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Mentioned in this Episode:
Welcome back to season two of the Distilling Craft podcast. You’re listening to episode five: Amari Amaro.
Sponsorship Mention (00:00:11):
The Distilling Craft podcast is brought to you in part by our great sponsors Fermentis, the obvious choice for beverage fermentation. Providing the craft spirits industry worldwide with the best fermentations for more than 100 years. Contact our sales team to help make your choice on yeast and products for distilling your next great spirit. For more information or to find a distributor, visit Fermentis dot com that is F E R M E N T I S.com.
Colleen Moore (00:00:40):
What’s up guys? This is Colleen Moore from Dalkita, your host for episode number five of our second season of the Distilling Craft podcast. Thank you so much for downloading and listening today. We are still road tripping through the Southeastern United States and today we are in beautiful St. Augustine, Florida, the sunshine state where ironically it’s raining. What a better thing to do than write a podcast episode between lightning strikes. With that, it’s time for our safeties, so
Colleen Moore (00:01:19):
Let me just get up here. No, that doesn’t look safe. Is there a guard rail? Maybe a spotter? So today we’re going to do a count down of OSHA’s top 10 violations in 2019. So every year the occupational safety and health administration, otherwise known as OSHA, comes out with this list of their top 10 violations across all industries. And these 10 categories account for nearly 27,000 citations. Now, I love top 10 lists in general. I find them nice, compact little nuggets to consume. Uh, but looking at a top 10 list of the same thing year over year can show you trends. And in this case it tells OSHA what items they may need to address and trainings to provide resources to so people better understand them and address them in their facilities. So in this case, it’s all about keeping people safe. So what you should do is take this list and compare it to your own workplace.
Colleen Moore (00:02:31):
These are the things that OSHA fines at facilities in all kinds of industries all over the country. Would they find it in your facility? If the answer is yes to any particular item, you have identified something that you can proactively work on to help keep your coworkers and visitors safer in your facility. So without further ado, for 10 most cited OSHA violation of 2019 is eye and face protection. That’s going to be goggles that you wear. So you don’t get ethanol splashing in your eye or grain dust or something like that. For nine, it’s going to be machine guarding. So that’s gonna be any machine that has moving parts that could, you know, crush your fingers or capture your hand or pull in a piece of clothing and suck you into the machine. So that’s what machine guarding is. The number eight most cited OSHA violation is actually insufficient training.
Colleen Moore (00:03:32):
And it’s something that we have higher up on our most cited list. So insufficient training regarding fall protection is number eight. Number seven is going to be powered industrial trucks. So those are going to be your forklifts. We’ll probably dig into that later in another safety soapbox this year. Number six is one we’ve already covered is ladders. Number five is respiratory protection. That’s a good one to do. Dig in to, for another safety soapbox. So I’ll put that on my list for this year. Number four is one that scares me. Number four, as lockout tag out, this one scares me and it affects workers that have to service, repair, maintain equipment, especially if that equipment can become energized while someone’s working on it. And I can actually think of several activities that occur in a distillery where this could be a hazard.
Colleen Moore (00:04:35):
So we can cover this one in a future soapbox as well. So stay tuned for that one. Number three, scaffolding or work platforms. So if you have these in your distillery, it would look like your equipment is surrounded by an elevated platform to make getting at the equipment a little bit easier. This one’s actually a good one. We can cover it in a future soapbox as well. The number 2 most cited OSHA violation of 2019 is actually hazard communication. And this one surprises me a little bit, but then it also doesn’t, I think it’s one of the easiest ones to comply with. So that’s the part that surprises me. But then I also think it has kind of a poor name and it doesn’t really describe what it is supposed to do very well. So it confuses people just with this name.
Colleen Moore (00:05:28):
Uh, but it is important and distilleries need to pay attention to and address signage and labeling, uh, in their facilities. And so what hazard communication is just a standardized way to identify chemicals that are produced or used in the workplace? Signage and labels. So OSHA standard is actually in line with an international standard and that’s been in place since 2013, but it’s surprising. It’s the number two most cited OSHA violation. I guess this tells us that, since the rules have been in effect, lots of businesses are struggling with how to implement it in the workplace. And we can definitely do a safety soapbox topic on that. It’ll probably be several, so that you can get lots of workable little nuggets to work on. And the number one most cited OSHA violation of 2019 is fall protection. So it’s actually been the most cited violation for the past several years.
Colleen Moore (00:06:33):
Since our company is also in the construction industry, this would look like, think of like a residential roof, people working on the roof. So it’s edges that you could fall off of. The focus of OSHA activity has been unprotected edges at an elevated height. Construction would hear about this quite often. Elevated falls account for about 40% of deaths in the construction industry. Fall protection guidelines specify guardrail systems, safety net systems are for personal fall arrest systems when working at heights. So of course when you provide those systems, you have to train your staff how and when to use them. And that isn’t happening as the insufficient training for fall protection was number eight, as we heard before. So that is the top 10 things to address in your facilities. Send me a note if you noticed anything on this list that is in your facility that could be an issue. I would love to tell everyone on the podcast easy ways to address or fix anything on this list.
Speaker 4 (00:07:45):
Distilling Craft is brought to you by Dalkita, a group of architects and engineers who specialize in designing craft distilleries across the U. S. More information is available at our website, dalkita dot com, that’s D A L K I T A.com. Now, let’s get back to the show.
Colleen Moore (00:08:04):
And now let’s jump right into our show on Amari, the plural of Amaro. So right off the bat, I think it should be noted to anyone considering consuming this product that Amaro is Italian for bitter. However, these concoctions can be bittersweet. They could be even syrupy. Similar products are called other things in other parts of the world. For instance, Germany has a similar spirit that they call Krauter liquor. You can find a similar product sprinkled all over Europe. The Czech Republic has some Slovakia, France, Hungary, and usually this type of drink is consumed as an after dinner digest, but it can sometimes be an aperitif, so you may consume it before dinner. Usually it’s around 16 percent alcohol according to my research, which puts it in the law core category. I would be curious to hear about your favorite Amaro or Amari, if you have more than one.
Colleen Moore (00:09:06):
Where did you get, what did you like about it and what is the ABV? It’s such a vast group. Some of them are bitter, some of them can be served, some of them have sugar in them. Sometimes they don’t. Flavorings also very extensively as based on where it’s made as well as the base spirit. So I’m struggling to come up with the common thread, so if you’ve got strong thoughts on that, let’s do a video chat and some day drinking. I would actually love to hear what you have to teach me on this topic today. We have Mark Vierthaler who tries to clear it up for me. He’s a fellow journalism graduate from Kansas, but he’s retooled over the past 10 years to become a distiller. So he’s worked his way from the beautiful Plains of Kansas all the way East to 10th Ward Distilling in Fredericksburg, Maryland. He’s here today to talk all about Amari and friends.
Colleen Moore (00:10:04):
I’m very happy to welcome Mark Vierthaler from 10th Ward Distillery in Frederick, Maryland. He’s recently a finalist in the best of Fredericksburg competition for a cocktail bar that just opened in July of this year. So welcome to the show Mark.
