Saturday, April 17, 2010

Old World Spirits, New World business plans

This ain't your fathers gin. image

Close your eyes and picture a successful distillery and maker of fine spirits. If you see, in your minds eye, a huge distillery/factory that churns out gallons and gallons of well drinks, you missed the part where I said "Fine" spirits.   If you are picturing a large copper still, nestled in a stone and brick building, surrounded by fields of grain the for mash or rolling vineyards for the brandy, well, your still not picturing the new breed of distillery.

In the 80’s, the beer brewing industry started a mini-revolution.  And, I do mean “Mini”.  It seemed that there was a microbrewery popping up in warehouses and industrial parts all over California.  Then, in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, the wine industry saw that model working, and we started seeing little urban wineries appearing in metropolitan areas and small industrial rental complexes.  Places like the “Wine Ghetto” in Lompoc showed that you could, quietly, simply and on a small scale, without all of the traditional trappings of appearance, turn out world class wines.

Now, here we are in the bold new world of the micro urban distillery. A good idea can not be kept down. Hold on I have seen the future, and it is good.

While visiting a favorite urban brewery last nigh, I found a steel roll-up door open on one of the units.  A sign outside said there was a tasting going on, and once inside, there was a tasting counter next to a small, beautiful, copper and steel still.  Welcome to the future, it is here. iPods and Laptops aren’t the only thinks that are getting smaller and better.

Old World Spirits in Belmont, has an ambitious selection of brandies, gin, a couple of absinthes, and a delicious black walnut liquor.  The owner/master distiller Davorin Kuchan comes from a family of distillers and he is doing a great job in continuing the family trade and trade.

All of his spirits are made with local products.  The base ethanol for his brandies are all distilled from northern California Zinfandel.  His peaches are from central valley heirloom peaches.

His gin, only available at a local shop, is fine, botanical, herbal and citrusy with a little hint of cilantro.

His two absinthes are both superb, and both very different from each other.  One, is more traditional, anise and wormwood, citrus, and a natural sweetness of aroma.  The other, with similar flavors, just kicked up a couple clicks.  A 1:4 louche brings out the color and texture and makes and puts a bloom on a fantastic drink.

If you want to treat yourself to some of these fine spirits and see what expertise and passion can create, visit their website and find where you can try some for yourself.

I will be adding more to our home cabinet.

No comments: