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Autumn 2014

Journal of the Modern Scofflaw


$15.00 US


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contents Letter From the Publisher Drinking Music Spirit Review—Greenhook Ginsmiths Plum Liqueur Places to Enjoy—Social, Fort Collins, CO Crafting Cocktails—Joshua Perez, NYC Raff Distillerie - San Francisco, CA Denver Bespoke - Denver, CO Headframe Spirits - Butte, America Beardbrand - Spokane, WA Pairings­—Catoctin Creek Distilling Company Prohibition Distillery - Roscoe, NY Spirited Classics - Cocktails


2014 9 10 14 16 18 22 40 50 73 84 98 115

Photo by DJ Glisson « | PAGE 5

PAGE 6 | Photo by Michael Marquand ÂŤ

Publisher Editor at Large Music Director Staff Contributor Webmaster Marketing & Events Media Arts Contributing Design Contributing Writers

Cobey Williamson David Schreib Jeff Mattson Brian Cary Kelsey Binder Ryan Murphy Chi Pham Madison Angus Vita Duva Mara Fields Richard Barry Ian Gregory EC Wells II Suzanne Lenzer Kimberley Naslund Monica Racic

Contributing Photographers

Michael Marquand Julie Giron Giselle Hellemn DJ Glisson Luc Nadeau RG Nelson

Working Dog Media, LLC 1406 Summerdale Rd Corvallis, MT 59828

Š2014 All rights reserved. The contents of this magazine cannot be duplicated without the prior written consent of the owner. The views contained within the contents of MicroShiner Magazine do not necessarily reflect the views of its owners or staff.

Letter from the Publisher

PAGE 8 | Âť Photo by Michael Marquand

Letter from

the PUBLISHER The future of craft spirits is written in the past. In this, our Autumn issue, we have turned our focus on one of the most interesting eras in history, the period beginning in the 1860s with the introduction of Bessemer steel, and stretching forward to the onset of World War Two. It is an epoch marked by a series of landmark events, not the least of which was the American attempt at Prohibition. The Bessemer process revolutionized steel manufacture by decreasing its cost, greatly improving the efficiency of railroads, and leading to an explosion in rail travel. This surge coincided with the initial assimilation of the Afro-American subculture, along with that of other waves of immigrants, into the whole following the American Civil War. All these factors combined to significantly alter the cultural landscape, as it related to alcohol and social life in particular. These events led to a period of intense technological and cultural outpouring, arguably the greatest the world has ever known. This is the innovative era captured in the writings of Jules Verne and Ernest Hemingway; serialized in The New Yorker and Vogue; embodied in the Art Nouveau, Art Deco, and Modernist movements; composed as ragtime and jazz; and placed on display at the Exposition Universelle in Paris and the Chicago World’s Fair. It was the culmination of “A Century of Progress.” But this spirit of progress was not without its obloquy. The previous industrial model, that of craft, was discarded, and the factory put in its place. Family life, traditionally spent working, and drinking, together as a unit, was fractured by the work day, out of which grew the tavern, night life, and

the temperance movement. No longer could wives monitor their husbands’ daily activity, nor were they constantly occupied with the time-consuming tasks of knitting and sewing. That gave them the leisure to consider, and indeed organize, campaigns against what they considered social ills. One such crusade they contemplated, and surprisingly accomplished, was Prohibition. This, for those of us who love craft spirits, was a fortunate turn of events, because Prohibition is what set the stage for the modern craft revolution. Prohibition shuttered distilleries across the country, and obliterated the American spirits tradition. But it also cemented in the American psyche a romantic notion of the Roaring 20s, classically depicted in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Nearly a century later finds us full circle, digging through our common history in search of mother lodes like Emperor Norton or the Destroying Angel, hoping to strike it rich. It finds us returning to farm fresh food and hand stitched clothing, tugging at threads in search of one still tethered to a simpler, or at least more jubilant, time. In the pages of this issue you will find the essence of MicroShiner, the modern day scofflaw, engendered in companies whose identity is rooted in a gilded age, a time of promise and joy, where the classic and the modern coincide. A time when class came to the masses, you were what you drank, and every man wore a suit and tie. Sometimes, the best way forward is to take a step back. Cobey Williamson Publisher


By Jeff Mattson

Drinking Music San Francisco | Stockholm | Los Angeles Music and spirits are inextricably intertwined. Whether it’s the rat pack & martinis, the jazz age and bathtub gin, saloon whiskey and a player piano, or just pickin’ on the porch with a jar of shine, where you find one, you will likely find the other. So many analogies exist between the two that we felt, as a magazine about craft and spirits, inclined – nay almost obliged – to dedicate some space to music.

product, often for no greater purpose than sheer enjoyment. Just as it is in the spirits business, the music market is awash with corporate product. Artists are groomed and selected based on one thing: their ability to sell records. All of the coarseness and irregularity is eliminated, and much of the nuance and the intangible lost. To paraphrase Neil Young at the onset of the digital age, the real music lives between the 0 and 1.

Music is a craft. Doing it well depends on bringing a number of

In that regard, and in keeping with the theme of this pub-

elements together in just the right proportions, and like craft

lication, what we hope to offer you here is that space

spirits the resultant product is always greater than the sum

between the step and the curve that is so important, yet

of its parts. Differences in equipment, training, ingredients,

often goes overlooked. Here we hope to share some bands

recipes are reflected in subtle, and sometimes not so subtle,

and music that you might just find playing onstage in your

variations in character, flavor, tenor, and tone. Each begins

local tasting room or watering hole. Here, as with the micro-

with a handful of raw material that, through a practiced and

distilleries we focus on, you just might happen upon some-

perfected process, culminates in a refined and handcrafted

one you know, and together enjoy a little drinking music.

Fire! Orchestra Exit!

Fire! Orchestra is a savage mix of two free jazz components: One piece is the “Fire!”, consisting of Mats Gustafsson (saxophone), Johan Berthling (bass) and Andreas Werlin (drums), all tenured Swedish improv jazz musicians; and the second piece the so-called “Orchestra”, a rabid collaboration of 28 musicians. The end result is the album “Exit!”

PAGE 10 |

“Exit!” was recorded live in

tive force flood your per -


sonal space. A chaotic ef-




2012 and released in Janu-


ary of 2013. With the Or -

to boil over at any moment.



And boil over it does, scald-

Fire! takes on a big band

ing you in all the right places

configuration but with an

while still leaving some el-

avant-garde approach, devi-

egant spots untouched but

ating entirely from the nor -

for the atmosphere of the

mative big band jazz path.

concert hall. A tumultuous

behemoth to say the least.

Both Part One and Two are

continuous tsunamis of cre-

Part One begins with a le-

scendos. Intense ebbs and

thargicly trudging bass line,

flows that ferry you, in a not

laying out a dark lounge at-

so gentle manner, through

mosphere, and for 11 min-

these two titanic tracks. You


can’t do much more than

forward picking up sonic dis-

let its beautifully destruc-

ciples along the way, before







Autumn 2014 the



into a tender ambiance. And from the wreckage, a lone vocalist’s begging cues the coming together of those lost: “and fire stay with me”. Suddenly we find ourselves at the center of a swirling coda. Part Two begins with a different anchor, vocals saturated




and airy electronics placed precariously on the crest of your consciousness, a determined bass line then dips in to emblazon an immense ascension.

The piece grows

and grows and finally rescinds into an atonal nightmarish landscape bordering on schizophrenic. It slowly lulls you into an unsettled stupor and, with startling swiftness, picks you up and tears your psyche limb from limb with its cacophonous passion.

Part Two is a ter-

rifying entity on the scale of the Greek goliath Typhon. It’s the absolute ease with which all these musicians come




something that feels so natural yet monumental in stature that makes this album such a surprise. I can’t begin to sing this group’s praises enough. An album not for the light of heart, with two parts clocking in at 19:30 and 24:54 respectively, this takes more than intermittent attention to appreciate. And the avant-garde nature of the recording could have more than a few scratching their heads. That being said, this is definitely one of my favor ite releases of 2013. Served up best with a handcrafted whiskey in your Manhattan.

Photos by Micke Keysendal


Michael Gallant Trio


Michael Gallant is a San Francisco based musician and “Completely” is the inaugural album as the Michael Gallant Trio. The trio features Chris Infusino on drums, Linda Oh on Bass, and Michael Gallant on keys. This is upbeat, vivacious modern jazz climbing the jungle gym of the musical playground, daring to be heard. The album makes its entrance

ravishing definition. Weaving

epoch that should leave any

with “Greens”; the song starts

high and low, we see “Light-


off with a moody Linda Oh, her

bulb” is a dazzling fox: playful,

with intoxication by the end.

bassline driven and volatile,

sensual, charismatic, she’s re-



ally got it all. She’s your first



love and she’s your last love.

lows, piano-driven groovable




keys of Gallant, which, still





compositions with a virulent

ornery, start steaming, stall

The track “Completely” might



for effect, and rapturously

just be my favorite cut; it’s a

carried ever forward by sov-

tumbling back into that dark

manic joy ride. Dawning with


broiling den where Gallant re-

plush key strokes, the piano is

ing rock garnished drums.

ally starts to burn those keys.

unaware as it’s seized by burly

Linda Oh is galvanizing on


piano with



battle thick driven synthe-

bass, Chris Infusino fiendish




sizer keys wielding Linda Oh’s

on percussion, and finally,




jousting, grimy bass. Around

Michael Gallant seems to be

Other choice favorites from the

four minutes in, it ruptures

ever the charmer on keys.

album include “Lightbulb”, a

slightly and floats off, gen-

My highest recommendations

nostalgic and enticing track.

tly guided by Chris Infusino,

for this trio; they’re wear-

Gallant is solo on this one,

who begins the tumultuous

ing some trendsetting duds.

but it’s a descriptive discov-

crescendo up the precipice,

ery. Gallant gives his mistress

meandering into a grandiose

“Greens” ful


PAGE 12 |

Whiskey neat, if you please.

