Convention. In September 1787, delegates finished the Constitution and received their bar tab for the evening: 54 bottles of Madeira, 60 bottles of claret, 22 bottles of porter, 12 bottles of beer, 8 bottles of hard cider, 8 bottles of whiskey, and 7 large bowls of punch. Punch bowls were large enough that “ducks could swim in them” remarked an onlooker. In March 1829 at President Andrew Jackson’s Inauguration, punch was an integral part of crowd control. The unruly masses that had been part of a blanket invite to the seventh president’s inauguration were lured out of the White House by moving the punch bowl and barrels full of Inaugural Orange Punch out on the White House lawn. “…as the waiters opened the door to bring it out, a rush would be made, the glasses broken, the pails of liquor upset, and the most painful confusion prevailed. To such a degree was this carried, that tubs of punch were taken from the lower story into the garden to lead off the crowds from the rooms,” observed one guest. The punch bowl was an emblem of American hospitality. Punch was made in large quantities and ready to be ladled into cups for serving. In the history of hospitality, it was spirited drink that was offered to all — acquaintances, family, strangers, and workers, whereas food along with drink was offered only to close friends, family, and honored guests. Drinking was communal and rare was the making of an individual drink as is the habit of today. What was in this punch? Early on, the “three of strong” was usually rum, the most common base spirit used for



PUNCH RECIPES to get you into the spirit: Icey cold tropical punches for summer, cream and spice based punches for fall and holidays, and champagne sparkling punch for welcoming the New Year. Begin with a bottle from your favorite artisanal distillery, then find the best recipe to fit the occasion.



At the center of a punch craze in the 1920s, Plantation Punch is a nod to the punch of the American colonies.

This punch gives an ode to the John Collins. It was originated in London’s Limmer’s Hotel by the headwaiter, Mr. John Collins.

1 750 ml bottle dark rum 10 oz. fresh-squeezed lime juice 6 oz. simple syrup (1:1) 15 oz. juices (pineapple, passion fruit, orange, any combination), chilled Demerara rum float

TOOLS: punch bowl and ladle GLASS: punch cups GARNISH: float of Demerara rum plus fresh fruit

Add the first three ingredients to punch bowl. This can be done hours in advance. Add 15 oz. of chilled juices before serving. Ladle into ice-filled cups (can also add ice to the punch bowl). Top with float of Demerara rum and fruit garnish.

1 750 ml London dry gin 10 oz. fresh-squeezed lemon juice 10 oz. simple syrup (1:1) 2 oz. orange blossom water 1 bottle chilled sparkling water (could also use champagne for a play on a French 75)

TOOLS: punch bowl and ladle GLASS: punch cups (flutes if using champagne) GARNISH: lemon wheel

Add the first three ingredients to punch bowl. Add the orange blossom water to taste. This can be done hours in advance. Add ice (the larger the better) and seltzer water before serving. Float lemon wheels in punch bowl. Ladle into cups, garnish with lemon wheel. Source: Simon Ford

WHISKEY SMASH PUNCH This variation combines the classic Cold Whiskey Punch favored in 1850s New Orleans with the mint of smashes and juleps.

1 750 ml bottle bourbon or whiskey 8 oz. fresh-squeezed lemon juice 3-4 lemons cut-up 10 oz. simple syrup (1:1) 1 chilled bottle of seltzer water (or try Kentucky limestone water if using bourbon) Large bunch of fresh mint

TOOLS: punch bowl and ladle, muddler GLASS: punch cups or lowballs GARNISH: mint sprig and lemon wedge

In punch bowl gently muddle the cut-up lemon with 3-4 oz. of the simple syrup. Slap bunches of mint (about 50 leaves) and add to mixture. Add the liquor, lemon juice, and remaining simple syrup. This can be done hours in advance. Add the chilled seltzer water before serving. Ladle into ice-filled cups (can also add ice to the punch bowl). Top with sprig of mint and lemon garnish.

TOM AND JERRY Perfect for the holidays and a nice change from egg nog. Here is Jerry Thomas’ 1862 recipe:

12 eggs, separated 1 750 ml bottle brandy 1 750 ml bottle dark rum 1 cup sugar Allspice, cinnamon, and cloves Hot milk and/or boiling water Grated nutmeg

TOOLS: egg beater, punch bowl and small ladle, small whisks GLASS: mugs or large punch cups GARNISH: grated nutmeg

Beat egg whites into a stiff froth, set aside. Beat the yolks with sugar gradually adding a pinch or two (to taste) of spices and 4 oz. brandy until thin like water. Fold egg whites into yolk mixture and put into punch bowl. To serve, add to a mug, 1 heaping tablespoon of batter, whisk with 1 oz. each brandy and rum. Fill rest of mug with hot milk/water and top with freshly grated nutmeg. Mugs can be prefilled with the brandy and rum. Use a large coffee server for the hot milk/water mixture. Have several small whisks so guests can whisk their own drink. Adapted from Jerry Thomas