Mark Vierthaler (00:10:21):
Thank you. Good to be here.
Colleen Moore (00:10:22):
And we’re going to talk a little bit about, some of your products you’re going to be paired up with our show on tomorrow. So I wanted to talk with you about one of your products that I think is a seasonal product called Pawpaw Amaro. Can you tell us a little bit more about that product?
Mark Vierthaler (00:10:38):
Yeah, most definitely. Um, so the Pawpaw Amaro was something that, we’ve been wanting to make for a little while. It was a part of what we call our club release. Kind of like a lot of other distilleries out there. We do have a, what we call our bottle club and kind of a way to help build up our support; both locally and regionally and a way to kind of offer some more value add to the people who are nearby or who, you know, take the time to travel and see us. And so, within our bottle club, we released four releases a year, so their quarterly releases and they are exclusive releases to the club members. It’s one thing that, we kind of again, want to make it that kind of unique and what’s the word I’m looking for? Exclusive.
Mark Vierthaler (00:11:34):
If you are a club member, you are able to have access to maybe some things that are a little bit more experimental or things that we’re especially proud of. And we want to offer that for the people who have taken the time to support us and have, you know, committed to being members of our club. And so, with the Pawpaw Amaro, some people call it like America’s native tropical fruit. It also has things like, names like hit the hillbilly mango. It’s just this really unique, fruit that is actually indigenous to about 26 States within the United States. Um, if you look at the map of where the Pawpaw Rose, it goes all the way from, um, you know, pushing into new England, down through the mid Atlantic into the South, pushing through across the Midwest.
Mark Vierthaler (00:12:38):
You know, even in Kansas where I’m originally from, Paw grew natively on the Eastern edge. And so the Pawpaw has kind of started to see a little bit of a Renaissance, especially as you’ve seen this growth of the foraging food movement. And we’re also very lucky, here in Frederick, there’s actually a gentleman by the name of, Michael Judd who lives in Frederick County and has worked to develop a Pawpas festival and has really started to raise awareness of this incredibly unique and really delicious fruit. And it’s texture wise, it’s very custardy and sometimes it’s called a custard Apple. But then flavor profile, it is distinctly tropical. It’s like a banana and a mango and a pineapple. All kind of got combined into this unique, almost a lagoon large would you looking fruit and uh, so kind of taking that and running with it and heading into the autumn and my personal affinity for Amaro or Amari I should say, it was kind of here at 10, our motto is we are warding off ordinary.
Mark Vierthaler (00:14:03):
That’s kind of what we always tell people is ward off ordinary. And so the idea of being able to take something that is native to the Chesapeake watershed that is distinctly tropical and then marrying it with a traditional Italian idea of a bitter cure. Just those contrasting flavors really appeal to us. And so we spent a couple of months developing the flavor profile. Again, starting with that base level of we know we want to utilize the Pawpaw, we know we want to utilize and capitalize on those unique tropical flavors. And then we wanted to expand that more into further embracing the, the Chesapeake watershed and native fruits and plants. And so we using things like a crab apples, um, which are native to the area and Hawthorne berries. And so we, we knew we had these very fruity, very summery textures. And then we dug into the history of other Amari and married those, excuse me, married those traditional bittering agents with this tropical flavor to create something that is wholly unique and it’s just this wonderful, juicy and bitter on the back end with a little bit of red pepper spice in it.
Colleen Moore (00:15:26):
So I actually have not ever had Amaro to my knowledge, unless it’s been mixed into something. So I had to do some research on what that was. So let’s talk about what an Amaro is in the traditional sense. And then through my research, I actually found, um, that there’s kind of this emerging section, I guess, of American Amari, um, which basically seems like it took the rule book for a Morrow and chucked it, and then it was kind of doing their own thing. Um, so let’s talk a little bit about the traditional and then what maybe even if you know about the American movement for like a new Amari.
Mark Vierthaler (00:16:14):
Yeah, definitely. So as you kind of talked about, there is just this absolutely wonderful history, involved with Omari. Traditionally Italian tend to be bittersweet ranging from extremely bitter, with just a little bit of sweetness things like for nets all the way to a pair of T Vose, which are going to be things like Campari, which are going to be bitter, but maybe a little bit more on the sweet side. Typically like a pair of TiVo are enjoyed at the beginning of a meal to stimulate the appetite and then the heavier, more bitter Amari are meant for at the end of the meal, to kind of encourage digestion. And so, yeah, I mean, a lot of thief, yes. A digestive. I did find out kind of an interesting side note in terms of that.
Mark Vierthaler (00:17:05):
There’s a local teaching farm here in Frederick called Fox Haven, and they help us teach some foraging classes to do like, you know, wild cocktails and wild spirits. But they also grow some of our botanicals for our absent than are in our Amari that we produce and some of our low queuers. And we were actually out of the class a while back and Lacey, who’s kind of heads up that the botanical section and the garden section was talking about how the whole purpose of it is, you know, bitterness to humans is a sign of poison. Like we are evolutionary programmed to avoid bitterness, but we’re also drawn to it. And so what happens is that bitter sensation basically sends a message to your body that, okay, you’ve imbibed something that’s potentially poisonous. We have to speed up digestion so we can get it out of the system faster.
Mark Vierthaler (00:18:03):
So there is actually some basis for utilizing these bitterly queuers to aid in the digestion process. But, but yeah, so there’s just this absolutely wonderful, you know, centuries upon centuries of history in traditional Amari production. And so I always say that, you know, there are people much more intelligent than myself are the ones who figured this out. So kind of what we’re able to do is capitalize on their knowledge and expand it and it’s, I feel, like it fits really well in with the American tradition and perhaps maybe American stereotype of taking traditions and then completely disregarding them. And so I think that’s kind of what you’re seeing now with this modern movement is especially as we’ve gotten into the cocktail Renaissance and it’s no longer just concentrated on the coasts or places like Chicago and you’re seeing this love of traditional cocktails and craft cocktails filtering down across the entire country and into maybe some more rural locations. You’re seeing the distillery industry pick up those cues as well and start to identify that there is this demand for local Omari. Local bitters. Local queuers. And so what you’re seeing, at least in my opinion, in terms of the American style, is kind of like what we’ve done is we’ve taken those traditions, we’ve taken that knowledge, and then we skew it. We twist it, we find a way to make it distinctly local and make it distinctly unique for that particular region or that particular distillery.
Colleen Moore (00:19:53):
And that is something I think that I’ve seen in the descriptions that I’ve read about Omari, um, is that it was very local. They had them all over Europe. So Germany has one that they call a Kraut Liquor. In Hungary, Netherlands, France. But Amaro is typically applied only to Italian products. So is there like a flavor profile, I guess like specific herbs and stuff that go in it? Like Juniper is related to gin. Is there something that goes into Amaro that just wouldn’t be the same or as commonly found in Amaro?
