Visit #16, January 9, 2016
You can tell a lot about a distillery based on its cat. In Albany, NY, at The Albany Distilling Company (ADCo), one of the co-distillers is Cooper, the distillery cat. Cooper has many jobs: security, pest-removal, temperature control, and his main job is guest satisfaction. One Saturday morning in mid-January we met this character along with one of his owners, John Curtin, for a tour and tasting of this almost five-year old distillery in our backyard. John had just returned from meetings in NYC and it seems like ADCo is moving fast and into quite a few markets. Cooper was happy to see him and the other guests that were there to tour this local distillery.
Opened in October of 2012, but incorporated in 2011, The Albany Distilling Company is the oldest distilling company in Albany. It is a farm distillery. ADCo’s license requires that at least 75% of the ingredients used in its spirits come from New York state. Located close to the banks of the Hudson River, ADCo has been growing and expanding in the last couple of years with locations now in Troy and soon in Schenectady. They also recently hired 4 new people in its full first year of distribution. They seem to be running out of space!
Our tour was led by John, one of the co-owners of ADCo. Here are some of the notes we took during the tour regarding the distilling process of their spirits:
- 750 lbs of grains are milled per batch
- Mash Tun is 480 gallons or 1800 liters – 2 stages
- 2 mashes processed per week
- 2 Fermentation Tanks – each 550 gallons, fermentation takes 2-3 days
- Pot to Column Still
- Distilling – 10 liters of heads, 30-40 liters of hearts, 30-40 liters of tails
- White Oak barrels used, 30 gallon, 53 gallon and 59 gallon
- Barrels come from Long Island, Kentucky, Missouri and Minnesota
- In 2015, 91 barrels were produced
- A little over 70 barrels are stored on site
The tour was great. John definitely has a passion for crafting spirits. You could tell that they are growing quickly and running out of space. The new additions will be needed. After the tour we moved to the tasting bar which is nicely situated next to the production area. The tasting consisted of the following:
- New make from the bourbon mash (60% corn, 25% rye & 15% barley)
- Bourbon – a mix of 8, 14 and 16-month-aged bourbon, 43% ABV
- Malt – 2 year old (60% barley, 20% oat, 20% wheat), 43% ABV
- Rye – about 1 year old (75% rye, 25% malted wheat), 43% ABV
- 10th Pin – apple brandy
It was a fun tasting. The visitors were asking questions and were enthused.
Charles’ Notes: It’s great to see a local distillery doing so well in such a short period of time. They obviously have large ambitions with the Troy and Schenectady plans, but they do have a leg up in the area since they started early. My favorite spirit that was tried was the Malt. It was unusual using the oat and I thought this added character and a taste that was unique. The bourbon and rye need more time to mature but they are on the right path. It will be fun to watch both the whiskey and the distillery evolve over the next few years.