punch during the 17th and 18th centuries. Colonial America was awash in rum due to the colonist’s links to the Caribbean and the Triangle Trade. An abundance of molasses, a byproduct of sugar, flowed into the colonies from Caribbean sugar plantations, and much of the colonists’ rum was distilled in the northeast. On the eve of the American Revolution, more than 140 rum distilleries produced nearly 5 million gallons each year, and more than 3 million additional gallons were imported. Punches also took advantage of local and seasonal fruit and sugar. The “four of weak” varied between several common ingredients. Mid-morning and day punches used tea and milk products, providing energy and nutrition. In addition, Champagne was cheap and plentiful, and was often used in evening and celebration punches. After the Revolutionary War, Americans surged west, and whiskey supplanted rum as the spirit of choice. Surpluses of grain in the Ohio country and a lack of transportation infrastructure spurred innovation. A bumper crop of wheat, rye, or corn? Distill it! One horse could carry about four bushels of grain, but distill the grain and the same horse could carry the equivalent of 24 bushels in the form of whiskey. Whiskey flowed down the Mississippi to New Orleans on flatboats and was redistributed to the rest of a thirsty nation. This was mostly raw whiskey, as distillers were only just beginning to


understand barrel aging. Punch was a good use for the harsh but abundant spirit, and whiskey with sweet tea was the favored punch in the American south. Ice was another drinking innovation introduced the 1800s. Attempts early in the century to develop a distribution network for ice in a pre-refrigeration era failed to launch due to difficulties in harvesting and transporting. But ingenuity prevailed, and new harvesting equipment and techniques were developed. The use of sawdust, a byproduct of timber camps in the north, along with trains allowed for the distribution of ice to bartenders across the country. By 1847, 52,000 tons of ice was being delivered to 28 American cities. Now, punch was ladled into cups filled with ice. The popularity and proliferation of punch can be seen in the first published guide for bartenders. In 1862, a watershed year for American drinking history, Jerry Thomas published his Bar-Tender’s Guide. The guide signaled the professionalization of the trade and the first printing of the entirety of American drinks. Of the fifteen categories listed, the category of punch contains 86 different recipes, the largest category. How many cocktails were listed? Just ten. So, what is necessary to make and serve a punch? The equipment required for punch has always been admirably simple — a punch bowl, a ladle, and whatever cups or glasses were at hand. The punch

bowl as part of a well-stocked home goes back to 1680s Boston. The first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, John Winthrop, noted their availability. Bowls were ceramic, pewter, silver, even wood. Benjamin Franklin wrote of his punch bowl made of china as evidence of Asian trade routes. The size, materials, and level of intricate designs were symbols of wealth and power. America’s most famous punch bowl was a silver vessel made by Paul Revere, an accomplished silversmith. The punch bowl he created in 1767 to honor the ninety-two members of the Massachusetts House of Representatives who opposed the British Crown’s taxes is on display today at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Yet one need not have a fancy bowl of silver to do a punch — the basic bowl design has changed little over 300 years. Today, punch retains its virtues of hospitality and ease of preparation. For hosting a party or entertaining guests over the holidays, punch is a wonderful way to say welcome. For the host busy with preparations, punch is perfect. You do all but the last step (pouring in the “four of weak”) in advance. It’s ready when guests arrive. Toast and enjoy time with your guests and invite them to help themselves.

Renee Cebula is a cocktail historian. She is the owner and curator of Raising the Bar: Vintage & Badass Barware. FB: Raising the Bar Northwest, Insta/Twitter: badassbarware, raisingthebarbarware.com.




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Vendome Copper & Brass Works


BSG Distilling




American Distilling Institute

Gamer Packaging


Cocktail Tour of Cuba by Raising the Bar

Imperial-Packaging Corporation


Moonshine University








50 115 8 & 30



American Spirits Exchange Ltd.






7 & 15

White Star Yeast by Winemakeri Inc.

InLine Filling Systems, LLC

The Booze Stylist


Spirits Consulting Group


7 & 11

Impact Print Solutions Multicolor Corp Global Solutions

Live Oak Bank

McFinn Technologies









88 118




Fort Dearborn

Liquor Bottle Packaging Ferm Solutions

36 5&6

Wright Global Graphics

Phoenix Packaging



8 & 17




Bruni Glass a Berlin Packaging Company



L&M Glick Grains

Specific Mechanical Systems

Brad-Pak Enterprises

Union Jack

Brooks Grain

Rudolph Research Analytical




72 & 89

Anchor Hocking



6 & 19

Corson Distilling Systems HBS Copper Stills









MGP Ingredients Pharmco-Aaper


Barrels Unlimited Independent Stave Co.


G&D Chillers


7 & 34

Total Wine & More




Custom Metalcraft

7 & 22

Bruni Glass a Berlin Packaging Company



Spokane Industries


Paulson Supply


Distillery Products


Ramondin, USA


Sterling Cut Glass




Tapi USA

8 & 123

TRADE EXPOS Mid America Beverage Expo


ARTISAN SPIRIT sponsors 122â&#x20AC;



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SAVERGLASS INC. Napa (CA): (707) 259-2930 East Coast (NJ): (201) 825-7100 Pacific North West (OR): (707) 337-1479 Mid West (KY): (859) 308-7130

www.saverglass.com HAUTE COUTURE GLASS

Profile for Artisan Spirit Magazine

Artisan Spirit: Fall 2017  

The magazine for craft distillers and their fans.

Artisan Spirit: Fall 2017  

The magazine for craft distillers and their fans.