Ology Distilling releases first bottles of vodka on Saturday
Not often do you get to hold history in your hand, less often that you get to sip it — to literally drink it in — but this Saturday, Ology Distilling is giving Tallahasseeans that chance!
Back in late February, when the team behind Ology Brewing Company announced that they would be opening Ology Distilling, in "months, not years," we rejoiced. Finally, Tallahassee would join the ranks of places like Crestview, Gulf Breeze, and Jacksonville, as North Florida cities with distilleries. And then came COVID-19.
What would've been time spent refining processes and releasing products was instead consumed by Ology's pivot to hand sanitizer production. The hand sanitizer, a product desperately needed nationwide, kept bartenders — who were no longer serving brews — employed; and generated revenues while Florida's craft beer scene scrambled to figure out what to do with closed taprooms.
When asked about this period on our radio show, The Saturday Morning Bottle Share, owner/brewer/distiller Nick Walker said, "We didn't totally stop operations on the distillery, but it was a hard pause. We focused much of our energy for months on hand sanitizer production, and altering the business plans for Ology Brewing [brewing procedures, safety precautions, curbside/online ordering]."
However, that pause did not dampen spirits; Walker continued, "We were planning to open and have regular tours, etc...now it's September, and we have our first bottle. We are excited about it and what is to come!"
That's right, Tallahassee can finally put a bottle — or six — of a #LocalLiquor in rotation!
Ology Distilling is hosting their first bottle release, a potato vodka, this Saturday. The bottles, 750 milliliters, and $22 each can be purchased at www.curbside.ologybrewing.com and picked up at their 2708 Power Mill Ct Suite E production facility starting at 10 a.m.
Vodka, a long-time favorite of mixologists, dieters, and college partier alike, gets that trademark Ology twist with potatoes supplying most of the fermentable sugar. While there are potato-based vodkas on the market, corn or other grain is far more common.
Of the decision, Walker said this, "We didn't set out to have a potato-based vodka, we figured it'd be corn, but through our tastings potato had the best mouthfeel, a complex and round flavor profile, finish, and nose — it won in every category. We pretty quickly changed course."
While the sugar source is undoubtedly a vital ingredient in the distilling process, vodka — perhaps more than any other spirit — relies on quality water to produce its clean taste and aroma, both typically neutral. Stories surrounding water sources in premium Vodkas are rich, running the gamut from deep ocean mineral water to 10,000-year-old glacial wells, each imparting unique qualities on the finished product.
In true Ology fashion, no stone was left unturned Walker said, "We tried in-house filtered reverse osmosis water, we tried bought distilled water and good ole Tallahassee aquifer water. Ultimately we decided on Tallahassee water filtered a bit to remove chlorines." It's worth noting that Grey Goose, a popular premium brand, lauds its water for being filtered for centuries through limestone. Something we've got going on right here.
In addition to the vodka bottles and a small selection of beers available for pickup, Ology will run distillery tours on Saturday. An excellent opportunity to check out both their pilot and production stills, gain a lot of insight into the process and sample a few upcoming products (psst...multiple gins). The tours will be free, fun, safe (masks required), and run until roughly 5 p.m.
From fruited punch to upscale cocktails, to shots, vodka's trademark has always been versatility. The spirit, light on aroma and distinctive flavor — while still packing a potent punch — serves as the perfect canvas for a dizzying array of tasty libations.
While we always like to start sampling with an ice-cold pour straight up, those seeking inspiration can snag a card at the bottle pick up Saturday featuring some favorites from the Ology crew. "We had a blast sitting down as a company and taking turns making cocktails for each other —we made-up recipes and poured the old standards," said Walker.
That spirit of exploration underscores virtually every Ology undertaking. When asked about managing the brewing (beer) and distilling (spirits) arms of the Ology brand, Walker had this to say, "I think Ology Distilling has given us an outlet to continue to be creative. From putting together an excellent and clean vodka to some of the more crazy ferments, we are throwing through the still. As we have with Ology Brewing, we continue to use our collective knowledge to explore and experiment while making some awesome products."
One such product is already in the works. It will feature imported molasses, currently fermenting in barrels, and used in creating a rum that Walker promises will be unlike anything most of us are accustomed to. Bring it on!
As we have with Ology Brewing, we look forward to exploring, tasting, supporting, and sharing some excellent #CraftCapital products!
See y'all Saturday.