e’re whiskey nerds,” says co-founder Matthew Blaum. And when he and his brother, Mike Blaum, decided it was finally time to start a business together, it was whiskey that guided their journey from the very beginning. Before starting Blaum Bros. Distilling Co, Matthew and Mike each had very different careers. Matthew worked in nuclear medicine, and Mike worked for the Department of Defense. Yet the two had never given up on their dream of someday working together. In April of 2012, the brothers took their families on a joint vacation to Florida. One night, after the kids and wives had gone to bed, the two stayed up late drinking a bottle of craft whiskey. “One glaring thing we always had in common was a love of good whiskey,” says Matthew. “And we looked at each other and thought, we can do better than this.” And so the scheming began. It took more than a year before the duo were able to secure a location, get licensed, and order and receive their equipment, but by late 2013, the Blaums fired up their stills for the very first time. From the beginning, Matthew and Mike knew they weren’t willing to compromise when it came to their whiskey. If it wasn’t fully matured in full-sized casks, they weren’t interested in selling it. Yet they also knew they’d need to generate more cash flow early on than they could rely on gin and vodka to produce. So they sourced aged whiskey from nearby MGP, giving it the tongue-in-cheek name of “Knotter Bourbon” and proudly touting its out-of-town origins. Today, that doesn’t sound particularly revolutionary, but at the time, sourcing and transparency were a hot topic in craft whiskey. That upfront attitude paid off almost immediately. “Two months after we first put it out, all that Templeton rye press hit,” laughs Matthew. “We got a lot of accolades for our transparency, a lot of great mentions in publications.” That transparency ties into another of Blaum Bros’ core values: a refreshing lack of puffery. “We don’t have a greatgrandfather who was a moonshiner and our family didn’t make whiskey for Al Capone,” says Matthew. “We’re just ourselves. There’s no marketing fluff. We’re not secretive, and we want to stand behind the product being good.” Knotter Bourbon has been a success, but selling sourced whiskey was never the Blaum’s end game. For the past four and a half years, they’ve been hard at work distilling their very own bourbon, rye, and malt whiskey, and 2018 marks the year they’ll release those products for the very first time. Later this year, Matthew says the distillery plans to release a four-year-old bourbon and a four-year-old rye, both made from grain milled, mashed, fermented, and distilled onsite in a 2,000 liter Kothe still. Blaum Bros. only uses full-sized casks for maturation, a choice made based on the unmistakable quality of flavor they impart to whiskey. “There’s always a lot of pressure from distributors and WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM
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