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In my craft and boozy art

Small Batches+Pot Stills

The art of distillation starts with fine ingredients. However, our approach, deeply rooted in the tradition of pot still distillation, is a testament to our commitment to quality and innovation. Let's delve into the world of pot stills and how they influence the creation of our distinctive spirits, including our King & Dane rumsHeart of Vodka series, and Lowertown Bourbon, and Vistula Single Malt whiskey.

Pot stills, often made of copper, are used for batch distillation. They have a wide base that tapers into a thin neck. The fermented liquid, known as the wash, is heated in the still. The emerging vapors are collected, cooled, and condensed into a distillate. Pot stills are less efficient than column stills but are known for producing spirits with rich flavors and aromas. They are commonly used for spirits like tequila, some Jamaican rums, mezcal, and many malt whiskeys.

Column stills, developed in the early 1830s, are more complex and efficient than pot stills. They consist of a tall cylindrical column with vertically stacked plates. The wash evaporates and travels vertically through the still, with the vapor condensing around the plates. This process, known as reflux, strips water and other compounds, resulting in a spirit. Column stills can run continuously and produce a higher alcohol content. They are typically used for vodka, gin, some styles of rum, and most bourbon whiskey.

The method of distillation has a significant impact on the taste of the finished spirit. Pot stills typically create spirits with intense aromas and and designed for aged spirits, while column stills produce milder, smoother spirits. However, column stills can also create complex and full-bodied spirits, particularly in the case of ryes and bourbons.

In the context of Toledo Spirits, this information is particularly relevant as our rums (King & Dane), vodkas, and whiskey are distilled using pot stills. We believe that the soul of a great spirit begins with its ingredients. Our commitment to meaningfully-sourced approach is evident in every bottle we produce. From the grains that form the backbone of our whiskey to the botanicals that infuse our gins with their unique character, every element is chosen with care and purpose. This philosophy extends to our King & Dane rums and Heart of Vodka series, where the quality of the raw materials is paramount.

Our pot stills are instrumental in creating the distinct profiles of our spirits. For instance, our King & Dane rums exhibit a depth and smoothness that are direct results of the pot distillation process paired with our agricole-style fermentation. Similarly, our vodkas, including the Heart of Gold Vodka, benefit from the nuanced flavors and purity that pot stills can achieve. The whiskey we produce is a celebration of the pot still's ability to extract the natural characteristics of the grains, resulting in a spirit that is both robust and refined.

The challenge in this context is how best to honor the traditional methods of distillation AND not be afraid to innovate. Our spirits are a blend of time-honored techniques and modern creativity, resulting in products that are both familiar and excitingly new. Whether it's experimenting with different aging processes or exploring unique flavor combinations, our use of pot stills provides the perfect canvas for our creative expressions.

About the author

Andrew Newby

Andrew is a passionate entrepreneur and experienced tech strategist with a deep love for craft manufacturing. As the CEO and co-founder of The Toledo Spirits Co. and HEAVY Beer Co., he leads the charge in operating our ecosystem. Alongside his ventures in the spirits industry, Andrew boasts a strong background in software product development, making him a versatile leader in both the agribusiness and tech worlds.