Craft by Design Part Two: The Distillery
There are currently over 2,300 craft distilleries in the US and they display an astonishing degree of diversity in their products, in their back stories and in their approaches. With so many producers in this craft beverage space, its a fair question to ask – what makes this one different?
One key difference is that while most craft distillers are heavily Brand Forward with products almost as a secondary consideration, Gate 11 Distillery is decidedly Product Forward.
Our goal in creating Gate 11 Distillery has been to produce premium craft spirits that can compete directly with conventional spirits at bars, restaurants and at your home bar. This emphasis on premium spirits is a bold vision for a family-owned craft distillery but our track record in spirits competitions, in our market and from feedback at our bar suggests that we are well on our way towards fulfilling this goal.
Our approach to creating these products however is equally unconventional. Rather than purchasing standard craft distillery equipment, we have chosen to build all of our own fermentation and distilling systems. We now have five stills including a column still dedicated to running neutral spirit base for vodka and gin and dedicated small batch glass stills for botanical extractions. This full embrace of the craft distilling ethos has been necessary to enable us to produce the award-winning vodka, gin, rum, absinthe, agave spirit and malt whiskey we offer today. It is simply not possible to make a drinkable version of every spirit in a single pot still (although we have one of them as well for whiskey and agave spirits).
Having custom-built distillery equipment is just the start however. Developing a new premium craft spirit takes a rigorous product development approach and this may be in fact our most unique attribute. Using a combination of sensory and analytical (GC) evaluations of conventional spirits along with suggestions from our industry networks, we define a preferred processing approach and then produce several prototypes. We then submit these prototypes to evaluation by our entire team to define the best candidates.
Our cocktail bar however, is the final and best testing ground for these amazing spirits. Having a fully functional cocktail bar enables our bartenders to put all of our spirits to the test in all manners of cocktail recipes and infusions. We suggest you stop by for a tour and tasting or just for a cocktail and judge for yourself what a difference it makes when a distillery makes their products and not just their brand the priority.