Mark Vierthaler (00:20:39):
Um, you know, there’s not really like a set. Like, yeah, with gin, you have to have Juniper with absolute, you have to have wormwood. It is very ephemeral in terms of like a specific dictation of what’s in it. You will, I mean, there’s common bittering agents that you will find. It’s very common to see Gentian in Omari. It is very common to see things like gallon goal root, Angelica root, orris root. So you will see some overlap even with like traditional gin products. Um, but a lot of it was based on, you know, what you had access to. What is something that is you have easy access to that you have easy access to high quality. You talked about like you have various regions have their different bitter cures. A Jenna P is a good example.
Mark Vierthaler (00:21:36):
Um, Jenna P tends to utilize Alpine herbs and has a very distinctive, very Piney aroma to it. Um, you see when you’re obviously with Omari and you’re in Italy, you’re seeing a lot of like bitter orange peel. Um, you’re going to see a little bit more citrus. So really kind of the goal, I think the overarching definition would be it is utilizing bittering agents, utilizing local products and then trying to develop essentially kind of a sense of terror in terms of the botanical usage of the bitter and even the sweet and the fruit.
Colleen Moore (00:22:18):
Right. So it sounds like it can be really regional. And it sounds like you have made a wonderful product that I actually have lived at the edge of that. Pawpaw margin with the 26 States. I’m in Northern Florida, I’ve never seen one in person. So they are an extremely fragile fruit. So how did you source and enough of these fruits to make any amount of product? Because they typically can only be off the tree for maybe two to three days with the refrigeration before they go bad. So where did you find your Pawpaw’s? Because they’re kind of mythical and elusive, right? So it’s in America, it’s native, but they’re difficult to find and they’re difficult to handle. So how did you handle that?
Mark Vierthaler (00:23:14):
I am a firm believer in finding people who are experts in areas that I am not, and then relying on their knowledge quite heavily. We were very lucky to, again, so we have Michael Judd here in Frederick who was a good source in terms of, you know, handling and usage and identifying high quality pawpaws. And then we were also lucky enough, there is a farm in Ohio that is called Integration Acres and they specialize in Pawpaw and they tend to focus on making Pawpaw available to the general public. And so they’ve actually kind of perfected a way of getting a consistent puree, processing it and then freezing that puree and then they will like do an overnight shipment to you. And so thankfully we were able to work with them to get bulk pricing and kind of walk with them.
Mark Vierthaler (00:24:18):
They kind of walked us through the different cultivars of the Pawpaw that they utilize. The seasons that they were harvested, ideal storage temperatures, things like that. But, we basically called Integration Acres and said, okay, we need, you know, X hundred pounds of Pawpaw puree. And we had the timed perfectly, so that basically as soon as the Pawpaw showed up, we knew we had to use them. There really wasn’t going to be much time to kind of sit on it and wait for the proper time. So, the production was over about a three to four week period, where we started the infusion of some of the big area agents and some of the local fruits, like the crab apples went into the spirits and basically the Pawpaw went in.
Mark Vierthaler (00:25:05):
We got the Pawpaw’s, we dumped them straight into the spirit, let them infuse for another five days. And then all of that went straight into the still and got distilled out. The advantage of the high proof spirit being able to kind of work as a preservative because Pawpaws are very, very, they’re very touchy. They’re very, you have about three to four days and in terms of like harvest, you have about two to three weeks and if you harvest too early, they’re not going to be right and they’re not going to really taste like anything and they’re going to have this UNPRI pleasant astringency. And if you wait too long, they become mush. And then that astringency comes back. And again, kind of, I think that was also part of the reason we were attracted to doing something with Paw is I think I tend to enjoy things that are overly difficult, especially in spirit production.
Mark Vierthaler (00:26:01):
Like let’s find a way to just, and then to be able to do it. Well, I think that’s kind of the, it’s maybe an ego flex to be like, Oh yeah, no, this is totally a Paw. This is a pain to do. But we did it and it was delicious. And so, yeah. So, um, and that’s something I will always recommend is, you know I will. I will go in and I will do as much research as I possibly can, but there are people who have decades more experience than me and I am going to lean on their knowledge and I am never embarrassed to say I don’t know the answer to that. And so yeah, that’s a good quality to have. Cause we had thought about, you know let’s do our own harvest. Let’s, you know, take the time to process it. But we’re still a small distillery. There’s five of us full time and I’m the only one that’s full time in production. And so with things like that, that kind of falls to me and kinda had to look at it and go, am I going to have the time to go out to a Papa orchard and maybe spend a couple of days getting a couple hundred pounds of Pawpaw pulp and processing it myself. So
Colleen Moore (00:27:11):
So you found a place that could do kind of the heavy lifting of the growing harvesting, even getting the seeds out and taking it off the rind. Pulping it, freezing it, shipping it. And so basically you were the doctor waiting for the heart transplant to arrive and immediately dumped those things immediately and got them into the spirit and got the process started. So that’s really interesting and it does cut out a lot of the work. A lot of times when I hear these products like yours that are using something that is extremely perishable or that is labor intensive to um, harvest. Like I remember one time we had peaches growing. We had a huge peach year here in Colorado and we had a peach tree in our yard. Our cousin also lives in town, had a peach tree and it was like this massive tree breaking harvest of peaches. And so it was kind of like all hands on deck and we had bushels of peaches. And then I remember we set up kind of like, in my kitchen, this line, right? So somebody was steaming them and taking the peels off. Another person was pitting ’em. Another person was cutting off any unsightly bits and other person, you know, and it was just the amount of work and how sticky. And so I’m sure you were happy to let someone else take care of that.
Mark Vierthaler (00:28:48):
Oh yeah. And, we did a little bit of kind of hand processing ourselves, when we were doing test batches. That’s, you know, that’s one thing that obviously before we did a 150 gallon batch to produce bottles to go out to club members. I did about a half a dozen small batches on our little test still. And so, that again, kind of gave the opportunity to explore and learn more about the Pawpaw actually interact with a Pawpaw off of the tree and processing it. But, you know, at the end of the day, it’s also finding that balance between being artisinal and making something that makes financial sense as a business. And so, you know, you always have to weigh those. And so just from a sheer time standpoint, it became much easier to just be like, okay, we’re going to utilize somebody that we know knows how to do this and, you know, reduce some of that chance of mistakes on our side.
Mark Vierthaler (00:29:57):
And, you know, for the crab apples, we still went out and harvested those by hand. The good news with that was I was anticipating I was going to need about 10 to 15 pounds of it and we’re talking like original, like native Maryland crab apples, which are smaller. I mean about maybe an eighth of an inch. So they’re very small. And so I was kind of dreading going out to this orchard. I mean, they’re going to let us have them for free. It’s a local orchard that our nursery grows lots of trees. And during the test or experimentation, I discovered I really only needed about a pound for a full batch because that level of astringency and, uh, that, you know, like very tart Apples allow. The Hyde came through very quickly, so that was still an adventure though to go out and bit by bit just kind of, okay. Yeah, that one looks good. That one looks not good.
Colleen Moore (00:30:48):
one crab Apple, two crab apples. So, much of Amaro seems to be balanced and you know, several of the brands that I looked up and read about, seem to mention finding the balance between sweet and bitter. Um, how do you approach that?
