Tuesday, March 25, 2014

How Are You Paying For Your Craft Distillery?

Some people fund their craft distillery by sourcing and selling whiskey made by somebody else. Others do it with white spirits. Cardinal Spirits, in Bloomington, Indiana, is doing it by selling a proprietary whiskey glass.

As you can see, it's pretty similar to a Glencairn and works pretty much the same way too. They have some sciencey-sounding stuff you can read here, but really it's just a nice alternative to the Glencairn if you feel like trying something different. It's not as radical as the Neat glass, which may be a good thing. I like the Neat glass and it works well, but it somehow doesn't seem like a glass, more like something you float tea candles in. I rarely grab for it. The Blasadh (yes, that's what it's called) is different but not too different.

Blasadh, the literature says, is Scots Gaelic for "to taste."

There isn't much else going on at Cardinal, as they're just getting started, but they intend to make whiskey, gin, liqueurs, cordials, and vodka. I guess Cardinal's motto is, "Buy the glass so we can make something to put in it."

This is not aimed at Cardinal but at all craft distilleries. Don't make vodka. Really. And if you want to make gin, cordials, liqueurs, flavored vodka, 'moonshine,' or what have you, buy the GNS, don't make it. Why? Because GNS is the one thing a big industrial distillery can make better. It's not worth knocking yourself out for. There's really no point. There's no creativity involved, no real craft. There's craft in flavoring GNS, or there can be, but not in making it. You're just pulling out as much water as you can. That's an industrial process, not a craft.

I expect to hear a lot of hooey about artisan vodka and I'm not buying any of it. Vodka is flavorless. If it's not, it's not vodka and that's good, because not vodka is what we're looking for, not vodka.


Justin Victor said...

Chuck, what is your glassware preference when you want to be able to get a good nose on a whiskey? I'm tempted to get a pair of Neat glasses to try them out. (A man has to spend his hard earned money on something in addition to whiskey)

Chuck Cowdery said...

I'm probably going to grab either a Glencairn or the Blasadh, less likely to grab the Neat, although it also does the job.

Unknown said...

I like different things and I've got a hangup relating to glassware, so I'm sure I'll end up with one or two of these. I still don't feel the perfect bourbon glass has been created though. I want something more stable. Something that has a bigger footprint. Too often my glass will rest on carpet and I don't like having to put a book under the glass to do so. I'm thinking a Glencairn with a big footprint.

Justin said...

I just ordered a set of each of the blasadh and NEAT. I'm thinking of having a tasting to test glassware. Any excuse to gather the friends and pour the whiskey. ;)

sam k said...

I much prefer the Glencairn Wide Bowl over the Neat: http://whiskyadvocate.com/products-page/product-category/glencairn-wide-bowl-set-of-two/

Easy to hold, gets your nose right in there, and is big enough for a nice Manhattan.

Dan Shaffer said...

Absolutely agree on the GNS. I was just at North British distillery yesterday, where they had to stop producing GNS because they couldn't meet client's high standards for (low) congener levels. If a massive Diageo/Edrington owned plant cranking out 70 million liters of grain spirit every year can't do it, I wouldn't suggest the little guys try it.

Sjoerd de Haan said...

I think the definition of Vodka is a bit different in the US than anywhere else. In the US it's defined as being as flavorless as possible, while there can be some flavor to it if the producer really wants (Vestal Vodka is doing a great job of it).

But yes, in the USA it doesn't seem that interesting to create vodka.

Anonymous said...

Here, Here on the GNS. 208 Distillery in San Francisco is making a very nice gin from GNS and running it through their own still with the botanicals.

As to glassware I am partial to the Riedel single malt glass. The flared lip lets some of the alcohol dissipate and lets the aromas open up. It like less radical NEAT glass. Still won't stand up on the carpet though.

Vidiot said...

The Blasadh glasses look almost exactly like the tulip glasses Turkish tea is served in:

I may get myself a set of those with their associated saucers for whiskey nosing.

Michael Skubic said...

I would agree with you on the GNS, unless you are making some Genever where you want to perceive the flavors of the grain.

But we know all craft distillers want to grow up to make whiskey someday.