“Industry City Distillery has been a beautiful accident from the start,” so begins Robb Todd’s Oct. 23, 2015 article for Fast Company about a remarkable vodka distillery situated in New York City,
Cofounders David Kyrejko and Zachary Bruner didn’t decide to make vodka because they love vodka. The distillery came about as the byproduct of a byproduct, faced challenges most distilleries don’t face, and had a goal very different from others in the drinking game.
“We make booze to pay for art and science,” Kyrejko says. [emphasis mine]
It all started with experiments focused on aquatic ecosystems and carbon dioxide production,
He [Kyrejko] used fermentation to create CO2 [carbon dioxide] and the byproduct was alcohol. That byproduct made Kyrejko think about its applications and implications. Now, that thinking has manifested as a liquid that more and more people in New York City are coveting in the form of Industry Standard vodka.
At least part of the reason this vodka is so coveted (Note: A link has been removed),
“Vodka is one of the easiest things to make if you don’t care,” Kyrejko says, “and one of the hardest if you do.”
Vodka is difficult because there’s no way to mask the imperfections as with other liquors. To make a spirit there are usually three “cuts” made during distillation: heads, hearts, and tails. What most people drink comes from the hearts. But Kyrejko and Bruner cut theirs 30 times.
“The art is knowing how to blend cuts,” Kyrejko says, adding that other makers do not blend their vodka. “It’s a giant pain in the ass.”
Thought has been put into reducing the company’s footprint,
They say they’ve considered the waste they produce from business and environmental standpoints, as well as the energy they use to create their burning water. So they lean on beet sugar instead of grain, and sacrifice the aesthetics of their stills by insulating them rather than polishing the copper to impress tour groups. And even with about 10,000 square feet of space, they use very little of it for equipment.
“The truth is, running a distillery in an urban setting using ‘traditional’ technology just doesn’t make any sense at all,” Kyrejko says.
This is why their initial goal was to build machines that were three times more efficient than what is commercially available, he says. Now, though, he says their machines and processes are up to six times more efficient, and take up a fraction of the space and resources as traditional methods.
It’s an interesting story although I do have one quibble; I would have liked to have learned more about their art and scienceor art/science, efforts. Maybe next story, eh?
You can find the Industry City Distillery website here.