Autumn 2014

Gavin Templeton In Series

Gavin Templeton is a Los Angeles-based jazz musician. And what he composes is a silkier version of modern jazz. His 2013 release is entitled “In Series”. Billed as a composer, a woodwind player, a saxophonist, and even an educator, Mr. Templeton is surely well versed in the musical realm. His previous release “Asper-

without diminishing the fact

unwilling to fall by the way-

I recommend having a listen to

perious Special” was an inge-

that, at any moment, one

side into the realm of back-

“Asperperious Special” given

nious brandishing of creativ-

may yet still be fed to the

ground music, “In Series” is

the chance as well. Mr Tem-

ity and jazzy enthusiasm. The

wolves, an intriguing and ex-

far from boring or lacking in

pleton and his gang of musi-

shared highlights of “In Series”

citing song to say the least.

personality. This is flare, this

cians are much deserving of

is dazzling, this is a seething

some love. Take some turns

glow from under a campfire.

amid a few gin and tonics.

give hint to another side of the artist’s composing muses. The




with the soft yearning glow of







some conspicuously placed guitar chords, federated by bass and percussion, giving it slightly more wind. The tension is subtle, misleading, and is all brushed away in a mellow wash of piano. Forgiving in nature, lasting in beauty for a pine of a song. “Inbox” is a glaze of shimmering lazy piano, a marmalade mosey of tranquil contemplation, waiting for some lucidity. Templeton seems to give an appropriate answer in the form of his alto saxophone, in what ultimately turns out to be a rhetorical question of a song; it is not the answer that excites us, its the conversation, the harmonic discourse. And “Know Why” is a sultry, tarred shadow.


daunting shadow is continually ton’s






Not overly in your face, yet


Words by Ian Gregory / Photos by Giselle Hellemn

The Fruits of Brooklyn: Plum Beach Liqueur - Greenhook Ginsmiths As the increasing wave of artisanal distilleries and craft cocktails continues to gain ground around the globe, there seems to be one spirit in particular enjoying a renewed enthusiasm among producers and consumers alike; Gin. From the elegance of the classic Martini to the pomp and circumstance of the elaborate Ramos Gin Fizz, the distinctive juniper berry distillation harkens back to the sophisticated air of Old English aristocracy while remaining a versatile and popular component of many a contemporary mixologists’ arsenal. This versatility is utilized brilliantly in Greenhook Ginsmiths’ Beach Plum Gin Liqueur, a small batch libation being proudly produced within the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. with

The experience of tasting the

Greenhook’s custom copper

Liqueur for the first time is all

pot still and unique “vacuum

at once new, yet very familiar.

distillation” method which al-

In the nose, the distinctive

lows the Ginsmiths to craft

verdant scents that have come

their flagship American Dry

to identify a proper Gin are

Gin at lower temperatures

complemented by a thin veil

and thus better preserve the

of plum perfume. On the pal-

delicate fragrances and fla-

ate, there is an unmistakable




vors of the various incorpo-

herbal zing, though the over-

rated botanicals. Next, Master

all feel in the mouth is silky

Ginsmith and co-founder of

smooth and lingers sweetly

Greenhook, Steven DeAngelo,

on the lips. While the taste

procures a bounty of authen-

leaves no doubt that the Li-

tic Long Island Beach Plums

queur has a sound Gin foun-




dation, one can easily draw




parallels between the plummy





Greenhook product and a fine Port or Brandy. The similari-

The wild fruit travels just

ties are no mere coincidence.

under 100 miles from the Island’s sandy shores to the



his Liqueur is a “living prod-



DeAngelo’s The


the plums are soaked whole


in the Ginsmiths’ staple spir-

Beach Plums in Gin induces

it. After 7 months time and


an added dash of organic Tur-

cess which imbues red wine




words, of


the pro-


with the rich color and tan-

American Dry has been trans-

nins of a grape. Likewise,

formed into the unique Beach


Plum Liqueur, taking on a

efits from the unique quali-

beautiful rosy hue while main-

ties of its own wild fruit and

taining a light, floral aroma.

also has the ability to gain





more complex notes of flavor

PAGE 14 |

Autumn 2014


release, and while its name-

aging. According to DeAngelo,

sake ingredient has certainly

the distillation matures well

contributed greatly to such

during a half year or so under


cork, developing a deeper, can-

of the fruit bears an inher-

died profile and softening the

ent risk. Harsh nor’easters

slight bite of Gin even further.

and Atlantic hurricanes can







ravage the beaches of Long operation

Island in any given year,

since 2012, Greenhook Gin-

meaning a healthy harvest












grown by leaps and bounds

anteed. In other words, a

during the brief interim. Pro-


duction of their Beach Plum

stock up while they have the

Gin Liqueur alone has in-

chance. This little ruby gem

creased threefold since initial

is too precious to pass over.















By Kimberly Naslund

A Cocktail In Fort Collins: Social, Fort Collins, CO When craft bar Social opened no one was sure exactly how it would be received. It is, after all, surrounded by craft beer in Fort Collins, Colorado; home of New Belgium, Odell’s and at least 6 other microbreweries. The locals here are well educated on the subject of craft and always up for trying something new. However,




In keeping with the Prohi-

ing to experiment and ea-




bition Era theme there are

ger to learn. The staff at So-

ing this as an opportunity

plenty of classic cocktails like

cial is uniquely qualified to

rather than simply a chal-

the French 75, alongside a

guide them through the world





list of Social staples & mix-

of craft spirits.





ology experiments. The en-

take on the task of educating

tire package is presented in

The success of Social has

a beer drinking public about

a fashion that helps the beer

proven that there is an un-

craft cocktails. They chose a



tapped market of craft en-


explore the world outside of

thusiasts in search of a lo-

their beer box.

cal watering hole where they




simply by a street clock. Go-



ing down the steps feels a bit

can satisfy their desire for

like stepping back into an-


other era, because the bar

seurs know their stuff, from

maintains a speakeasy facade

hop varietals to grain bills.

If you’re fortunate enough to


Their cocktail knowledge may

find yourself in the Fort Col-

be lacking, but they are will-

lins area, Social is that place.




feeling overplayed.

PAGE 16 |




exceptional cocktails.

Autumn 2014

One of a kind Barrels.

You personalize the rest.

Perfect for your brands, promotions, packaged products and more 703.885.1483

CRAFTING COCKTAILS Mixologist Joshua Perez mixes one of his signature cocktails at Featherweight

Autumn 2014





approach to cocktails and I loved


in the wake of America’s retro cocktail resurgence during the

every minute of it,” he stated.


Twenty-Oh’s, Joshua Perez is no new soul.

Perez had met his cocktail ethos.

Joshua Perez

It is one of the last warm September nights that Brooklyn will be

Mixologist New York, New York

graced with, as I readily make my way over to Featherweight, a secret speakeasy tucked amid the jostle of


Williamsburg. Perez, of course, tending


bar is clad in a red-checkered button-up shirt, black suspenders and a black full-

And like his wanderlust, Perez shakes things up with his second drink of the night. This time, he prepares a zesty, and delightful mixture consisting of dry gin, cognac, fresh lemon juice and honey syrup – topped with a lemon wedge and grated cinnamon. Now, this is a cocktail fit for the fall

length apron. Originally hailing from Salt

season. He calls this one, Autumn in Al-

Lake City, Utah, Perez bears no resem-

this libation is likely to knock you off

blance to one from the dusty crossroads

your feet, it is more suited to a cozy night

of the west – but he prefers it that way.

by the fireplace.

Perez actively kicks the evening off with

Perez goes on to tell me about his trailing

stiff and stirred drinks during the colder

his winter warmer called The Bishop’s

travels from New Zealand and San Fran-

months, but I wanted to change it up” ex-

Wife. He pours 1 oz. of room temperature

cisco, to Hawaii and finally, New York

plained Perez.

water into a coffee mug, and one more

– which has finally proved itself apace

ounce into a blue blazer mug. He adds

enough for him. Tending bar anywhere

So, for those in search of something new

Louis Royer Force 53 Cognac, Branca

and everywhere from dive bars to clubs,

and boundless this changing fall season,



Perez never intended on a career in mix-

ing the boozy concoction. Carefully, yet

ology. He explains, “I was just doing it to

take a sip from Perez’s creative mind and

vigorously pouring the liquids back and

prolong my travels.”

enjoy a pleasing chilly treat.

ameda. “I wanted to make a crisp and refreshing seasonal drink. Bars go heavier on the




forth, from mug to mug, Perez sets an eye-catching flame of cerulean blue, as

Later admitting, “At first, my idea of a

other bar-goers look on.

cocktail was a mojito topped with sprite, gin and tonics, and long island iced teas.”