Mark Vierthaler (00:31:12):
So one thing I always have to remind myself and our founder and CEO and owner, uh, Monica Piers here at 10th ward is, she’s very good at reminding me of my own biases. I love bitter. I will fully admit that my taste skews bitter heavy. I really enjoy for nets things like Fernet Branca or Francisco for net out of San Francisco. The previous distillery I was at, I made Amaro that was closer to a Fernet. And so I will admit that’s like where I skew and the general public tends to not, obviously the more….
Colleen Moore (00:32:01):
….we always go towards sweet.
Mark Vierthaler (00:32:57):
If we’re introducing a new product, whether it’s a one off, whether it’s going or planning on going to the full line, I’m going to do a couple experiments, dial in the flavors where I want it and they usually have three to four that I will then take to Monica and our sales staff and our bartending staff and go, okay, taste these. I never tell them which one is my favorite. I just will usually drop the bottles off and be like, okay, when you come in for your next shift, get it a little bit early, take the time to try these, shoot me some notes, you know, let me know what you think. And that helps me get some better insight into kind of maybe what the general public is going to like. Um, my wife is key in that as well.
Mark Vierthaler (00:33:48):
She has an absolutely amazing palette and she’s never been afraid to tell me when something is garbage. And so basically being able to utilize our staff and ownership. And you know, we have some regulars that come into the tasting room and the cocktail lab that will occasionally bring them in and on it as well. That we know we’re going to be able to anticipate honest feedback and so it’s really, you know, kind of mini market research and just taking the time to sit and think about it. That’s one thing that it is very easy to get into a hurry. Um, I know I’m guilty of that. I always say when I got into distilling it taught me patience because I am not naturally a patient guy. I’m very impatient. I’m very, this has to happen now we have to do this and especially with things that are as complex and difficult to I feel make well like Amaro, you have to take that time and you have to really think about it and parse out, have we gone too heavy on bitter?
Mark Vierthaler (00:35:04):
Have we gone too heavy on sweet? Is this too saccharin is this too or maybe we need a ramp the bitterness way, way up. Maybe we’ve dialed it to soft and going in with the knowledge of where you want it to be on the scale is important as well. Again, one of the nice things, especially being here in Frederick because you know, we’re 30 miles from DC or 30 miles from Baltimore, we’ve got an exploding craft scene here as well. It’s easy for me to get access to a wide ranging spectrum of products and I think doing that as well, like, okay, probably the most accessible is think of like Campari versus Aperol. Campari tends to skew a little bit more bitter. It’s still very sweet, but bitterness is going to be dominant. Aperol is going to be a little bit more accessible.
Mark Vierthaler (00:36:02):
It’s a little bit more citrus. It’s a little bit sweet. It doesn’t have that same bite that Campari does. And so that’s kind of how we went in with the Paw Amaro is we want somewhere in between a Campari and an Aperol. We still want it to be distinctly a cure. We don’t want it to be as sweet as Aperol, but we still want it to be not heavy, heavy on the bitterness. And so then you just start playing around, you know. You identify the flavor profiles you want, so you can bring those roots and those botanicals and those fruits in and it’s a game of millimeters. You just tweak and tweak until you go somewhere. You go, yeah, this is what I like. Um, like with the PawPaw Mario, like I said, there were three that I took to everybody to taste and the one that ended up winning out was the one that was the sweetest of the three, but it still had a really hefty bitterness to it.
Mark Vierthaler (00:36:57):
My favorite one which I held onto that bottle and keep it in my desk is heavy, heavy, bitter. And so those are things also knowing your customer base. Knowing, do people come to your brand expecting something that is going to be on the sweeter end. Maybe you’re known for the cures and cordially or can you get away with being a little bit more adventurous and being a little bit more, um, uh, aggressive with your, with your flavor profiles? Um, we’re lucky that since the founding of 10th Ward, again ward off ordinary, our goal has been kind of bonkers off the wall stuff. And so we are, I think get a little more leeway from our supporters to try crazy stuff.
Colleen Moore (00:37:48):
Well tell me a little bit about how this bottle club works. Are you shipping out stuff to people? Do they come and pick it up at the distillery? Is it a local thing?
Mark Vierthaler (00:37:59):
Well, so unfortunately we can’t legally ship spirits from our distillery. So it is a, you have to come in and pick it up. But yeah, so essentially, it’s people sign up, it’s completely free to join. We do four bottle clubs, releases a year, one per quarter. Um, and then yeah, like I say, they are bottles that are exclusively produced for our club members. For me as a distiller, it’s fun cause that lets me kind of do weird stuff; essentially lets me go to Monica and go, I really want to do this. Can I do it as a club release? And she has yet to tell me no. So again, it creates, there’s kind of the expectation that they have the option to opt out. They’re not required to buy all four.
Mark Vierthaler (00:38:53):
There’s kind of the expectation that they will purchase at least two of them and then yeah then basically they, their card will get charged and we hang onto that bottle for them and then they will come in and pick it up. It’s been really cool. Like we have people, obviously a whole bunch of people that are local. We also have one club member that comes from a far away as New York and he will drive. He and his wife will drive down once a quarter to one pickup, the quarterly club release and then also to restock their bar back in New York. Cause he just absolutely adores our stuff. And he adores the other distilleries here in Frederick as well. And so he’ll come and pick up stuff from them. It’s just kinda cool to have that expansion that obviously a lot of local, but we have people that come from the surrounding States and from the mid Atlantic, so, and then we do special events for them as well, uh, kind of ways to help them buy in.
Mark Vierthaler (00:39:53):
For example, coming up in November, I had mentioned Fox Haven that, that farm that we work with, um, they’re actually, uh, do, we’re doing a forest cocktail class in November where, uh, the first, I think we’ve limited at 25 first 25 club members who sign up. We’re going to take them out to the farm, they’re going to get a forage in class, we’re going to go back to the barn and I’m going to teach them how to make cocktails with the ingredients that they foraged out on the farm. So yeah, it’s just kind of ways, again, to, to build loyalty for the distillery, to show appreciation to people for their support of us. And also for us to kind of, again, be creative and find ways that, um, we can kind of stretch our wings a little bit without running the risk of introducing it to the broader market and a product that may not, you know, a handful of people may adore but may not be something that would find, you know, wide ranging acceptance or success.
Colleen Moore (00:40:51):
That is definitely sounds like a really cool program. And I want to go to the foraging class in November. Um, but it seems like it might be a drive from Colorado
Mark Vierthaler (00:41:02):
Saturday, November 16th if you decide you want to come out and yeah, it is a bit of a haul. I don’t know where you’re at in Colorado, but at Dodge city, which is money. Okay. Yeah. So, so Dodge city where I’m from it’s a 21 hour drive from Dodge, so
Colleen Moore (00:41:21):
better be a good cocktail. No pressure.
Colleen Moore (00:41:29):
So it sounds like you have a really good gig. Tell us a little bit about some of the other things that you’ve done. Um, I see you’ve got a background in journalism. So, uh, you’ve been a cocktail apprentice at tales of the cocktail. You’ve done bartending, mixology, you’ve been a marketing director. Tell us about some of the places that have given you, I guess, the tools that you’re using now to promote temple.
