Dear curious reader,
I know, this title is so appealing, right ? Actually IT IS.
Zachary Bruner, co-founder, distiller and a great mechanics welcomed me in Industry City Distillery…. in Industry City, Brooklyn in the middle of the hottest Saturday afternoon of September.
What a tour !!!
If you want to know about distillation beyond textbooks: this is the place. When the team behind Industry City Distillery started, they took the challenge from a distillation point of view.
I discovered and learned so much in an hour discussion that I already know I want to go back and learn more. And who knows meet David Kyrejko of Arcane, next. David is one of the founder of Industry City Distillery and recently created Arcane to explore distillation even further.
Ok, enough words. Let’s dive.
What is Industry City Distillery producing ? The purest fruit of the distillation process : vodka. When you are interested in making the best distilled spirit, pure expression of what alcohol can be, you kind of look in the direction of vodka. Neutral spirit par essence. Read this quote from David Kyrejko I found in “Brooklyn Spirits” that kind of show their approach and philosophy.
"The majority of vodka on the market are all from the same source, an industrial ethanol that you buy and mix with water. They’re not distilleries at all they’re rectifiers, which means they don’t actually make their product other that adding water to the alcohol.”
Industry City Distillery’s vodka is a (beet) sugar based vodka.
Why sugar? Because anything that contains sugar can potentially become alcohol, why not going to sugar directly. Another reason : there is no waste with sugar. Everything is fermented. A big perk if zero waste is one of your concern.
And now, discover what makes Industry City Distillery, Industry City Distillery: yes it is their spirit, in every sense of the term, but also their home made stills! (they are also famous for the way they deal with indigenous yeast, but we didn’t have time to get into that). Look at them, have you ever seen such a series of stills ?
They are made on premisses, in the room photographed below. Isn’t it a dream workshop (not only because you can see the East river and it is full of sun) ?
There is no waste again, the heads are use as cleaning detergent, the tails will be re distilled. Once all the different cuts are collected into those glass jar see below, they are tasted, and only the best got blended and make the vodka (after being filtered and diluted with purified Brooklyn city water).
You are not going to find much information about this type of distillation in any book. Anyhow it seems that no author want to understand it ??? It seems no one wants to see distillation improved ? Or does no one want to see young people making great vodka with their own equipment instead of investing in costly ready to work stills ? I have no answer. Just wondering.
What is also a surprise at Industry City Distillery is the absence of copper, absence of most of the tools you see usually in distilleries, the ones you think you can’t make vodka without. No big grain fermenters. No copper pot stills. No old barrels resting somewhere (but glass jar). No fancy filtration system, but only small filters hanging on a wall.