Autumn in Alameda 1 oz. St. George Spiced Pear Liqueur 3⁄4 oz. Dry Gin

“I actually took second place at the Show Me The Proof Louis Royer Cognac Cock-

But it was not until he landed a gig with

3⁄4 oz. Cognac

tail Competition for this one” says Perez.

Booker and Dax at Momofuku’s Milk Bar

1⁄2 oz. Fresh lemon juice 1⁄4 oz. Honey syrup

The drink, titled after the Christmas mov-

that Perez got his chance to dabble in

ie of the same name, which stars Carey

new cocktail technologies such as, liquid

Shake without any ice. Pour over peddle-

Grant, is essentially an herbal bitters

nitrogen, clarified juices and carbonation

iced filled Collins. Garnish with a lemon

stinger meets a blue blazer. And while

systems. “It was a completely scientific

wedge and grated cinnamon. | PAGE 19



Like anything new and trendy, it was

addictive. These were all words once


bound to receive some negative atten-

used to describe the most complex,

tion. At the height of the temperance

vibrant, and distinguished spirit this

movement, which urged personal mod-

planet has to offer; Absinthe. Tradi-

eration in the consumption of alcohol,

tional Absinthe contains six common

and with the help from the French wine-

herbs that when combined with high

makers association, who were strug-

proof alcohol though the art of distilla-

gling due to the recent popularity of this

tion, create a harmonious and unique

“Green Fairy,” Absinthe was banned.

spirit. These herbs include: Grand Worm-

In fact, it wasn’t until the 1990’s that

wood, Fennel Seed, Anise Seed, Lemon

the ban was lifted in the United States,

Balm, Hyssop and Roman Wormwood.

and with so long an absence from the

market, Absinthe was largely forgotten.

This herbal concoction, originally created by a French doctor, was intended as

Although it is now legal and the myths

a cure-all medicinal elixir and was given

that surround it largely dispelled, only

to French soldiers during the early 1800’s

a few distillers have taken the risk to

to be consumed as a defense against

craft this iconic spirit, let alone re-cre-

malaria while overseas. Troops that re-

ate it to the traditional balance of fla-

turned from war also returned with an

vors. Carter Raff of the Raff Distillerie is

acquired taste for this green spirit, caus-

one of those lone visionaries, a crafts-

ing demand to rise and leading to an in-

man whose deep-seated passion for this

crease in production. Absinthe became

spirit drove him to produce what I con-

so popular that its consumption soon

sider the finest Absinthe of our time.

dominated the alcoholic beverage market.

The Mad Scientist of Treasure Island Words and Photos by Brian Cary

Raff Distillerie is located on Treasure Is-

and wineries to metal fabricators, over the

land, a small man-made islet connected

years more and more small businesses

to Yerba Buena Island, the natural is-

have come to the island to take advan-

land that sits in San Francisco Bay and

tage of this inexpensive industrial space.

connects SF to Oakland via the Bay Bridge.





Raff Distillerie, one of the more recent

constructed to hold the World’s Fair in

additions to the island, is located on the

1936; this multi-use Island was then

northeastern corner of Treasure Island in

turned over to the U.S. Navy in exchange

the old Navy Brig. In the recreation yard

for a piece of land in South San Fran-

can be found barreled spirits aging, large

cisco called Mills Field and now known

containers filled with base spirits, and a

as San Francisco International Airport.

hand-crafted 200 gallon stainless steel still. Walk through a set of steel doors and

Since then the Navy has pulled out, with-

you encounter the storage area and bot-

out leaving Treasure Island much in the

tling line, in what was once the cell block

way of “treasure.” Empty naval warehous-

for suicide watch. Down a hallway in the

es, boarded up barracks, old signs, and

guard’s office, behind two inches of rein-

unpainted roads are all present on this

forced safety glass and concrete, is the lab

island, giving it a post-apocalypse vibe. A

where test spirits are proofed and blended.

number of these signs encourage residents

It contains a small spirit still, a replica of

to avoid procreation or living on the island

the production still built to quarter scale.

with children due to the radiation clean-up drills the Navy routinely would conduct.

I had the privilege to spend the day with Carter, owner and master distiller at

Although parts of the island may have

Raff Distillerie. When I arrived he was

their drawbacks, the abundance of old,

filling his still with Emperor Norton Ab-

abandoned buildings have made it an af-

sinthe set to be heated to coloring temp,

fordable and convenient location for boot-

a very important stage in the creation

strap development. From artist studios


PAGE 26 |





Autumn 2014

PAGE 30 |

Autumn 2014

This stage involves the Lemon Balm, Hys-

clear liquid with only a hint of green was

sop, and Roman Wormwood. Coloring ab-

now a deep rich emerald. The herbs had

sinthe is essentially the same as making

done the trick. It was time for filtering.

a 50 gallon, high proof cup of steeped tea. I lingered back with my camera and Carter explained that the difference be-

watched Carter work, in an attempt

tween a good absinthe and an amaz-

to stay out of the way and not get

ing absinthe is the quality and quantity

dirty. But this notion was short lived.

of each herb incorporated in the spirit,

I was soon holding my camera with one

along with the neutral spirit itself. It is

hand and attempting to capture im-

for this reason that he personally imports

ages while the other hand held a hose

his own Grand Wormwood and Roman

or tilted a barrel or manned a switch.

Wormwood from PontarIier, France; the region where the bulk of absinthe was

Finally, I said “F*** it!” How many peo-

produced during its heyday. His neu-

ple get the chance to be part of mak-

tral base spirit, like traditional absinthe,

ing absinthe? I set my camera down

comes from grapes. Neutral grape spir-

and dove in. I was so intrigued by the

it is essential to the texture or “mouth

process of making absinthe that my

feel” of the end spirit, which is why it is

planned one hour visit and interview

used for both his absinthe and his gin.

turned into four and half hours of hanging out with Carter and his Green Muse.

To help pass the time during the maceration and coloring process, we gabbed

After filtering came the blending.

about movies, women, jobs, and naturally,

this task, he pulled out another piece of

his past. This was when I discovered Cart-

Carter Raff Still Works equipment, a boat

er was a welder and metal fabricator by

propeller hooked up to hand grips and a

trade. He explained how he had built vari-

small motor, designed to blend the ab-

ous pieces of equipment, from the 5 gallon

sinthe together. While the “magic” was

test batch still to the unique two hundred

blending, I took this time to ask, “Why

gallon production still, completely on his

absinthe? And who is Emperor Norton?”


own; he even made the bottling machinery. In fact, Carter built or modified almost

Carter Raff is a fifth generation San Fran-

all of the equipment used at the distillery.

ciscan and knows a great deal of his city’s

He pointed to a logo emblazoned on

history. With his passion for absinthe dat-

the still that read “Carter Raff Still

ing back to 1985, Carter knew that once

Works”, his brand name. It was at this

he began distilling he would produce an

point that I realized Carter Raff had

extraordinary product. He has been pro-

done it. He had achieved the American

ducing this green spirit for fourteen years,

dream; to be able to combine all your

so when it came time to decide upon a

passions into one permanent hobby.

title for this exceptional spirit, one notable name came to mind: Emperor Norton.

The absinthe was almost ready, so we wrapped up our discussion on why Quen-

Emperor Norton was a once wealthy

tin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction is one of the

San Franciscan who had lost his for-

top 10 films of all time and went back to

tune and moved away. Upon returning

the still. The metal barrel we had walked

to San Francisco many years later, it ap-

away from earlier had taken on a com-

peared he had also lost his “marbles.”

pletely different look. What was first a

He wore a military uniform that was half

PAGE 34 |

Autumn 2014

Confederate and half Union, and then

grew up on the streets of San Francisco

topped this off with a top hat and feather.

where they would hunt the local vermin

He made government proclamations and

to stay alive and were so good at killing

called himself “Emperor Norton, The First

rats that San Francisco passed a law pro-

of the United States and The Protector of

tecting them from dog catchers. When

Mexico.” He made up his own form of cur-

Lazarus died 30,000 people came out to

rency that many local businesses would

show their respect for their local hero,

accept, and was more than a bit eccen-

and upon the death of Bummer, Mark

tric. However, his biggest claim to fame

Twain, who was a San Francisco news

was that he proposed construction of the

reporter at the time, wrote his eulogy.

Bay Bridge and the Trans Bay Tunnel

30 years before they were actually built.

At the conclusion of the extended interview and photo shoot, I was wholly

Raff Distillerie produces more than just

inspired by Carter’s imagination and

absinthe; when you say Raff Distillerie,

bravado in taking on such a historical

it is Bummer and Lazarus gin that first

project, one so wrapped in antiquity and

comes to mind. Bummer and Lazarus

tradition. It was an experience not soon

Gin is comprised primarily of Juniper

forgot. I proffered my services as “Master

Berry, Orris Root, Angelica Root, Corian-

Distiller’s Minion” and vowed to return.

der Seed, Lemon Peel, Bitter Orange Peel, Cinnamon Bark, and Licorice Root. I’ve

I began packing up my gear and prepared

had the opportunity to taste it, and it is

to leave, but not before I discovered Raff

arguably one of the best gins on the mar-

Distillerie is poised to begin production of

ket. It’s dry, it’s floral, it has two dogs on

a vodka and a Rhum. Yes, R-h-u-m. This

the label...what’s not to love?! Not to men-

would be the French style of rum. Carib-

tion the unique story behind its name.

bean Rum is fermented and distilled from sugar cane molasses. Rhum Agricole is

The story goes that Bummer and Laza-

the art of fermenting and distilling just

rus were two stray dogs that lived in San

the sugar cane juice itself, creating an

Francisco during the late 1800’s. Bum-

earthy, vegetal spirit. Like his Absinthe

mer, the elder of the two, rescued Lazarus

and Gin, I can’t wait to sip these up and

from a dog fight, and from that point for-

coming examples of Carter’s craft, and

ward the two pups were inseparable. They

learn the stories behind their names.

