The Art + Science of Distilling

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Lock, Stock & Barrel; Going All In With Your Cooper

July 14th, 2021

Written by Shelley Sackier, Director of Distillery Education, Reservoir Distillery

I could write countless articles on the topic of flavor. I could say that as we understand the term today, an easy formula to define it would be scent + taste = flavor.

Or I could argue that biologically speaking, flavor isn’t determined only within the oral and nasal cavities; rather it includes parts of the brain, as well as a person’s sensory memories, personalized palate, and other internalizations. Really, I like to think of the equation for flavor as a list of five ingredients: we’ll keep scent and taste, but we’ll also add a dash of touch, past experiences, and expectations. Now that’s flavor.


The Seven P’s Of Selling Wine & Spirits

June 30th, 2021

Written by Scott Rosenbaum, Ah So Insights

What can wine and spirits brands learn from literature? Well, here’s a hint—this one’s brought to you by the letter, P.

There exists a certain thread of literary analysis that strives to summarize storytelling. From Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces to Christopher Booker’s The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories, a number of critics, academics, and philosophers have recognized that the narratives we share is built around similar basic structures. Despite their details, stories usually fit into broad archetypes: the epic quest, the rags-to-riches tale, the yarn about overcoming a monster, and so on.


A Whiskey Lover’s Guide to Cuban Cigars

June 16th, 2021

Written by David Smith, Creative Content Manager, True Fronto

From Winston Churchill to Groucho Marx, Cuban cigars have played an important role in global society and have even been portrayed as the height of luxury—sound like something else you know? It should, because the world has found whiskey equally alluring. The two have been paired together for centuries with great results.

When combined correctly, the aromatic flavors of each blend beautifully to create a luxurious sensorial experience. If you’re new to matching up your favorite Cubans with whiskey—or new to Cuban cigars in general—you’ve come to the right place. This brief guide will provide you with some insights into the art and history of cigar-making and how you can use this knowledge to create the ideal pairing for your palate and preferences.


6 Questions For Proper Distillery Boiler Maintenance

June 2nd, 2021

Written by Cliff Jacobson, CEO, Spray Chem; Business & Engineering, Burnt Barn Distilling Co.

The steam your boiler creates is the driving force behind your entire operation. It’s what allows you to turn your raw materials into barrels of Bourbon.

Steam boilers only have one job—turning water into steam. This steam is then used to cook and add moisture to the mash while providing heat for your stills. Sounds simple: bring in the water, heat it up, turn it into steam, and replace the lost water with more water. But, if your boiler goes down, then you lose your ability to create your product and your business suffers.


Some Thoughts About Distillery Design

May 19th, 2021

Written by Randy Allender, Owner & Manager, R Allender Consulting

There’s more to building a distillery than cobbling together four walls, a ceiling, and a few stills. If you want to build a distillery—and do it the right way—there are a number of details to consider, many of which involve safety, regulations, and operational efficiency.

This is a complicated topic, and every project is unique, but there are a few simplified, general guidelines I propose for distillery design in the US. Please note that any advice stated here should be reviewed and verified by those qualified to do so in your part of the world.


Understanding The Basics Of Distillery Boiler Water Treatment

May 5th, 2021

Written by Cliff Jacobson, CEO, Spray Chem; Business & Engineering, Burnt Barn Distilling Co.

We carefully consider our mash bill and our processes hoping to create a unique and outstanding product—yet few of us take the time to think about the steam we’re injecting into our kettle. It’s just steam, right? What else is there to say about it?

Well, plenty. Proper boiler water treatment will extend the life of your boiler and improve the quality of the steam it produces. Because your water has a direct impact on the success of your processes and the life of your equipment, you’ll want to assess the quality of your water. To do this, you should consider two factors: the first is your water source itself and the second is how water is treated before it cycles through your equipment.


11 Questions With Whiskey Expert, Matt Strickland

April 21st, 2021

Ever thought about opening your own distillery? What would you produce? If you ask Matt Strickland, he’ll suggest whiskey. Ahead of Moonshine University’s Whiskey Workshop this May 27 to 28, we talked to whiskey expert Matt Strickland, Head Distiller at Distillerie Cote des Saints and Founding Distiller of District Distilling Co. Hear the inside scoop on whiskey, how he built a career around his passion, and what lies ahead for the whiskey business in this latest edition of our 11 Questions series:


7 Tips for Hosting A Successful Tasting Event

April 7th, 2021

Written by Chris Zaborowski, Owner, Westport Whiskey & Wine

One of our core beliefs at Westport Whiskey & Wine is that the best way to learn about a product is to taste it. We have promoted tastings since we opened over a dozen years ago and have devoted a significant amount of floor space to support that effort. If you’re looking to plan a tasting event of your own, there are a few best practices you’ll want to keep in mind to ensure everything goes smoothly.

Remember, the number one rule of any tasting—whether it be beer, wine, or spirits; virtual or in-person—your goal should always be to make the event as comfortable as it is informative. Here are some key points to keep in mind when planning and conducting a great tasting event:


Embracing The Blended Experience

March 24th, 2021

Written by Jason Dobson, Business & Creative Director, Contagious UK

“The Blended Experience” was a topic of conversation at Contagious pre-pandemic, and current events have only helped to further justify it as a core part of our approach in shaping the Direct-to-Consumer journey. There are a vast variety of the experiences that challenge the application of design in physical environments— including distilleries, brand homes, visitor centers, and retail— as well as in the education and promotion of new and existing products.

Now more than ever, brands need to engage with their customers and influencers. The primary challenge, as I see it, is to make sure that they can respond to this need through the provision of accessible experiences within the given set of circumstances.


The Spirit of Survival: Evolving Ethanol, Tannins

March 10th, 2021

Written by Luis Ayala, Founder of Rum Central, Got Rum? magazine & The Rum University

People who appreciate aged distillates— regardless of the spirits category— rarely stop to think about the evolutionary paths taken by nature in order to make their beverages possible. We rely on yeast’s prowess in “chemical warfare” to produce ethanol, which we later infuse with tannins that were originally evolved by plants as a defense against predation. So while yeast has evolved the ability to produce alcohol to fend off bacteria and fungi, it is humans’ appreciation for ethanol that has ultimately ensured the large-scale propagation and perpetuity of yeast— it begs the question: “who serves who?”


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