Mark Vierthaler (00:42:01):
Yeah, definitely. I feel like a lot, my story is similar to a lot of people in the craft spirits space where we came to it from a very roundabout way. I got my bachelor of science in journalism from the university of Kansas, so rock chalk Jayhawk, and lived and worked in the Kansas city area. I was an investigative reporter for several years. Had the opportunity to go back to my hometown of Dodge city, Kansas to take over the daily newspaper there. Um, so my wife and I moved back to Dodge and I did that for about a year, but unfortunately that was early to mid two thousands. And that was when, you know, kind of the journalism industry saw its crash and yeah, you know, didn’t know how to handle, didn’t know how to handle internet news and you know, their ownership and ownership groups didn’t really want to pay investigative reporters anymore.
Mark Vierthaler (00:43:00):
I mean, you know, you were expensive and intended to make advertisers angry. So I did what a lot of journalists did and left journalism and got into public relations and marketing. There in Dodge city was a national agricultural company and I went, had zero experience in agriculture, but thankfully happened to know the CEO through a local not for profit that his wife volunteered for and my wife and I volunteered for. And so got that job and did the public relations and marketing for them for about seven and a half years. And when I did that, I wanted to stay kind of somehow within the journalism space. And my wife and I are huge foodies. She’s an absolutely amazing chef and I’ve always had the soft spot for cocktails and craft cocktails. And so I started a blog that was called cocktails three 65 and basically for three years in a row I made a new cocktail every single day and wrote about it and ended up kind of taking off.
Mark Vierthaler (00:44:01):
And so I ended up doing a bunch of freelance cocktail and spirit writing and my wife and I worked on developing a craft cocktail program for a local life theater and spent about eight years really trying to help develop a taste for craft cocktails and kind of an elevated drinking experience within rural Kansas. And as we got like about seven and a half, eight years in, there were three farmers in Dodge that decided that they wanted to open a distillery. And they happened to know me through my AGG and my cocktail writing work. And so they reached out. Originally you were just like, Hey, you know, do you just want to come on occasionally as like a consultant and come in and taste spirits and go, yeah, this is good. No, this isn’t. I was like, yeah, sure, that sounds great. And then I noticed one day they had posted a listing for a part time assistant distiller and a part time marketing and events planner.
Mark Vierthaler (00:44:56):
And so I actually called the owner that I knew and was like, Hey, do you have some time this afternoon? These things? Yeah. And I was like, can I come in and talk to you? And he said, yeah. And so I was like, Hey, how about you bring me on as a distiller and as your director of communications at full time? And he was like, okay, when can you start? And so I walked away from it from a lucrative but not ultimately fulfilling job in public relations and decided to learn how to become a distiller and kind of never really looked back. Just absolutely fell in love with the industry and fill them with the distilling side. I mean, I always, I think I went in kind of with the idea that marketing and PR would still be my main gig and then I would just occasionally help with distilling and help with cocktails where I could.
Mark Vierthaler (00:45:45):
And I just, as soon as I got in and started meeting other distillers and going to other distilleries and got my hands into it, I just absolutely fell in love with it. And kind of, that’s where I decided I wanted to skew it. And so like every single one of those. So like this roundabout way from journalism to marketing to bartending to distilling. And I still utilize every single one of those, you know, each one of those has built on each other. And I think that gives, gives me unique advantage. I’m one of the few distillers I know that has cocktail experience and also has the public relations and marketing experience. And so, the former head distiller here at 10th ward is actually a good friend of mine and he got a gig in Ireland at a distillery and called me.
Mark Vierthaler (00:46:36):
Yeah. Oh yeah, no. And I was like, yeah, no, I totally get. But he called me one day and he was like, Hey, I don’t know. I don’t know if you’re anticipating or even wanting to leave where you’re at. He was, but I think he said, I think you’d love what Tim Ford is doing. I think you’d love, what Monica is doing and the passion and the goals and kind of this, you know, more esoteric, off the beaten path task or theory, but behind the distillery. And so, my wife and I, son was in college and we’re like, well, yeah, let’s see what we think of it. And so I interviewed with Monica and just absolutely fell in love with what 10th ward was doing and fell in love with Frederick and the whole DMV mid Atlantic region.
Mark Vierthaler (00:47:22):
And so we packed up and moved and still utilize all of those skills today. Do blog posts for 10th ward and have worked hand in hand with Monica and our cocktail lab staff to develop the cocktail program here at 10th ward. And we’ve been lucky that, I don’t know, luck has got so much to do with it. Monica is very, very good at finding high quality people and I say that entirely realizing that makes me sound incredibly, you get testicle but I’m proof positive of. Um, but no, she’s very, very good at hiring and she has been able to put together an absolutely outstanding staff. And so as we got ready to launch our cocktail program in July, I was very hands on with that, helping with the cocktail development, helping with the menu development, training, all of that. Um, good problem to have. We’ve been so successful that our production has ramped up here at 10th ward. So increasingly I’ve had to step away from the cocktail side, but about once a month I still try to get over there and get behind the bar and work a shift. And we’ve even talked about doing the occasional promoting it, Hey, come in and the head distiller, I’ll make you a couple of cocktails tonight.
Colleen Moore (00:48:50):
You should, you should promote that. Especially for club members. If you had like a club member night or something like that, I might be a cool event.
Mark Vierthaler (00:49:00):
Yeah, we’ve talked about doing kind of like a cocktail class with the head distiller but like I say, it makes me feel good that I’m able to increasingly step away from it. I still have that passion for the cocktail side. I mean, I’m still one hands down with the best experiences of my life personally and professionally was being a cocktail apprentice at tails, at the cocktail and I’ve kind of always wanted to go back and do it again. But as my, profession, my professional life and my like day to day has increasingly moved towards distillation. I felt like I don’t really want to, assuming they accepted me back, I wouldn’t want to take that spot from somebody whose career is cocktails and cause it is just an absolutely amazing experience. But that knowledge I gained there has been able to be extrapolated to the distilling side and also obviously the development of the cocktail programs as well.
Colleen Moore (00:49:58):
Speaking of cocktail programs, let’s talk about that humble brag of award winning cocktail programs. Um, tell me about which awards that you guys have won with that cocktail program.
Mark Vierthaler (00:50:13):
Well, like I say right now we’re incredibly honored. There’s two kind of best of Frederick awards that go on here within Frederick County, Maryland. One is by Frederick magazine and the other is by the Frederick news post, which is the local daily newspaper. And we were heading into this fall and the cocktail lab had just been opened I think about two months if even that. And we got nominated as best cocktail program in Frederick. So there’s like three row, essentially. I think there were three rounds of voting and it’s a public vote. So, you know, they kind of put it out to the general public and we obviously were like, okay, cool. Yeah. Like there’s a handful of people that liked our cocktails enough that they put us on there.