For more information, contact Carter Raff at

PAGE 36 |

Autumn 2014

^ ABOVE Bay Area mongrels Bummer & Lazarus are immortalized on the label of Raff Distillerie’s gin


Join the Movement—Subscribe Now!

Words by Photos by

EC Wells II Julie Giron & Luc Nadeau

The Devil’s in the Details

There is nothing finer than detail.

However, in the modern context, where


automated assembly ensures that every

Kachmar recently invited photographer





example of a product is perfectly indistin-

Julie Giron and I into their live/work

guishable from the next, detail is taken

space, home of Denver Bespoke, where

for granted. In fact, detail of this sort has

they create tailored clothing through a

become so ubiquitous that the value of

hands-on process. AJ describes the build-

true detail, like that found in handmade,

ing as a Victorian cottage. It is nestled

bespoke products, has been very nearly

just southwest of I-70 and I-25, on the

lost on the world.

edge of Sunnyside in Denver, Colorado. I sat down with AJ to discuss their operation. As one might expect, the conversation was resplendent with details.

Let’s start at the beginning. My partner (and now wife) Lianna, and I

property right when the stock market

met in 1998 when we were both study-

crashed. This allowed us to purchase a

ing art at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.

workspace and we founded the Denver

She was a fashion major and we used to

Bespoke website shortly after that.

talk for hours about fashion and style and what it meant to do something new. My

With the recession, clients were willing to

argument was always that doing some-

pay for something that would last. People

thing new didn’t matter so much as do-

wanted the security of having something

ing whatever you did well. I think that is

that wouldn’t fall apart a week later and

still our strategy. We don’t chase trends,

our garments were selling well. Rather

we simply take the types of garments that

than paying $100 to get a thin wool blend

we like and reinterpret them as some-

coat that was mass produced in Asia, cli-

thing that is unique, high quality, durable

ents came to us for a coat that was actu-

and authentic.

ally warm and could be worn every day for many years.

Later Lianna was working as a designer for Liz Claiborne in New York. We were liv-

Greatcoats of the sort that we make used

ing together, and I was ready to get out

to be thought of as intergenerational

of NYC and to move somewhere where we

coats. You would have one made and then

could have a more creative space to work

pass it down to your sons. Americans cer-

in. But there weren’t a lot of fashion jobs

tainly don’t think about clothing (or sew-

in Colorado and other places that we had

ing machines!) like that anymore.

considered living. But still, starting a business like this was So I decided that we would need to cre-

a huge challenge. We lived off of noodles

ate jobs wherever we went. This was in

and weeds that we gathered in our yard

2009 and we came out here to look at

for quite some time.

PAGE 42 |

Autumn 2013 Autumn 2014

Photos by Julie Giron | PAGE 43

Give us the present. Denver Bespoke is a custom tailoring

a fabric that he can wear for his events

company. We make clothing for individual

or daily life.

clients based on their tastes, interests and personalities. We don’t mass produce

AJ didn’t care to guess how many pieces

anything----every garment we make is one

Bespoke has made over the years. He did

of a kind.

admit that they have to turn down potential clients, though. Despite having added

For the most part, we make men’s suits.

six employees to the Bespoke staff, there

But we also specialize in making distinct

simply isn’t room in the schedule.

leather jackets, waxed cloth jackets, and wool greatcoats. We make pieces that are

He recounted the arrival of Jeremy Willard,

inspired by the early- and mid-Twentieth

one of the Bespoke tailors. When Jeremy

century when clothing goods were heavi-

first came to Bespoke, he had no experi-

er, more substantial, and made to last.

ence as a tailor, only an earnest interest. His first attempt at sewing practice pants







our workshop.

took twenty-three hours. Since then, he has “graduated” to a five hour sew time. Of course, sewing is only one step in the

We sew each garment using 1950s era

process, with other steps being equally

machines that we have rebuilt in our

labor intensive.

shop. These machines, like our clothing, were built with a lifetime of use in mind.

The day of our visit, Bermuda Jill (Bev Smith) and Michelle Wallace, were work-

On the other hand, we sell virtually all of

ing alongside Lianna and AJ. Bermuda Jill

our pieces online. A client contacts us via

explained the music playing in the work

email and we discuss the ideal garment.

room was a communal choice—sometimes

Then we sketch it and source materials

selected simply to drive one another mad.

and send samples via mail. Next, for the highly tailored garments, we create what

That sense of belonging and connection

is called a cotton muslin - this is a full

doesn’t stop at the door, though.

mock-up of the suit that is cut from cotton - and we mail this to the client.

We also feel like we are part of a community. And this definitely isn’t the

Then the client can send us feedback and

fashion community.

comments, as well as digital pictures of themselves wearing the mock-up, and we

We are part of a community that includes

fine tune our custom patterns even fur-

businesses that grow and prepare local

ther to get the perfect fit.

foods, for example, or craft beers, and spirits. People want something that has

Because we do everything from patterns

more meaning than a mass produced,

to cutting and sewing, we can create suits

“brand name” product.

and coats with virtually any details. If a customer has a favorite suit from a film,

This community is both local and also

for example, we can recreate any detail

global. We sell as many of our suits

that he might see and blend this together

to overseas clients in Europe as we

with other details, making the piece in

do in Denver.

PAGE 44 |

Autumn 2013 Autumn 2014

Photos by Julie Giron | PAGE 45

What about tomorrow? Hopefully, we are going to move into a bigger space soon. In an ideal world, we would have a very large space that we could share with other artisans. That way we could offer shoes, for example, which is something that we do not make but would love to have available to clients for whom we are building completely custom looks. We also want to learn every technique that is out there and we love learning and sharing ideas with other artisans. We see our business as continuing to grow slowly. It is impossible to grow a business like this quickly as there aren’t enough skilled tailors out there - especially in the US. It probably takes about one year of full time sewing to make good vests, and a couple more years to make good jackets. Americans think that getting a college education is hard. But learning to be a good tailor easily takes more hours and a larger attention span. This type of work just tends to be less valued in our culture, but hopefully that is changing. You can find Denver Bespoke by AJ Machete & Sons online at or their Etsy page.

PAGE 46 |

Autumn 2013 Autumn 2014

Photos by Luc Nadeau | PAGE 47









Photography by R.g. Nelson






menting Butte as one of the world’s preEvel Knievel was born here, and that

mier venues for environmental research.

quintessential American daredevil, who dressed in a Stars and Stripes jumpsuit,

Like its prodigal son, Butte has a reputa-

held a Guinness record for most bones

tion for being tough. It might get knocked

broken in a lifetime, and once said “pain

down, but the town, founded on the in-

is temporary, glory is forever,” could

domitable spirit of the miners who built

well be the poster child for the place.

it, seems to always persevere. By all ac-



counts, Montana’s first electric light was


lit at the nearby Alice Mine, only a year or


not is


quite least

two after Edison invented the incandescent A mile above sea level, it sits atop a cata-

light bulb. The mines of Butte quite liter-

comb of mine shafts, some more than a

ally supplied the copper that lit the world.

mile deep. Old headframes rise above the buildings in the city skyline. An open

It is a city of extremes, with fortunes

scar called the Berkeley Pit, located im-

founded firmly in the cycle of boom and

mediately on the outskirts of town, is

bust. Since the end of mining’s glory

filled with water so toxic it borders on

days, Butte’s population has hovered

acid. When a migrating flock of Canada

around thirty thousand, but prior to 1900

geese landed there to rest, they all died,

it was the largest city between Chicago

PAGE 50 |

and San Francisco, and likely the most

Justin Aden, a former head distiller at



Headframe who has since left to start his

the world over flocked to this frontier

own distillery in Michigan, studied mi-

town, perched high upon the spine of

crobiology and ethanol fermentation at

the Rocky Mountains, to work in the

Michigan State University. As a grad stu-



dent he was instrumental in developing

Butte Hill, the Richest Hill on Earth.

that school’s Artisan Distilling Program,







and it was there he met John McKee, who Headframe Spirits, like all of Butte proper,

was prototyping spirits in a two week pro-

is located on the hill’s southern flank, on

gram. John lured Justin away from the

the corner of Montana Street and Galena

ranks of academia the way he secures all

in one of many brick buildings that stand

his protégés, with clear genius tempered

testament to the city’s heyday. It is odd

by humble confidence. That, and his still.

to see so much capital standing idle; a legacy so palpable and well preserved as

This unique still is, in Aden’s words,

to appear ready to take up where it left

the “holy grail” of micro-distilling. It is a

off. Butte is the perfect Industrial Era

game-changer; a scaled down, more prac-

ghost town, impatiently awaiting another

tical version of an ethanol refinery. Unlike

influx of industrious immigrants will-

the stills found in many micro-distilleries,

ing to re-imagine its Gilded Age glory.

