Now we're an actual distillery

Hey friends, Lots to report. For example, this article in the Duluth News Tribune. Mmm, word play.

So here's the last month, distilled into a handful of pictures.

Bent Paddle started brewing our distiller's beer - a special recipe of fermented stuff that's great for distilling and very unlike the beer we drink. Here we are picking up the first batch in our sweet truck. See if you can pick out brewmeisters Colin and Bryon from the pictures.

DSC01332 DSC01328 DSC01327DSC013312.5 miles and about 125' of hose and pump later, here it is in our stripping still.

DSC01349Next step (and this is always the next step), clean the tanks and hoses!

DSC01351Maybe we can assign that to Kevin Evans, future master distiller? Assuming, of course, he's not as scary as he looks?

DSC01356Then we'll fire up the boilers and get the still going. Getting the boilers ship shape turned out to be a real task. Many thanks to Don Doty, our in-house boiler guru, and Badger at Canal Park Brewery for his advice, and of course the boiler ninja from Jamar.



Then about an hour later, our temperatures will start to spike, and we'll dial back the steam, turn on the condenser, and start getting alcohol out the other end!

DSC01336If you're an eagle-eyed distiller you'll notice our first order of business was puking the still. Every still is a unique snowflake, and there's always a learning curve!

After stripping, the so-called low wines are pumped into the spirit still, on the right.DSC01347

The sauce goes through the spirit still 3 times, each run being about 8 hours long. Cutting to the chase, we're building up a good supply of nice clean vodka, which we'll start infusing to make our gins and aquavits later this week. It's funny, and very happiness inducing, after 14 months of work, to stand there at the spirit safe and taste crystal clean ethanol coming through at 190 proof. Who would have thought we'd ever make it?

Getting to this point has been sort of a sprint, involving lots of weekends and late nights, and more copper fittings, spools of solder and canisters of MAPP gas than we care to count.


But any distiller worth his salt does his own plumbing. And it's been fun getting the hang of all the bits and pieces of equipment required to make this place run.

DSC01360In between the distilling, we've been cleaning and scrubbing and getting the furniture installed.DSC01310

Between now and the holidays we'll be tweaking recipes, doing some finish carpentry, and waiting on the government to approve our labels so we can get our bottles printed.



But we can see the light at the end of the tunnel! DSC01316

And in early January we'll emerge from our chrysalis, bottle our guns and aquavit, and get them on the shelf for you to enjoy!DSC01319


Cheers, and happy thanksgiving!

Joel, Emily, Espen, Kevin, and Squid