Mark Vierthaler (00:51:03):
And then there was about two weeks of daily voting, you know, you could go back and you could vote and then that narrowed it down from a list of about 15 to 20 bars to five. And then the top five, there was another round of voting. And Frederick in the last 10 years has just absolutely exploded in terms of craft, specifically high quality food, high quality beverages. Um, like I mentioned, you know, there’s four distilleries just within the city of Frederick and we’ve got two more coming in in the next 12 months. So there’s gonna be six just in the city limits of a town of 80,000 people. So there’s also almost a dozen breweries, eight wineries, two cideries and a meter. I mean, so like Frederick has become this hub within Maryland of craft beverage. And as such, you’ve seen this really impressive growth of mixology as well.
Mark Vierthaler (00:52:02):
And there are some absolutely brilliant bartenders and bar managers and mixologists here within Frederick. And so when, when they released the top five, we were absolutely humbled and appreciative that we were in the top five alongside these long established programs that I would put head to head with any bar in New York or LA. And so, um, unfortunately we did not win. But just in the top five, we hold that up that, that we’re at least doing something right. If that’s kind of a goal going in has been that, you know, it’s based around education. You know, we want to be able to utilize the program to educate people about our spirits. Obviously, again, at the end of the day we are a distillery, we are interested in selling our product. But that was kind of the idea going in was education, showing people how they can mix with it, but then still giving them an elevated experience.
Mark Vierthaler (00:53:09):
I just gave an ACSA webinar on developing a craft cocktail program for your distilleries tasting room and the drum beat that I kept coming back to touring that was safety and education. And I always tell people, I said, if you come into the cocktail lab, which is what we call our cocktail lounge, you will not get a shot. That is, that is not our goal. Yeah, exactly like that. That to us and to me, like every cocktail program I’ve ever done, even before I was a distiller and it was just working within bars and cocktail programs, I can’t stop you from saying we’re going to do shots, but I feel like that’s an anathema to our idea of safety and of encouraging your responsible drinking culture. Because at the end of the day, we are making a drug, you know, we are, it’s illegal drug.
Mark Vierthaler (00:54:08):
It’s one that I feel if enjoy responsibly is absolutely amazing and is such an amazing part of community and history and culture. But I feel like that call, that call to action has to come from us as distilleries, you know, to discourage, improper drinking and to discourage irresponsible drinking. And so we wanted to be able to kind of come from that an education about our spirits, about responsible drinking and then give people those tools and that opportunity to come in. And also just having an amazing experience and to come and sit down and enjoy a cocktail with us. And, you know, you’re not coming. We’re not the place you’re going to come to. If you want to get absolutely gone on a Saturday night, that’s not our goal.
Colleen Moore (00:55:00):
Tell me about some of your other seasonal things for your bottle club that you’ve done. What are some interesting distilling experiments that have made the cut?
Mark Vierthaler (00:55:12):
Yeah, so basically this year has been introducing our club members to products that maybe, we’ve done for other people or have developed eventually for the larger audience. Our first quarter release, we actually next to our production facility here in Frederick is a seafood restaurant. And we do a custom rum for them. It’s the only rum we make. We don’t make rum for anybody else. We don’t sell it. And it’s a traditional Caribbean style, you know, 100% molasses pot distilled, no sweeteners, you know, lots of funk, lots of fenal. It’s just this absolutely kind of wonderful rum, but it only goes to that restaurant. And so in the first quarter we released it to our club members and we were like, Hey, we want to give you the opportunity to try this.
Mark Vierthaler (00:56:14):
And then the second quarter release was our bourbon, which will eventually see a larger release. But that was kind of, we’ve had people asking, you know, since opened three years ago, when’s the bourbon coming out? And so we wanted to give them first crack to that. Um, then the third or third quarter release, we did a, what we called our Maryland series of Absinthe. So one of our main product lines is our Absinthe Nouvelle, which is kind of a modern twist on a classic French style Absinthe, the green Absinthe. And again, my love of local and my love of things that are kind of a little bit different. We decided to do a tri-color series, based off the colors of the Maryland flag. So it was a series that had a white absent, a yellow absent and a red absence.
Mark Vierthaler (00:57:06):
And all three of those were also focused around utilizing local Maryland ingredients, to give them their own unique flavor profiles. Including one of them utilizing some of the ingredients that are found in old Bay seasoning, which actually ended up being very savory, very spicy. Then our fourth quarter release was the PawPaw Amaro that just came out at the beginning of October and then heading into the next year. We’re looking at one of our brand lines right now, our Caraway Rye, which is very similar to an Aquavit. We’ve got our hands on some wine barrels and we’ve tossed that into it’s aging and bourbon barrels right now. And then we’re going to pull it from the bourbon barrels and finish it in wine barrels. So that’s going to come out, uh, January of this next year.
Mark Vierthaler (00:58:05):
And then we’ve got some other cool stuff going down the line, like a barrel aged rum, doing a Queen’s share, probably doing some mortal queuers and what’s been nice is as we’ve expanded, as we’ve grown, that also gives us an opportunity to be much more like thoughtful and purposeful as we move forward with it. So yeah, Monica and I just sat down about a month or two ago and planned out the next two years worth of club releases.
Colleen Moore (00:58:31):
So you’re kinda locked in then?
Mark Vierthaler (00:58:34):
Yeah. Oh yeah, that’s the plan is, I told her, as long as she’s willing to keep me around, we’re probably going to be here. So,
Colleen Moore (00:58:43):
So if you’re planning two years in advance, for these club releases, is that why so long? Like, it doesn’t seem like there’s a lot of place in there for you to have artistic thoughts about what would be really good. Do you know what I mean? If it takes two years from idea to implementation, you know, and release of this bottle club, you know, why so long, why?
Mark Vierthaler (00:59:14):
So I would argue, I would argue that for kind of the exact opposite, that gives me extra time, you know, to build in that extra time to be able to think about it and to develop that process of how do we want this to work and how do we want to ensure that what we’re putting into a bottle is the exact idea that we may have had. And a lot of it is also because we want to start releasing more aged products. Um, so planning two years out, that means that I need to be thinking first quarter of next year, how I’m going to produce that so that can get into apparel. So it’s going to be ready to go into years. Um, we also do a lot of one-offs. As I keep coming back to, you know, the craft space.
Mark Vierthaler (01:00:09):
I mean, one of the reasons I fell in love with craft distilling is because in every other business that I’ve worked in, it’s very cut throat and it’s not like that in craft distilling and craft beer specifically. It is very welcoming, very, Oh, you have a question? Cool. I have this knowledge, I’m going to share that with you. And so here in Frederick, if there is a brewery that they’ve got some stuff that’s ready to kick off, like some kegs that are about to go bad that didn’t sell as quickly as they thought. Or they’ve done an experiment that they weren’t happy about, we will take that fermentation off of their hands and we’ll distill it out, we’ll do something with it and we’ll put out 200 bottles and it’ll be like, okay, do you have these 200 bottles? It’s a first come, first serve, and it’ll never happen again.