Headframe operates a continuous distillation process that is not limited by stan-

The allure of the city, its magic, is its au-

dard pot still methodology. The stripping,

thenticity. The tasting room at Headframe

or low wine, run is eliminated in John’s

appears to have been built at the turn

still, making it capable of “just rolling.”

of the 19th century, because the building that houses it most likely was. The

What this means in lay terms is that

exquisite back bar is a treasured Butte

Headframe’s production capacity is great-

artifact on loan from the World Museum

er than most micro-distilling operations

of Mining, and a portion of the profits

by several factors. “With this still, we can

from Headframe’s popular Orphan Girl

produce more in a week than all of the

Bourbon Cream Liqueur are donated to

other distilleries in Montana combined,”

that area attraction. Pieces from a local

Aden said. The company’s strategic plan

artist adorn the walls, flanked by a vari-

calls for letting the business grow or-

ety of tributes to the city’s storied past.

ganically until it exceeds the production capacity of the still, which as Aden

Like most good saloons, the tasting room

put it allows for “plenty of expansion”.

is long and narrow, dominated by the bar along its north wall. Its south wall

And expand it has. In August, Headframe

separates the hospitality side of the op-

Spirits made news when they announced

eration from the production side, dividing

plans to become the largest distillery

Courtney’s realm from John’s. Metal stars

west of the Mississippi. They have since

adorn the partition, engineering novelties

opened a second facility with the capacity

that actually serve to hold the distillery

to produce 24,000 bottles every 8 hours.

together. They are a metaphor for Court-

How many proof gallons a distillery can

ney and husband John, their leadership

produce and still be considered micro

and the thing they are trying to accom-

is determined by the laws of each state,

plish, which begins with making spir-

which in the case of Montana is twenty

its but is ultimately about much more.

five thousand. Whether production at

PAGE 54 |

Autumn 2014

Headframe Spirits will one day eclipse that mark is yet to be determined, but John and his crew don’t spend much time worrying about it.

They are much

more concerned with distillation science than with “craft” or “micro” labels. For an artist, the creative process is special and unique. The same can be said of Headframe Spirits; however John is unwilling to take the analogy beyond the initial spark of inspiration.


that, he relies on science to mold his art into something palatable to the public. “Operating craft as art, can you survive the expense of gaining experience for fifty years?” he asks.

“It doesn’t mat-

ter how much passion or love you have, it’s about the science,” says John. “It’s hard for craft people to understand this. They want it to be learned, experiential. But the economics leave no room.” “We started from the point of ‘if we distill it, they will come’,” he adds. “But that is not the way we wanted to play in the game.” Consistency





ways hit a nerve, he explains, and better what

allows it







share to


“Selling the first bottle is easy. We concentrate on selling the second,” John says. “We have a goal of making Neversweat taste the same next time as it was two years ago.” In order to do this, the team at Headframe, like many makers of premium whiskey, blend their barrels. They test them with the usual organic techniques, sniffing and tasting the barreled spirit, but back it up with a gas chromatograph and what John refers to as the “craft of science.” It’s an approach that has allowed Headframe to produce a whiskey on par with those of master blenders who

PAGE 58 |

“The difference between a good spirit and a phenomenal one,” says Aden, “is science.”

Autumn 2014

have thousands of barrels at their dispos-


al using only a handful of barrels, analyti-

and Headframe to better my place and






cal equipment, and some real smart guys.

the world. We want to use our company to put a face on this community.”

John includes the craft of blending, the craft of science, in his definition of what en-

Headframe Spirits was born, to a certain

tails craft distilling. He avoids the divisive

degree, out of necessity. The company

camps arising from the use of neutral grain

that John and some fellow engineers had

spirits or such industry demarcations as

created, erecting commercial biodiesel

“grain to glass”, subscribing instead to the

plants onsite from a design they invented,

old adage that a rising tide lifts all ships.

had folded. He and Courtney were lying in bed, discussing what he wanted to do

“There are lots of people making things

next. When the best he could offer was

you’d want to drink,” says John. “If it’s

‘stay at home dad’, she called bullshit.

booze worth drinking, tell your friends.” “You know how to distill and you like Such unassuming manner provides a

hooch. How about opening a distillery?”

glimpse into the real key to Headframe’s roaring success.

More so than craft or







science, the actual stimulus has been

so that he immediately got out of bed

John and Courtney’s thoughtful brand

and began penning a marketing plan.

of leadership.

A philosophy of steward-

It was built on the premise that distill-

ship, of the brand, the process, the busi-

ing was the easy part, and intended

ness, the employees, even of the city and

from the outset to serve as a way for

legacy of Butte itself, is built into their

people to see beyond the Berkeley Pit.

company plan. Their management style is to create the infrastructure of suc-

“Headframe Spirits was born out of pas-

cess, then allow their team to achieve it.

sion for this place,” Courtney says. “That’s why we didn’t call it McKee Distillery.”

“We’re really smart at knowing what we don’t know,” John says. “Our thought

Living in Connecticut after earning her

was to hire people who are better at

degree in English from the University

this than we are, give them the tools to

of Montana, she remembered the Big

do things, and get out of their way.”

Sky State as romantic and far-away.


“Butte fore

“I am the person that makes sure things

wasn’t I


moved place



here, to

radar but




bean says.

get done,” says Courtney. “It’s like I have 26 children to encourage, support, and be

Butte is a snapshot of 20th century

stunningly proud of. I really love that job.”

America, so much so that it has assumed the mantle and calls itself, sim-

Courtney’s official title is that of ‘go-to girl’,

ply: Butte, America.

a designation she applied to herself deliber-

that of the greater nation at large, trac-

ately. It provides her with both the latitude

ing the country’s path through the In-

and the authority to take responsibility

dustrial Age in bare bones, heart on the

for every facet of the Headframe operation.

sleeve, all caution to the wind fashion.

PAGE 62 |

Its story parallels

Autumn 2014

PAGE 66 |

Autumn 2014

The city itself stands as testament to a

Butte has always been a socialist strong-

bygone era, one that Headframe Spirits

hold in otherwise conservative Montana,

celebrates loudly in its branding. Refer-

and that idealism is apparent in John

ences to local mines such as Destroying

and Courtney’s approach. They allow

Angel and High Ore adorn their labels.

their vision to be shaped by employees

But John and Courtney’s love for the

and customers, which makes the scope

town, much like the shafts of the mines

of the enterprise larger than they ever

themselves, runs much deeper than that.

could have imagined. Their business has scaled much faster than they expected.

“I want us to be mindful of where we are.

The plan called for having 14 employees

The second we forget we are a Butte,

at the end of the first year; they ended

America company we lose our integrity.”

up with 23, because they were needed. Rather than find it a source of anxiety,

Integrity is Courtney’s craft. Her job, as

the couple revels in the prospect. They

she explains it, is to ensure Headframe

dig into each employee’s talents and in-

remains authentic, in product, message,


and deed. Authenticity, integrity, atten-

to engage them in a special way. They

tion to detail, and imparting that to the

require that their permanent employ-

future, is her utmost concern. As she

ees set tangible goals, and then help

points out, there is no clear consensus

them achieve them. One was to learn

on what makes a micro-distillery, but the

Microsoft Excel, another to run a 5k.




same cannot easily be said of integrity. “I am fortunate that things in my work “What




day, things that are my responsibility, are


things I enjoy,” Courtney says. “I am grate-

ity over size,” she says. “We all have

ful to be in a position to encourage success.”







our roles and if my job becomes to be the gut check, I will embrace that.”


For John, maintaining that authentic-

Under such palpable leadership, it is

ity is purely a function of the produc-

hard to imagine a limit to what Head-

tion methods they employ. The unyield-

frame Spirits might accomplish. Courtney

ing logic of scientific method, he argues,

loves the idea of partnering with local col-

ensures Headframe is always authentic.

lege Montana Tech to make Headframe an educational outlet and the thought

“What is our flavor profile? We go to a

of using the label to help promote Butte

gas chromatic graph,” he says. “No mat-

as a destination for preservation tour-

ter what we are, what we become, the one

ism. There is significant interest in his

thing we must always do is put something

still, and John spends a great deal of time

worth drinking in a bottle. If we don’t

working with other craft distillers to ad-

do that, this will be employee owned,

vance the industry. Still, the couple re-

but there will be nothing worth owning.

mains committed to a simple measure of success, which Courtney verbalizes as:

“My exit strategy isn’t to sell out to Diagio. It’s to sell it to Audrey, and Hei-


di. I come to work smiling. Maybe we


grow, maybe we don’t. If we keep do-


ing what we’re doing, that’s enough.”


PAGE 68 |







have a

greater of



fabulous in




your and is.”

Autumn 2014

They do that by steadfastly adhering to their doctrine of science and stewardship, creating a label that is as much the breadth and depth of Headframe as that namesake is to the mineshaft it serves. “I am very proud of it. It has been a life-altering



says. “So well executed, like a symphony. It’s humbling to be a piece of that. You cannot account for love, and passion







Join the Movement—Subscribe Now!

Design. Served Neat.


