Philadelphia Distilling has just debuted a project nearly four years in the making—a beautiful brand new distillery. Founded in 2005, Philadelphia Distilling was Pennsylvania’s first craft distillery, and now a dozen years later, they have a larger, more viable home, with a beautiful on-site bar and lounge.
The new facility allows for an increase in production capabilities, thanks to the addition of a 2,500-liter copper pot still to its existing 1,500 liter still, along with a new column connected to the larger pot. Further, the distillery itself also serves as a stunning attraction all of its own.
On a recent visit just one month after the distillery debuted, co-founder Andrew Auwerda discussed all the need to know information about the new home of Philadelphia Distilling, its flagship Bluecoat Gin, and their other products and releases.
Paste: What was the concept behind this amazing new space?
Andrew Auwerda: We’re looking to make brand fans; we don’t want to be in the bar business. We’re not trying to compete with our neighbors who support us [by stocking and serving their spirits]. It’s a visitor’s center and it’s about education, and serving as a brand home. We’re so excited to be here now. We were the first distillery in Pennsylvania but we have to stay ahead; you always have to up your game.
Paste: When Bluecoat Gin came out, American gins weren’t really that well defined yet, were they?
AA: We were the first distillery to call their spirit ‘American Dry Gin’ but we didn’t set out to start a new category. The juniper we use is softer and rounder, and that to us defines American. Our philosophy is more about the right balance. We were taking a risk by calling ourselves something nontraditional, but it defined us and it made sense.
Paste: How do you describe your Bluecoat Barrel Finished Gin, what’s that like?
AA: We wanted to create a gin-sky, not a whiskey-gin. I like gin for gin. Then the people loved it so we made more.
Paste: Especially with your new equipment then, does that mean you’re taking steps to produce different products? Is a whiskey on the way?
AA: This distillery was built to do more than Bluecoat. We’re putting our toes in the water already. [They made a limited edition Tough Broad Whiskey in collaboration with Yards Brewing, and will release one new barrel of the initial six-barrel batch per year.] For our own whiskey, we’re looking at the 2020 zone for a potential release. We’re not going to rush it.
Paste: There’s been a great deal of movement in the craft spirits scene as of late, with brands being purchased by larger companies. Is that something you’re considering?
AA: The growth of craft has been great, but it’s also a very challenging industry. But this is my baby, and we love it… and I’m not that old yet!