Mark Vierthaler (01:01:01):
We call that our consumer, we call it our conspirators series. So those still give me that opportunity to do something very off the cuff. Very improvisational. It was like, okay, cool, we have this, um, what can we do with that? Um, another good example of that is there is a brewery here in town that did a blood orange cider that they just decided that for whatever reason, what had happened during fermentation with a blood orange, they didn’t like how it worked out. And so they had a couple of hundred gallons of it and I was like, yes, 100%, I will take that. And so I distilled that off into a blood orange cider or blood orange, a OTV and then that’s going to get infused with some local botanicals, go into a barrel. And that’s going to come out in January as well. And that’s probably all going to be like 120 bottles.
Mark Vierthaler (01:01:53):
And so that’s again, kind of going back to the club member. Another advantage they get is they get a week’s heads up. So like with those limited one offs, we don’t promote it. It’s a, we basically get onto Facebook, get on a social media, get onto our website and go, Hey, surprise this weekend, we have this new release coming out and it’s first come first serve. But our club members get a heads up a week ahead of time and basically go, Hey, and we don’t do holds with those either. Like um, with kind of some of our limited releases, club members are allowed to put holds on bottles. But with those like super small batches, it’s like you have to come in but you get a whole week before the general public now so you can line up. Yes, exactly. And we’ve been lucky like what they have, we did a, there was a, another local brewer here that same his old mother and they had a crystal malt fermentation that they weren’t super happy with.
Mark Vierthaler (01:02:52):
So we bought it off their hands and distilled it, toss it into a barrel and then infused it with fresh orange peel cloves and figs and then bottled it. And it tastes like an old fashioned in a bottle. I mean it is and it’s sold out in two hours I think, which was, and then we did like a co-branding with them. So like we then gave them that barrel that it had aged in, they aged one of their Imperial stouts in it. And so on the same day, people could go to their brewery and get a bottle of the Imperial stout that came from that whiskey barrel and then they could come to our place and pick up that bottle of whiskey.
Colleen Moore (01:03:32):
You sound like you have a lot of really cool programs going on within your distillery. You said previously you had been open or the distillery had been open about three years, right? Correct. But you just got a cocktail tasting room last summer in 2019 that was because of Maryland laws changing. Right. So tell me about how it was and then how it is now and if you had any kind of involvement in getting those laws changed. What did you do?
Mark Vierthaler (01:04:11):
Uh, yeah, so as I had mentioned, we just celebrated this past July was our third or third birthday. So thankfully Maryland does allow tasting rooms. But people were limited to two ounces per visit. Which essentially meant that you could come in and you could offer samplings, you can offer tasting flights of your spirit. We were required though if you were to do that. We also had offered tours. That was kind of an interesting that if you wanted to serve samples, you also had to offer tours of your production facility or at least of your facility. And you know, there was a lot of gray area in that, because it did just say per visit. So technically if a person wanted to quote unquote drink, come back in. Exactly. That’s technically a separate visit. So, but yeah, so there were limited to two ounces.
Mark Vierthaler (01:05:08):
Typically what we did is we would have a four spirit flight. You know, the tasting room has always been key to the business. I always that drum and that’s, you know, a whole other deep dive is to tasting room or not to tasting room. So obviously again, that focus of education and creating a destination where people could come in and, and try your spirits one-on-one with you, have the opportunity to talk to the owner, have the opportunity to talk to the staff and the purchase of bottle in house as well. And we still do that. You know, that’s still, you can still come in and do a flight, talk one on one and pick up a bottle. But again, most people don’t drink their spirits neat Um, most people, their spirits are their knowledge or within the context of a cocktail.
Mark Vierthaler (01:05:58):
And so, we’re very lucky here in Maryland, we have hands down the most active Distillers Guild I have ever seen. Um, there’s 30 members and we meet every month and there’s usually at least a dozen representatives at each meeting. And so we also have a, there’s a group who’s able to, it’s called Grow and Fortify, and they are a not for profit that works with the Distillers Guild. The brewers Guild and the wine makers association here in Maryland. And they lobby on our behalf essentially basically representing the craft beverage industry as a whole. And so this process to change the law to allow cocktails, it’s been going on for years. They’ve been a couple of false starts. Obviously a lot of lobbying. It looked like it was going to happen back in 2018 and then it ended up kind of falling through.
Mark Vierthaler (01:06:53):
And then, I came out here at 10th Ward in October of 2018 and kind of right after the new year, work closely with Monica and the Guild and Grow and fortify with those lobbying efforts. So, I went down to Annapolis, was able to sit down and some of the committees, was able to be a witness and be able to testify on how this would benefit us. And there were definitely some hiccups. Unfortunately the cosponsor of the bill was found out to have dropped some racial epithets at a private club in Annapolis. And so for awhile it looked like all of the bills that she was sponsoring were pretty much gonna be DOA. Um, thankfully there were some, it was a bipartisan supported bill and so some of the other co-sponsors were willing to step up and make sure that got through.
Mark Vierthaler (01:07:48):
And then it looks for awhile it almost wasn’t going to pass because of a couple of small issues. People had, you know, encouraged quote unquote encouraging drinking and drunk drunkenness. And thankfully again, Kevin Atticks, who’s in charge of Grown and Fortify really just absolutely hit the pavement and talk to these representatives. And the law passed and so went into effect, 1st of July, just in time for us to celebrate our third birthday. And now we are able to serve alcohol by the drink. We’re limited in how many gallons we can sell through that tasting room. It’s a pretty large amount though. Um, it would be, I think we’d be making a killing. I can’t remember off the top of my head how much that is specifically, but it’s a lot. I want to say it’s like 7,000 gallons.
Colleen Moore (01:08:42):
It’s enough of a buffer that you’re not going to have to worry about it for a minute.
Mark Vierthaler (01:08:46):
Exactly. Exactly. One of the ways, one of the concessions that did have to be made though was for the law to pass 100% of the alcohol that goes into the cocktails has to be made by us. The original form of the bill was 75%. So that meant like obviously like the base spirit, but we would have been able to get Vermouth’s in tomorrows and lucky Wars and things that we didn’t produce in house. But with the law change, it was 100% had to come from us. So that meant I had to learn how to make vermouth. Yeah. So we do make a house vermouth now we don’t sell it like it. We sell it to ourselves and we use it to mix in house. But it was cool. It was a fun challenge.
Colleen Moore (01:09:27):
That sounds like you are able to grow your skills.
Mark Vierthaler (01:09:30):
That’s what I said. I was like, you know, initially I was kind of not a gassed but frightened that I was like, Oh God, I mean I have to figure out how to do this, but then I would kind of make me go, you know, this helped me identify where my knowledge gaps were. So it was like, you know, I know, I know vermouth, I know what are good vermouths, but I have zero idea how to make a vermouth. And so technically we can’t even make a vermouth because we’re not a winery. You know, US law says you have to have it, why you may have a wine license to make vermouth. So we make what we call an Amaro de vermouth. And essentially we create as a, it’s essentially a bitters. It’s an MRO, but it tastes like vermouth. We’ve just tried to recreate a vermouth that isn’t wine based.
Colleen Moore (01:10:16):
Well, I think that about wraps up my questions. Um, do you have anything that you want to share that you haven’t talked about yet?