Crafting the Urban Beardsman: H ow t w o sma ll c o mpa nies gr e w ou t o f o ne ma n’s bea rd Words by Mara Fields Photos courtesy of Beardbrand

I am standing outside a small, unassum-

It has been just over a year since the trio

ing warehouse just east of the Spokane

of Lindsey Reinders, Eric Bandholz, and

International Airport and feeling quite

Jeremy McGee finalized the formula for

sure I’ve written the address down wrong.

their popular beard oil, but the inspiration behind Beardbrand started back in

In the weeks leading up to my tour of

2012, at the end of Bandholz’s chin. At-

Beardbrand’s production facility I have

tending his first beard competition in

been imagining something different: a

Portland, Oregon to show off his fantas-

grandiose factory with conveyer belts and

tic whiskers, Bandholz encountered a

busy workers hovering over controls for

world of like minds. “It was at this event

various noisy machines. After all this is

that I first experienced the bearded life-

a company that ships their product all

style at its fullest, and simply put; I fell

over the world. I am about to discover the

in love,” he writes on

wonder of small-batch culture, where a grooming product with an international

After discovering this growing subcul-

following can be created by three young

ture, Bandholz took to Youtube and

friends and produced from start to fin-

Tumblr in an effort to connect with and

ish at the hands of one retired couple.

inspire his bearded brethren. Through

his blogs and videos, he shared tips on

Today the Beardbrand store sells a loving-

grooming and, more importantly, made

ly curated collection of bespoke grooming

a front line stand in the battle to end

products. The finest of the fine in hand-

stereotypes about bearded men being

made combs, boar bristle brushes, and

scuzzy, lazy, or overtly rural. The idea

New York made shave soap are all tested

of the “Urban Beardsman” was born.

by the founders before being stocked. If it isn’t something Eric or Jeremy uses

Wanting to take Beardbrand to the next

and loves, you won’t find it on their site.

level, Eric Bandholz registered for Startup Weekend Spokane, an annual event that

One of trios’ biggest achievements is

matches up entrepreneurs with design-

Beardbrand’s own line of beard oils and

ers and developers in a 54 hour compe-

mustache waxes. The beard oil condi-

tition. His pitch: a TV show sharing the

tions and softens facial hair while the wax

stories of “incredible beardsmen” around

has a medium strength hold to style that



dapper handlebar, or even just to train

make it into the next round, Bandholz





those tricky hairs away from one’s food

joined a team led by Lindsey Reinders.

muncher. The two products are available in 4 “kickass scents” and one fra-

When asked if Startup Weekend was

grance-free formula called “Blank Slate”.

where the team first met, Reinders explains to me that though they had been

These all natural products are mixed

professional friends prior to the event,

and packaged by hand in a gleaming

this was the first time they a had chance to work




fresh idea. The three hadn’t



team up. “Eric almost actually didn’t join my team because he and I were already friends and



production facility in



Spokane, WA, where I am delighted to meet Lindsey Reinders for a







When I first step inside I am surprised by the lack of machin-

branch out [...] but no one else would

ery. There are no conveyer belts. There



is no army of white-gloved workers on

aside, the troop did well at the competi-

an assembly line. The one room facil-

tion and were inspired to stay in touch.

ity is quiet, spotless, and smells amaz-





ing. I am met at the door by Richard & They had meshed so well, in fact, that

Phyllis Jessen, owners of Shadow Works

the three vowed to start a business to-

LLC. Along with only a single employee,

gether. Their chance came when a New

this cheery couple mixes each and ev-

York Times reporter contacted Bandholz

ery bottle of Beardbrand’s oils and wax-

to get his input for an article on beard

es. Inventory which tomorrow stocks

care products. Expecting an influx of

shelves in Glasgow is made here today.

interest, the team pieced together the Beardbrand online store. It launched just

Richard, a beardsman himself, takes

one day before the article was published.

us through their process that starts

In the beginning the team started with

with a lengthy sanitization involving a

little more than $30 and a single vendor.

high temperature wash, a drying stage,

PAGE 74 |

Autumn 2014

^ ABOVE Urban beardsman Scott Carey at South City Sump coffeehouse in St. Louis, MO

^ ABOVE Urban beardsman Stefan Hertel by Michael Muller

Autumn 2014

and an hour in a specialized oven. Ev-

in the Spokane Airport Business Park just

erything from the mixing tanks to the

4 months ago. They have been overwhelm-



ingly happy with the level of security and

that store scent mixes are similarly



the support for local business here. For

sanitized. This is one clean operation.

the Jessens, Beardbrand has been a life changing endeavor. “I enjoy doing it,” says

Depending on demand, Shadow Works

Phyllis. “It’s a lot of fun. I’m my own boss.”

may be bottling any or all of the company’s five oil formulas on a given day, in batches

Lindsey and Eric began working on beard

of 400. Richard is excited to get to a point

oil formulas at the kitchen table. At the

when they will be able to make batches in

time, Phyllis had just retired from a career

advance, ensuring that both the web store

in law enforcement and was looking for part

and retailers are always fully stocked.

time work to keep her busy. The Jessens’

Let us now pause to smile at the idea of

son, a friend of Eric and Lindsey’s, told

a world where beard oil never runs dry.

Phyllis about Beardbrand. “So we hooked up, and here we are” says Phyllis smiling.

Bottles are filled one at a time with a

“So much for part time!” laughs Lindsey. “I

handheld stainless steel pump. The shin-

don’t even think we did a few batches be-

ing contraption requires perfect timing on

fore we handed the reins over to Phyllis.”

the jump from one bottle to the next. Phyllis tells me “You only mess up once [...]

“It was all pretty primitive when I started

after you’ve had to clean up the oily mess

doing it,” Phyllis tells me, “We were doing

you’ve made, you never do that again!”

it all from home, and then it just got so big...” The Jessen’s had retrofitted a room

The bottles are similarly capped, labeled,

in their home to meet the standards for a

and shrink-wrapped one at a time. “It’s

commercial work space, but they quickly

all very hands-on,” says Richard. “It’s

outgrew it. In their new space Richard

definitely a hand-made product.” Phyl-

shows me a stockpile of equipment he has

lis focuses on making mustache waxes,

been gathering for future projects. They



are ready and optimistic for the growth, not

ing the perfect temperature of Beard-

just of Beardbrand, but of Shadow Works.




brand’s unique beeswax and lanolin base. The Jessens are already gearing up to The scent formulas are mixed from the

take on new clients and hope to be-



come a white label bottler for other

Beardbrand’s newest formula is called




small businesses. “It’s fun for us to

Four Vices and uses the scents of cof-

watch their business grow and evolve

fee, hops, tobacco, and a hemp can-







nabis extract, which Richard is quick to explain contains no THC. In keeping

And growing is exactly what Beardbrand

with Beardbrand’s mantra of a “personal

is doing. After their store launched in Feb-

scent” that can only be detected by the

ruary of last year, the small company has

wearer, a small jar of concentrated scent

worked with roughly 100 retailers world-

makes a good 4 gallons worth of subtly

wide. No matter where that growth takes

scented beard oil when mixed with jojo-

them, though, Shadow Works is to contin-

ba, almond and other natural base-oils.

ue to be their producer. Reinders explains to me that the handmade element is essen-

Shadow Works moved into this new facility

PAGE 78 |

tial in making them part of the larger craft

Autumn 2014

PAGE 80 |

Autumn 2013 Autumn 2014

culture movement. As she and the rest of

who break the molds of the outdated

the team pursue their passions, they can

“Grizzly Adams” stereotypes. As he states

rest easy knowing that Richard and Phyl-

in one of his articles, “It’s nice when all

lis are maintaining a level of quality that

you gotta do in life is be yourself; and

Beardbrand could never achieve in the sort

that’s what we are trying to help men do.”

of big factory I had originally imagined. To






At its core, Beardbrand is doing a lot





more than just selling men’s grooming

find a retailer, visit

products. Eric Bandholz hasn’t let the

To inquire about Shadow Works’ servic-

business side of things get in the way of

es, contact

his original intent. Through his Urban Beardsman Magazine, Bandholz shares the stories of outstanding beardsmen | PAGE 81


PAGE 84 |

Autumn 2014





building has a historical aspect with ex-

ing more and more difficult to sep-


posed brick walls, original wood rafters,


tin tiles and two big barn doors discovered


whiskey, craft


it’s the


when the Harris’ razed the old drywall. A recent Daily Beast article profiled a dispiriting trend in the liquor world, the

After establishing a sense of place, Scott,

bottling of mass produced juice under

the in-house historian and marketer,

craft-marketed labels. While exposing ar-

handed things over to his wife Becky,

tisanal imposters, the article gave a nod

the chemical engineer and head dis-

to Catoctin Creek Distilling Company in

tiller, and the tour got down to brass

Purceville, Virginia for keeping the faith

tacks, or in this case, copper stills.

as authentic makers of in-house, scratch whiskey. The mention was apt considering

Standing in front of two impressively

Catoctin is about as mom and pop as it gets.

shiny pot column stills, Becky Harris walked guests through a day at the office,

Started in 2009 by husband and wife

pointing out all of the machinery bells and

team, Scott and Becky Harris, Catoctin

whistles like buttons on a toaster. From

has established itself as a topflight pro-

mashing to fermentation, guests learned

ducer of prohibition styled spirits. At

the nuances of Catoctin’s certified organ-

40,000 bottles a year, the distillery rev-

ic and kosher process, one that opts for

els in its small-batch, small-town char-

inefficiency whenever the extra time and

acter. Located smack in the middle of

development produce quality. At Catoctin,



everything gets done by hand with only

embraced its role as a community fo-

three or four people working on a batch

cal point welcoming locals and Wash-

at a time arriving at a finished prod-

ington, D.C. day trippers into the mix

uct not by formula but trial and taste.




for bottling parties and daily tastings. With the group’s appetite for distilling In keeping with their signature hos-

knowledge satiated, the program shift-

pitality, Catoctin hosts Dinner at the

ed to actual meal time. Each month,

Distillery, a monthly dining experience

Catoctin collaborates with catering ma-

giving loyal drinkers the opportunity

vens Chef Wes Rosati and Chef Maria Aros

to enjoy a four-course menu paired to

of the Wandering Chef to create a menu of

taste with Catoctin Creek cocktails. Mi-

seasonal dishes that draw on the flavors

croShiner paid a visit to Catoctin for a

of local ingredients and Catoctin spirits.

tour and a taste at their August dinner.

