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two or three times a week. Vodka was the first focus for 45th Parallel, but like most craft distilleries, changes in the spirits market inspired the team to expand in other directions. “This industry is changing so fast right now,” says Paul. “I could sell vodka everywhere I wanted when we opened our doors, but now every part of the state, and all the states around us, they have their own little distilleries and they’re all making vodka. So it’s hard to move your vodka out of your region.”

Now, he says 90% of the production team’s time is spent making whiskey, including bourbon whiskey, wheat whiskey, and rye whiskey, all using locally sourced grains and aged onsite in full-sized casks for at least four years. “Vodka was our flagship, and we do well with it, but I would say rye is what people really seem to like right now,” says Paul. However, he’s starting to see some of that same saturation dynamic from vodka begin to impact whiskey. “A couple of years ago, I was getting calls

from everywhere asking for our bourbon,” says Paul. “We didn’t have enough for our own market, so we’d say no. Now, a lot of states are coming up with their own bourbons. You’re going to be selling in your own region unless you have some marketing dollars to go beyond your region. Any new distillery is going to have to think about that.” Another major revenue stream for 45th Parallel is contract distilling, especially for startup brands that want to get a head start

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Artisan Spirit: Winter 2017  
Artisan Spirit: Winter 2017  

The magazine for craft distillers and their fans.