Mark Vierthaler (01:10:28):
You know, not really other than I would just encourage anybody who’s curious about Amari. Um, Brad Thomas Parsons has an absolutely outstanding book called tomorrow. Um, I would recommend picking that up. He has, uh, Brad number one is a great guy in general. Um, he’s got some good books out there, but it gives a good history. It gives tasting notes on, I mean, almost countless styles of Amari that are out there. Um, lots of good history, lots of good flavor profiles. If you or anybody out there is interested in pop Oz. Um, again, I had mentioned so Michael Judd, who I had mentioned here in Frederick, he actually has a book out that is called for the love of pop Oz. And I would definitely recommend picking that up. It’s a gorgeous book, lots of great photography, lots of great, um, graphics. It’s not just Maryland focused. He talks about Papa harvest all over the U S ideal, ripening times, things like that. And then if you’re a little more interested in history, there’s a book that’s called PawPaw in search of America’s forgotten fruit by Andrew Moore. Um, actually won a James Beard or was nominated for a James Beard when it came out. Um, another one just super great history and it’s just really fascinating to be able to dig into this fruit that a lot of people don’t know about,
Colleen Moore (01:11:51):
which I think is interesting because it is native, you know, to America. And so you would think more people would know about it, but they don’t. Um, which I, which is interesting.
Mark Vierthaler (01:12:02):
Yeah, it’s, and it’s just so fascinating for….
Colleen Moore (01:12:05):
us out of Staters. Are we able to get your products shipped out? Do you have like a shipping service at with like another business?
Mark Vierthaler (01:12:14):
So unfortunately right now we are just available in Maryland and Washington D C um, I’ve heard, rumors that one of the places that carries us in D C does ship, but I will tried to look that up the other day and I could not find anything on their website that implied that they could. So, as of right now, we are distinctly Mid-Atlantic regional. Uh, you’ll have to come to us if you’re outside of the area. But you know, we’re looking at expanding more into the mid Atlantic. Um, really, you know, one of the things that Monica and I are both big on is what we call, you know, thoughtful growth is, you know, we know the demands out there. We’ve had a couple other States approach us with interest in distribution, but we really just want to make sure we can take care of, take care of Maryland first and DC and, and just really make sure we’re saturating this market. And you know, you don’t, you don’t want to expand so fast that your quality suffers….
Colleen Moore (01:13:15):
or that you have some sort of shortage, right. Because you don’t want to expand into territories where then those people can’t even get your product because you’re in so many territories that you have just one bottle on the shelf of every store. Um, that’s not a sustainable or successful model either. So own your backyard, right?
Mark Vierthaler (01:13:36):
Yes, yes. And we would encourage, you know, we would also encourage people to come visit us. Um, you know, Frederick is this just absolutely gorgeous town. If you’ve never been to Maryland, I will fully admit like I, before I got this job, I wasn’t anti Maryland, just Maryland was never even really on the radar of somewhere that, you know, we might want to end up. But it is a gorgeous state. Frederick is an amazing town. Again, there’s this absolutely amazing Renaissance going on right now with amazing food. Amazing. It’s historic, like there’s a whole bunch of civil war and revolutionary war history around here. Um, and there’s lots of outdoor stuff plus 10 forties here. And so I would encourage you, if you want to try our stuff, come visit us. We would love to have you out and if you come out, cause you heard this, tell the people at the cocktail lab that uh, that you heard me and I will, I will walk down to see you. Cause our still house is not connected to our tasting room, which is kind of breaks my heart cause sometimes I miss out on cool people coming through. But
Colleen Moore (01:14:45):
so yes, I see you must be in the still house now because typically the tasting rooms have a higher finish then what I’m looking at on the feeling of the video that I’m looking at, which is basically listeners here.
Mark Vierthaler (01:15:03):
Yes, we are very lucky, our production facilities just a little bit outside of downtown Frederick. Um, it’s within walking distance of downtown. It’s where our tasting room used to be and it was a tiny, tiny space, but we made it work. But um, last year we moved in November to our current tasting room and cocktail lab, which is this absolutely jaw-dropping space. Um, this right smack dab in the middle of downtown Frederick. Um, great walking spot and it’s just an absolutely gorgeous storefront. So it would encourage people to come in and check out, check out that space too.
Colleen Moore (01:15:40):
Awesome. Well thank you so much for talking with us. Everybody. This is Mark Vierthaler from 10th Ward Distillery in Frederick. I appreciate your time this morning.
Mark Vierthaler (01:15:49):
Yeah, no, thank you so much for inviting me to come on and it’s been a pleasure getting to talk to you and I hope everyone enjoyed our talk today and I encourage, yeah, if anybody has any further questions for me, feel free to hit 10th Ward up on social or myself. I’m always happy to talk to people.
Colleen Moore (01:16:07):
A special thanks to Mark for joining me very early in the morning to help me crack this topic open. And since we recorded this, I actually have heard of a business model for bespoke herbal the cores. A restaurant creates their own blend of herbs and spices and bottles, a limited amount of the product. It is actually a unique opportunity for the restaurant tour to create cocktails that someone literally could not get anywhere else other than the restaurant, which for a high end restaurant is exactly what they’re in business to do. They’re looking for new ways to provide experiences that are unique to their patrons. So these so-called nouveau botanical blends are a way to tailor a product to their food or even the mood of their restaurant. One article I saw actually mentioned that a restaurant tour was embracing a product with a more temporary existence, if you will, meaning that he has a very number of bottles, say 300 made up labeled.
Colleen Moore (01:17:13):
Then he uses them to create custom cocktails that he provides in his restaurant. He uses it in recipes and dishes and then he also sells them in local bottle shops. Then once all the bottles are gone, he rethinks the entire blend and makes a totally new product, which from a business standpoint would be a great contract distilling customer to have, but I’m curious to know what you guys think would the Cola label application, when a product like that be too much work, what are your thoughts? Are 300 bottles too small overrun to redo all of that work? Again, what are your thoughts? Send me an email about it. I would love to get a feel for what you think about this. Well, that is all we have for you today. Thanks again to Mark for joining me to discuss all things Amari Amaro and I’ll talk to you on the next one.
Colleen Moore (01:18:09):
Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that a giant thank you goes out to you for downloading and listening to this episode of our podcast. Don’t forget to like, share, subscribe. Even if you like just a tiny bit of today’s show. It really helps out with our shows vital statistics. If you want more information about this show, go to the show notes on our website, www dot dalkita dot com slash show notes where we will have links to the people, places and things mentioned today. There is even a real live transcript of the show share with all your friends and you can post a short comment for our team to obsess over dissect and even in for your tone judge your grammar. Our theme music was composed by Jason Shaw and is used under a creative commons attribution 3.0 license. The final shout out goes to the man that puts all of this together. Our sound editor, Daniel Phillips, have zero crossing productions. Until next time. Seriously, guys, stay safe out there. I’m calling more from Dalkita and this has been the distilling craft podcast,
Speaker 4 (01:19:18):
Dalkita as committee to getting intelligent and quality design solutions out of the craft distilling industry. Check them out at their website, dalkita.com that’s D a L K I T a.com. Until next time, this has been Distilling Craft CIOs.