John Jeffery guesses he got into the Food Science graduate program at the University of Michigan because he wouldn’t stop pestering his professor. We’re pretty sure he got in because that same professor presented him with a quarter of a million dollars worth of distilling equipment and said he was welcome to use it during grad school if he could make himself a salary with it. Jeffery started a small production distillery, and developed a consulting service to offer research and troubleshooting to distillers. And in his free time he wrote his thesis on barrel-aging in alternative size barrels. He graduated after three years from the Artisan Distilled Spirits Program with a masters degree in fermentation and distillation. One of the distilleries that used Jeffery’s consulting services was Death’s Door Spirits. “Brian Ellison [the company founder] showed up with two bottles of cloudy whiskey and tears in his eyes,” says Jeffery. He was busy with finals and other projects, but he managed to go out for a beer with Ellison, and the rest is history....
Featured Vodka Distilleries
If you love Vodka, these are people to know. Because very slowly, in tiny batches, with the greatest commitment to creating products of distinct personality and regional character, these people are making some of the finest vodkas in the world. Right here in America.
These are not the over-priced, over-filtered, over-hyped, tasteless, expressionless vodkas made popular in the lounges and clubs behind the velvet ropes.
This is a new movement in Vodka. Hand-crafted vodka made by Death’s Door in Wisconsin, the many natural flavors of Charbay made in the heart of California wine country, the Washington Wheat Vodka of Dry Fly, and the certified-organic processes of Square One. Meet the people behind the bottles. Hooch Film presents its new and ongoing series, “The Distillers.”
“We make vodka the way it was supposed to be made,” says Don Poffenroth, the co-founder and distiller at Dry Fly Distillery. “Vodka is a category that has become so bastardized over time that the average consumer and the average bar owner are sick of the word. It’s a spirit that’s lost all of its original integrity. Originally vodka was meant to be a spirit that highlighted the raw material. Colorless, odorless, tasteless was not part of the equation. It became that way when manufacturing became more important than the spirit did.” So out of rebellion from vodka’s new persona as the tasteless spirit, Don and his business partners Patrick Donovan and Kent Fleischmann decided to show us all what vodka could, and should, taste like. They make their spirit out of a variety of soft winter white wheat called Madsen that was developed in Washington in 1980. “[The wheat] comes through as a butterscotch, vanilla tone in the finished product,” says Poffenroth. Like all of their other spirits, Dry Fly Vodka is grown, processed,...
Bendistillery: Pure, Oregon-Inspired Spirits
Berkshire Mountain Distillers: Flavors of the Northeast
Bully Boy Distillers: Redefining the American Spirit
Corsair Artisan Distillery: Whiskey Obsessed
Desert Diamond Distillery: Kicks in Your Cocktail on Route 66
Finger Lakes Distilling: A Whiskey Distillery in Wine Country
High West: Making Rye in Park City, Utah
John McCulloch Distillery: Living the American Whiskey …
Leopold Bros. Distillery: A Family Affair
Oola Distillery: A Local Seattle Favorite
Peach Street Distillers: The 2012 Distillery of the Year
Peak Spirits: High Altitude Farm-to-Glass Distilling
Philadelphia Distilling: Revolutionary Spirits
Ransom Spirits: What’s In a Name?
Smooth Ambler Spirits: What Small Business is All About
Square One Organic Spirits: Born in the Tetons
St. George Spirits: Eau De Vie Philosophy
Tuthilltown Spirits: New York-Style Whiskey
Vermont Spirits: Tapping Vermont’s Natural Resources
Watershed Distillery: Commitment to Community
Whistling Andy Distillery: Montana’s Own Caribbean Rum
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