The marriages produced are happy ones like the perfect pairing of Pan Roasted

At the start of the evening, diners sad-

Tenderloin and BBQ Rubbed Brisket with

dled up to Catoctin Creek’s horseshoe

a smooth Boulevardier made with Cato-

bar waved in by co-founder Scott Har-

ctin Creek Roundstone Rye “92 Proof”.

ris. With a barkeep’s charm, Scott deliv-

PAGE 86 |

ered a full history of the distillery from

Here are the cocktail recipes to recreate

its humble origins in the Harris’ back-

the meal yourself. If ever in Northern Vir-

yard to its present day location in a gor-

ginia, book a reservation for Dinner at the

geous, stripped down brick facility. An

Distillery to savor firsthand what’s cook-

old Buick dealership built in 1921, the

ing at Catoctin Creek Distilling Company.

Autumn 2014

WHITE PEACH JULEP Ingredients 2 oz

Catoctin Creek Mosby’s spirit

3/4 oz

Peach syrup


Mint leaves


over ice in a Rocks glass

The meal kicked off with charcuterie, which was served with a White Peach Julep. Charcuterie: pork country pâté and chicken liver mousse with caramelized onion and Reisling Gelee served with tomato-balsamic jam, fresh local apple, and crostini

PAGE 88 |

Autumn 2014


Saffron infused Watershed Gin

1/2 oz

.5 oz Grand Marnier


Orange Bitters


with Orange Peel


in Martini glass

Alongside the fish entree guests were served the Watershed Crocus Martini. Saffron Infused Fettuccine with Shellfish Ragout, Tarragon Oil, and Roasted Local Tomatoes

PAGE 90 |

Autumn 2014

BOULEVARDIER Ingredients 2 1/2 oz

Roundstone Rye

1 oz


1 oz

Sweet Vermouth


in Rocks glass

The beef entree was paired with a whiskey cocktail called the Boulevardier. Duo of Beef: Pan Roasted Beef Tenderloin and BBQ Rubbed Brisket, Fennel-Apple Slaw and a Fingerling Potato and Local Corn Hash, Cider Jus

PAGE 92 |

Autumn 2014

NIGHT CAP Ingredients 1 1/2 oz

1757 Virginia Brandy

For dessert, guests were treated to chocolate cake served with 1757 Virginia Brandy. Dark Chocolate Cake with Catoctin Creek Distilling Company Brandy Soaked Raspberries

PAGE 94 |

Autumn 2014


Join the Movement—Subscribe Now!

Pr o hib ition D istillery Words by Monica Racic Photos by Michael Marquand

Early last December, just a few days shy

“The idea was to come to a small town and make a bigger impact,” ex-

of the eightieth anniversary of the repeal

plains co-founder Brian Facquet. “We could have set down in Brook-

of prohibition, I traveled to a distillery in

lyn,” he continues, “and I got to tell you, my commute would have

upstate New York that takes its inspira-

been a hell of a lot closer.” Facquet makes the long commute from

tion from the era. Prohibition Distillery,

Hoboken, New Jersey each day. But the decision has already proven

founded in 2008, is nestled in the small

worthwhile. “Main Street is starting to revitalize itself; we’re getting

town of Roscoe, New York, approximately

people to pull off the highway, to stop in the restaurants and bars.

two hours northwest of New York City.

They come to Roscoe as a destination.”


hen Facquet and his co-founder,

tional in that it is completely gluten-free.

John Walsh, first started their operation,

Despite common misconceptions, only

they shared a small space in Tuthill-

two percent of the world’s vodka is made

town Distillery near New Paltz, New York,

from potatoes; most vodka today is made

where they befriended other distillers and

from wheat. Corn gives Bootlegger 21 a

learned a lot about the business. After

softer, more interesting hint of flavors. “It

they settled on exactly what they wanted

is a nicer thing to distill from,” Facquet

to make and where they wanted to do it,

explains. “You get great yield off of it from

they ultimately relocated to Roscoe a little

the fermentation, but it also has a little

over a year ago.

sweetness to it.”

Located in the southwestern Catskills,

As I wander through the tasting lounge,



decorated with cozy leather arm chairs

Roscoe is a grand vision of pastoral Amer-

and historic photos of the town, two wom-

ica. Since the nineteenth century, Roscoe

en arrive for a tasting and Facquet rolls

has been a prominent resort town, noted

right into a folksy show-and-tell.




for outdoor sporting activities, especially fishing. Two of the most popular trout

rivers in the country, Beaver Kill and

claims. She laughs in disbelief.

“It’s so smooth!” one woman pro-

Willowemoc Creek, converge in Roscoe,

“I love it,” her friend adds.

garnering it the title “Trout Town, USA.”

“Yeah,” Facquet interjects, “the face

Walking down Main Street, it is clear

on you made me think ‘you need some

that the town takes great pride in being

better vodka.’”

considered a sportsman’s paradise. Signs proclaiming “Welcome to Trout Town,

When the founders started out six years

USA” adorn


ago, their small working space did not


provide adequate storage for barrels, so

which opened shop in 1836. And just

they decided to start with a clear spirit,

further down Main Street, in a perfect

since it didn’t require aging. Luckily, the

touch of kitschy Americana, there is a gi-

choice has served them well.


including Orvis



ant “American Gothic” replica, with fishing poles instead of pitchforks, aptly titled

Bootlegger 21 vodka has a strikingly

“American Go Fish.”

smooth flavor. In 2010, Facquet and Walsh

sent an initial recipe to the San Francisco

Prohibition Distillery is located in Roscoe’s

World Spirits Competition, where it won

old firehouse, originally built in 1929, and

a silver medal among 235 other vodkas.

Facquet and Walsh’s renovation maintains

After some tweaking, Bootlegger 21 took

much of that initial building’s charm, in-

home gold at the 2010 New York Interna-

cluding the brick facade and exposed

tional Spirits Competition, and has since

wooden rafters. Upon entering, a visitor is

received an “Exceptional 90-95 Rating”

immediately greeted by the scent of sweet

from the Beverage Testing Institute. And,

corn wafting through the air, the basis of

most recently, it won the double gold at

Prohibition Distillery’s flagship product,

the Fifty Best Domestic Vodka competi-

their award-winning Bootlegger 21 vodka.

tion this past July. “You can put it next to

Made from one hundred percent corn and

any vodka and there’s nothing that’s go-

sourced from a local farm which does not

ing to be smoother,” says Facquet, with-

process wheat, Bootlegger 21 is excep-

out any hint of hyperbole.

PAGE 102 |

Autumn 2013 Autumn 2014 | PAGE 103




spilled on a VFW hall floor than anywhere else in town. They were real community centers. So we thought it was important to restore it. It is a great place for spirits to rest.

Prohibition Distillery in Roscoe, NY makers of Bootlegger 21

PAGE 104 |

Summer 2014 Autumn

When the pair first started promoting

Facquet’s penchant for symbolic storytell-

Bootlegger 21 at parties, Facquet recalls

ing and in-depth, even exciting, descrip-

their shock when no one would ask for

tions of the distillation process makes it

mixers. In fact, some people would even

easy to understand his background. For

happily drink the vodka warm. When

years, Facquet was a top salesman at Au-

Bootlegger 21 is warm, you can’t smell the

tomatic Data Processing, known as ADP.

alcohol. And when it is on the rocks, the

He had a successful career, “by whatever

ice seemingly changes its flavor, making

they call success,” he points out. Walsh

it sweeter and cutting the back end bite. It

was his HR director, and happened upon

is actually the first vodka that I have ever

the idea for a 1920s inspired distillery

wanted to sip straight.

at—of all places—a kid’s birthday party. A guest at the party was working on an

Facquet puts it more bluntly: “people that

apothecary themed product campaign

don’t like vodka, like our vodka.”

and asked Walsh what his hypothetical 1920s product would be. Walsh quipped

The firehouse’s former garage stores the distillery’s heaping supply of 80 pound bags of corn, and the second floor, which impressively overlooks the distilling apparatus, is part bottling room, part laboratory. Initial gin tests, experimenting with an array of infused flavors, were lined up on a work bench. (Unfortunately, the firehouse does not have a sliding pole for liquor emergencies. I checked.) Although space is no longer an issue for the distillers, the barrel room is still being refitted, which explains why, on the particular afternoon that I arrived, the atrium of the firehouse was lined with American Oak charred wood barrels, aging the soon-

“prohibition distillery” and “bootlegger” liquor. Coincidentally, Facquet was looking to do something new and was considering investing in a brewery. And so, just like all good plans, this one was born out of an idea and a chance encounter on the crosstown NY Waterway 42nd Street bus where Walsh ran into Facquet. When he shared his idea for a vodka company, Facquet told him “No,” his blue-sky thinking kicking in, “let’s be a distillery.” They added “21” to the Bootlegger trademark, commemorating the 21st amendment, which repealed prohibition. Now, six years later, they’ve turned their simple dream into a well-loved brand.

to-be released bourbon. In keeping with

In 2008, they began craft distilling. Fac-

the founders’ vision that the distillery be

quet gave me the full tour while finish-

a force for preservation in the town, the

ing up 600 gallons of mash, which had

barrel room is being converted in the old

cooled overnight. For every 600 gallons

VFW hall next door. Built in 1943, the

of corn mash, the distillation process will

hall was falling apart and facing imminent

yield 100 gallons of vodka. While greeting

demolition. Facquet and Walsh swooped

customers and running up and down

in to save it. “More beer was spilled on


a VFW hall floor than anywhere else in

described the distillation process with great

town,” Facquet points out, citing all the

vigor. Adding water to one of the four large

weddings, baby showers, holiday parties

scale fermenters, he explains that when

and so forth that have taken place there

the corn mash ferments it becomes beer.

over the years.

