With new American-made copper stills, a veteran distiller and a handcrafted ethos, Dogfish Head Distilling Co. is expanding its distilling program this November with the launch of its 100 percent scratch-made spirits line.
Dogfish Head’s new state-of-the-art distillery is in the heart of its Milton campus, giving head distiller Graham Hamblett access to the same quality ingredients, brewing expertise and equipment used to make Dogfish Head’s off-centered ales. At the heart of the distilling operation are two 500-gallon copper stripping stills and a 250-gallon copper vodka column, sourced from fourth-generation custom fabricator Vendome Copper & Brass Works in Louisville, Kentucky.
“We’ve been distilling off-centered spirits on a very small scale out of our Rehoboth brewpub since 2002,” says Dogfish Head founder and president Sam Calagione. “As I travel, one request I hear over and over from our passionate beer consumers is, ‘When are you going to step up the spirits program and take Dogfish Head’s off-centered approach to a wider audience?’ Well, over the last year we’ve made the right investments, and the answer is now.”
The first spirits to debut from Dogfish Head Distilling Co. are Analog Vodka, Compelling Gin, and Whole Leaf Gin.
Dogfish Head Analog Vodka (80 proof): Made with 100 percent brewers malt and our proprietary ‘Doggie’ yeast, Analog Vodka embodies the core of Dogfish Head’s 20-year commitment to quality and creativity. It’s crisp, with a viscous sweetness of caramelized sugar, malted barley with a cleansing minerality, a sipping vodka for whiskey drinkers.
Dogfish Head Compelling Gin (88 proof): Distilled using the peel and flesh of our the company’s favorite citrus and a long list of beautiful culinary ingredients stolen from its brewpub kitchen, Compelling Gin is bright and citrusy, with a crisp juniper snap and lingering cinnamon warmth, a culinary-inspired gin.
Dogfish Head Whole Leaf Gin (90 proof): Like Dogfish Head’s signature line of continually hopped IPAs, Whole Leaf Gin continually doses whole leaf hops into each step of the gin distillation process. The result is an earthy gin, with a drying coolness, yet bursting with floral hop goodness, the IPA of spirits.
“You can make spirits from almost any type of raw material, we have chosen to start with the same ingredients that go into our beer,” says Hamblett, a horticulturalist with nearly two decades of experience running an artisanal winery and distillery. “In our process, everything starts in its rawest form, from scratch, and we will use the best ingredients available. We use a batch distillation approach through each stage. It’s a bit more work than other approaches, but it allows me to closely monitor and control each step of the distillation process.”
Other spirits, including rum and whiskey are on the horizon. “With access to Dogfish Head’s brewing equipment and ingredient resources, and our long history of bending stylistic guidelines using different grains and wood-aging techniques, we plan on distilling and aging all sorts of delicious spirits in the near and long term,” Calagione says.
“What we’re seeing is that consumers are looking for the same ‘goodness’ out of their craft spirits that have led them to explore craft beer,” says James Montero, distillery manager. “They want a high-quality distilled spirit and an honest and authentic approach wrapped in an interesting story.”
“Many distillers,” Montero continues, “are buying bulk spirits from large distilleries and rebranding them, but our spirits are 100 percent scratch-made. We start with the best ingredients possible, brew them using the best equipment and processes, then distill them in a manner that allows them—even our vodka—to maintain the ‘goodness’ of all those delicious ingredients. Having this type of ownership and expertise over the full process is becoming increasingly rare in the spirits world.”
Calagione agrees, “The goodness that our fans have come to expect in their beer glass will now be available in their rocks glass.”
For more information, visit www.dogfish.com.