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Doire Distilling given green light by state

Union Leader Correspondent

July 01. 2018 8:04PM
From left, Andy Day, Bill Herlicka, Alana Wentworth and Obe at Doire Distilling in Derry. (RYAN LESSARD/UNION LEADER CORRESPONDENT)

DERRY — The owners of a new distillery in town received their final state and town approvals, and are eager to begin production.

On Wednesday afternoon, the husband and wife team of Andy Day and Alana Wentworth and distiller Bill Herlicka were putting some of the finishing touches on their new distillery, Doire Distilling, located right next to their select-brew-pouring restaurant Cask & Vine.

They removed the paper covering the storefront glass and assembled a bar counter for the tasting room. Branded T-shirts already are hanging on display.

In the back room, Day and Herlicka have been testing their newly installed equipment, while pumping water through it to clean and sterilize it. So far, everything is working perfectly.

Day received a federal basic permit to begin work on the distillery in January. Five months and about $200,000 later, the company received approval from the town last Monday. The New Hampshire Liquor Commission gave its green light on Tuesday.

The business was financed by the Regional Economic Development for Rockingham County, Enterprise Bank and $30,000 from a crowdfunding campaign.

The process has not been easy. Day said the regulatory requirements for distilling are far more stringent than setting up a brewery, partly because of the flammability of ethanol. So, the backroom is outfitted with explosion-proof wiring, fire-protected walls and heavy steel doors.

The distillery has a total of 1,900 square feet.

He hopes to start fermenting as soon as possible and open with some initial products in the third week of July.

“Our first product, our very first, is going to be called ‘01’ and it’s going to be a moonshine,” Day said.

The 120-proof moonshine will be followed by a 80-proof white whiskey. One of the T-shirts on display already bears the logo of 01, which is styled after the numbers on the side of General Lee, the car from “The Dukes of Hazzard” TV show.

Some of the other products they have planned include a vapor-infused gin, some barrel-aged rum and eventually some straight bourbon whiskey, which takes at least two years to age in full-sized oak barrels.

One of the more unique things they plan to offer with Doire is something called beer schnapps, which is essentially taking beer and distilling it into an 80-proof liquor. Day and Herlicka said they plan on working with local breweries to do that.

They also plan to partner with local breweries to share used barrels. After aging a liquor in a barrel for three to 18 months, they’ll lend the barrel to a brewery to use for their beer. After the barrel is emptied of beer, they’ll return it to the distillery for it to be used again. Each time, the barrel acquires a new flavor character.

Day said he hopes to launch a new product each month over the course of the next year. There will be “experiments all over the place,” he said.

And ultimately, they will listen to what the customers like in determining which products to focus on.

Herlicka, who owned White Birch Brewing before selling it in 2016, hopes to use grain to make the gin. Other products will be made with sugar, molasses, corn and whatever else the recipe calls for.

The company has a mash tun, and pot still and column still combo manufactured by American Brewing Equipment. This is the 13th still they’ll put out, and their first in New England.

Herlicka said the pot still is unique for being an electric still without any electric elements on the inside. Instead, the outside of the pot is wrapped by a metal “jacket” with an oil bath inside that is heated by electricity.

This heating method is more even, Herlicka said, and it doesn’t risk burning ingredients when they touch electric elements.

Business General News Derry East Derry

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