“They were real com-

In the distillation process the grain is

munity centers. So we thought it was

left in, whereas brewers would take

important to restore it. It is a great place

the grain out. (Corn beer would taste

for spirits to rest.”










PAGE 108 |

Autumn 2014

From there, the mash goes into a 1200

consciousness seems to inform every de-

gallon pot still for stripping. Facquet

cision the distillery makes. In an age of



seemingly unchecked greed, everything

necessary pot still, highlighting their





from Prohibition’s name, branding, and

strategy to “build it bigger so we have

locally sourced materials is an admirable

room for expansion.” This stripping pro-

example of a business built and run on

cess removes the alcohol from the water

concern for its impact, right down to the

and, as the blade inside rotates, separates

foundation of its building, and its mis-

the substances and starts cooking off the

sion to rejuvenate a town. Prohibition’s

alcohol as gas. Then as the gas moves

branding could, in less adept hands,

through condensers, it returns to liquid

come across as a gimmick, but the found-

form as a low-wine. At this point, 279

ers’ intentions instead appear completely

gallons will go into one of the respective

genuine. “We want to preserve things,”

300 gallon spirit stills for whiskey or vodka

Facquet says. “People don’t remember

distillation, and, in the case of gin pro-

enough. The idea is so we can all drink to

duction, it will continue on into the gin

something bigger.”

basket for infusion. In the end, there will be 100 gallons of vodka that is 80 per-

Bootlegger 21 vodka continues to win

cent alcohol. But of course, no process is

awards, but the founders have stopped

without refuse, and in this case the grain

putting them up around the distillery.

left from the mash is sent to local farms,

“At the end of the day, if you make it as

where it will be tilled back into the earth

good as you can and if you’re happy with

or used to feed pigs.

it, then that’s the best you can do. And so if people like whwat we make or don’t,

“Everything else is reused here,” Facquet

it’s okay,” says Facquet. “I’m fine with it.”

explains, “so nothing other than water goes down the drain.” But the distillation


process is not the only aspect of the prod-

through in Facquet and Walsh’s leader-





uct meant to have a positive impact.

ship. After over four years of operating as a pair, the team brought on Kyle, a young

Everything in a bottle of Bootlegger 21

man who grew up in Roscoe, and just

vodka is American sourced and produced.

graduated from culinary school. The three

Even the bottle itself is a symbol of Ameri-

of them run the distillery, with an extra

can support and solidarity. Each bottle

set of hands on weekends for tastings.

of Bootlegger 21 is embossed with a pop-

When Facquet left the tasting room to

py, a twofold symbol from the 1920s. It

help another customer, I pumped Kyle for

was a common design used in the opium

more information on the founders. Was

dens of the ‘20s, but more importantly, it

this place just too good to be true? Kyle

was the symbol used to remember fallen

only verified my impressions: “they are

soldiers after the First World War. Pop-

like my two adoptive parents.” In terms

pies would grow over the same battle-

of their operational savvy, he describes

fields and trenches where so many had

how Facquet and Walsh balance each

lost their lives, and so it became known

other out. “You couldn’t find a more per-

as the “flower of remembrance,” which is

fect team: you wouldn’t have that energy

important to Prohibition Distillery’s en-

without Brian, and you wouldn’t have

tire ethos. In touring the premises, this

that ‘step back, let’s think about this’

same mix of entrepreneurship and social

without John.”

PAGE 110 |

Autumn 2014

PAGE 112 |

Autumn 2014

This exact concoction of zest and meticulous care explains the distillery’s success, which has only grown exponentially since my visit last year. In February, Thrillist named Prohibition Distillery one of the top fifty craft distillers in America. And as a follow-up to their award-winning Bootlegger 21 vodka, the distillery released Bootlegger 21 bourbon and Bootlegger 21 gin, both made of one hundred percent corn, this past August. The bourbon, bottled at 92 proof and aged for nine months— in those American charred oak barrels I saw during my visit—is garnering attention at tastings for elegant notes of cinnamon and vanilla. And the gin, bottled at 94 proof, is a delightful maceration of juniper, coriander, lemon verbena, bitter orange and orris root. Both Bootlegger 21 vodka and gin are slated to ship to Italy and Spain this fall. Despite their early success, Facquet has not forgotten how they began: “When we started this, John was a tequila and Budweiser guy. He wasn’t a craft beer guy. It’s funny. I’m the guy in the bar going ‘Oh, oatmeal porter, what is that?’ I need to taste it. Now when you see John go out, he’s become a craft guy.” It’s this insatiable pursuit of quality that drives Prohibition Distillery. Facquet and Kyle will sometimes talk about “booze” for hours. But when I asked if that meant he became a distiller because he was always fascinated by the process, Facquet replied with exactly the same rationale which explains the quality of their product: “No, no. I just enjoy a good drink.”


Summer 2014



When you’re craving the warm embrace of something strong, sweet, sour, bitter, tart, tangy, bubbly, or just all around soul soothing, what you want is a cocktail that features seasonal ingredients and craft spirits. From the claret-colored juice of a blood orange to the sweet, weepy pulp of a persimmon, from the jewellike sparkle of a pomegranate seed to the bite of freshly juiced green apples, it’s time to delight in winter’s crisp flavors at the bar as well as the table. Paired with handcrafted micro-distilled spirits, each of these concoctions is more than a drink, it’s a tipple with a tale to tell, booze with a backstory for those who really care. Pick your favorite, from the Prohibition-era inspired Blood Orange Bees Knees to the pretty but potent Moonshine & Clementine—each of these cocktails will help stave off autumn’s chill and prove worthy of becoming your signature drink. Or at least a second round.

The Au Currant Makes 1 cocktail 2 ounces Tuthilltown Cassis 3 ounces Prosecco Pour the cassis into a champagne flute and top with Prosecco or other dry sparkling wine. No garnish necessary.

PAGE 116 |

Autumn 2014

Blood Orange Bees Knees Makes 1 cocktail 2 ounces Bootlegger Vodka 1 ounce fresh blood orange juice, other fresh orange juice, or honey syrup Blood orange Pelligrino Blood oranges (or other orange if using honey syrup) for twist Pour the vodka into a shaker and add the orange juice. If using honey syrup instead, mix equal parts honey with hot water; stir until dissolved and add to the shaker. Shake all ingredients well over ice. Strain into a chilled coup glass, top with the blood orange Pelligrino, and garnish with an orange twist.

PAGE 118 |

Autumn 2014

Moonshine & Clementine Makes 1 cocktail 1 ounce Kings County Moonshine (corn whiskey) 2 ounces Lillet blanc 2 ounces clementine juice Clementine slices for garnish Mix moonshine, Lillet, and clementine juice in a shaker filled with ice; shake until fully chilled. Pour into a coup glass and garnish with a slice of clementine.

PAGE 120 |

Autumn 2014

A Snowy Orchard Makes 1 cocktail 2 ounces Half Moon Orchard Gin 1 ounce fresh apple juice (preferably juiced from green apples) ½ ounce St. Germaine liqueur Small fresh apple for garnish Combine






St. Germaine in a shaker over ice. Shake until very cold and pour into a martini glass. Cut the apple equatorially through the middle for garnish.

PAGE 122 |

Autumn 2014

Stranger In a Bar Makes 1 cocktail 2 ounces Empire State Vodka 2 ounces Pom pomegranate juice 1 ounce Campari 1 tablespoon fresh pomegranate seeds In a shaker, combine the vodka, Pom, and Campari and mix well. Place the pomegranate seeds in the bottom of a martini or other wide mouth cocktail glass, add ice, and pour.

PAGE 124 |

Autumn 2014

Persimmon Old-Fashioned Makes 1 strong cocktail Pulp from half a persimmon 3 ounces Van Brunt Stillhouse American Whiskey 3 dashes Basement Bitters Club soda, optional Cinnamon stick for garnish Muddle the pulp from the persimmon in a shaker until nearly pureed. Add the whiskey and bitters and shake well. Serve over rocks in a low tumbler and top with club soda if desired. Garnish and stir with a cinnamon stick.

PAGE 126 |

Autumn 2014


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MicroShiner - Issue 08  

Raff Distillerie, Headframe Spirits, Prohibition Distillery and more from the world of craft spirits

MicroShiner - Issue 08  

Raff Distillerie, Headframe Spirits, Prohibition Distillery and more from the world of craft spirits