At Maine Craft Distilling, we believe that you can TASTE a landscape.
The ingredients that we use in our craft spirits come from the soil of Maine, a place where the elements, landscape and the bounty of our farmer suppliers combine to create ingredients that are truly unique.
100% terroir-driven, we take the great State of Maine and pour it into each and every bottle. We support our farmers, our community, and above all, the creation of real good booze.
You’ve always been a little adventurous, haven’t you? A pioneer, an explorer, an appreciator of the ruggedly beautiful. Now you can experience that spirit, in OUR spirit.
Blueshine is made with 100% Maine-grown WILD blueberries, weathered in the rugged Maine climate, to produce a moonshine unlike any other. It's a Maine twist on the white whiskey usually associated with clandestine production in the Appalachian foothills, incorporating blueberries and maple syrup to make a distinctly Maine spirit.
“We're dedicated to using locally sourced ingredients in all of our products, and Blueshine is a perfect example of that," say Maine Craft Distilling owner Luke Davidson.
Try a little Maine Wilderness in your glass, and you'll see what we mean.
A Users Guide...
Enjoy Chesuncook as you would a fine gin or whiskey, on the rocks or with a dash of vermouth and some bitters. Enjoy it with “savory mixers” or a sweet honey syrup. The question isn't what can you do with Chesuncook Carrot Gin, it's what CAN'T you do with Chesuncook Carrot gin!
Check out more ideas in our Recipes section. Bottoms up!
The wonderful world of FERMENTATION!
During fermentation, yeast converts sugars in ingredients such as Carrots or our Maine Grains into alcohol. This process is the precursor to distillation, and helps give Maine Craft liquors it’s unique taste.
Unlike mass-produced liquors, we ferment in the old-school way with traditional wooden fermentor barrels.
It’s just another way that every drop of Maine Craft liquor is uniquely, flavorfully Maine.
MAINE HERITAGE GRAINS
Before the Midwest became America’s breadbasket, there were Maine-grown grains.
But then came the Civil War, Westward Expansion, and Potatoes.
During these dark days grains grown in Maine were pushed to the sidelines as cover-crops and animal feed. Eventually, craft producers in search of heritage grain with exceptional flavor and quality have rediscovered the Maine Grain.
Due to the short growing season and the harsh conditions of the Maine climate, grains grown here are hardier and more flavorful.
Raise a glass to American Heritage, and our partners keeping the craft spirit alive at Maine Grains.
Fifty Stone Whiskey is made from the ground up. We start with barley grown on Crystal Springs Farm in Brunswick (not corn, like so many other American whiskeys), harvested with a vintage grain binder pulled by draft horses named Gus and Marcus.
The barley soaks in warm water for a day or so, then we spill it out onto a framed section of the distillery’s concrete floor, where it is raked and dried for a few days until the grain starts to split and dry, or “malt.”
This archaic procedure is called floor-malting. Practiced since ancient times, it is essential to capturing the best flavor of both Scotch and now Maine-grown whiskey ingredients.
Noting that Maine has a climate similar to blustery Scotland and that Fifty Stone stays true to Scottish distilling tradition, Davidson feels catching up to Scotland’s venerable greats is only a matter of time. "They've got a little history on us," Davidson says, "but we're descended from the greats."
Black Cap is a 100% Maine product. Distilled from a malted Maine-grown barley and filtered through Maine maple charcoal, the result is a European-style barley spirit that is Farm to Flask at its finest. And the Black Cap part? Named for Maine’s state bird, the Black-capped Chickadee.
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Can't make booze without DISTILLATION!
To begin the distillation process, you put a batch of fermented liquid into a copper pot. You cap and seal the pot and heat it.
As the liquid heats up, the alcohol in the liquid boils first (because alcohol boils at a lower temperature than water does) and turns to vapor. The alcohol vapors rise up into the head of the still; then they're drawn off into an arm and then to a coil.
The coil is submerged in cool water, which condenses the alcohol back into liquid. The liquid alcohol runs out of the coil and into a collection vessel.
From Medicine to Mahem to Maine - Alchemy Gin
According to “The Book of Gin,” by Richard Barnett, Gin’s earliest incarnation was “a fortifying cordial made at monastic medical schools in eleventh-century Italy” distinguished by its use of juniper berries, in hopes of fighting the plague. In Dickensian England, debauchery and even murder were attributed to excessive gin drinking, and “bathtub gin” kept Prohibition’s flappers doing the Charleston.
Enter Alchemy Gin; a leading member of the new generation of distinctive craft gin changing the way many people think about the juniper-scented spirit.
Founder Luke Davidson crafted Alchemy from a secret mix of herbs and spices - some from his own farm in Freeport - containing coriander, cardamom and of course, JUNIPER - the scent of which instantly conjures the rich earthiness of Maine’s pine forests.
Skip the tonic and try Alchemy on the rocks, with a twist.
The “Spirit” of Herbs and Spices
Back in the day, Middle Eastern alchemists were more concerned with medical elixirs than with turning lead into gold. The vapor given off and collected during an alchemical process (as with distillation of alcohol) was called a spirit of the original material.
To accomplish this process, Alchemists invented the alembic - the granddaddy of the modern pot still.
By putting the liquid and herbs to be distilled in the pot of the alembic and heating it with a flame, the vapors are collected in the “head” or “cap” which fits over the top.
When the vapor cools by contact with the walls it condenses, running down the spout into the receiver. The result? Liquid gold.
Sprigge - Alchemy’s Sleepy Sister
What happens when you stick gin in oak whiskey barrel and allow it to rest? Pure transformation. Sprigge gin emerges from its slumber a hearty, full flavored spirit combining hints of juniper with the barrel richness of vanilla.
Barrel-aging gin keeps the botanical intensity, but rounds it out with added depth and complexity that better integrates gin’s aromatics.
While barrel-aging gin has come into vogue in the U.S. in the last ten years, the practice is hardly new. For over 400 years the Dutch have barrel-aged their jenevers (a more neutral-tasting predecessor to gin), and in the 1800s and 1900s European Old Tom gin was rested in oak, resulting in a fuller-bodied, long-lost cousin of modern dry gins that was sweeter and spicier.
Sprigge is a return to old-school flavors, sure to become a new phenomenon.
Maine Craft Distilling knows the power of barrel-aging its liquors.
Originally a transportation necessity, great distillers long ago realized that liquor left to sit in oak brought out positive changes to the smoothness and character of the beverage stored inside. Generally, the longer it sat, the better it got.
At Maine Craft Distilling, we age our Fifty Stone Whiskey, Sprigge barrel-aged Gin and Ration Rum, resting them all to produce the best possible flavors from Maine-gown and Maine-made white oak barrels.
With a tradition of culture and industry looking toward the high seas, Maine has a history of over 400 years of maritime pursuits.
In the 1700s, Maine sloops, schooners, and brigs were used by local entrepreneurs to carry regionally produced products such as lumber, bricks, hay, salted and fresh produce to US port cities to the South, and beyond. These vessels returned with items which could not be produced locally, such as molasses and sugar from the West Indies, which allowed the earliest Maine distilleries – like those in the rest of the colonies – to produce RUM.
The rum ration was a daily amount of rum given to sailors on Royal Navy ships, a practice continued well into the 1970s. You can continue the tradition with a tot of Ration Rum, authentic down to it’s salty heart. Huzzah!
Is that SEAWEED in my Whiskey?
“I’m using 18th-century technology,” says Davidson, who built his first still, named “Frankenstill” from a giant, stainless-steel drum originally used in a tomato juice factory. To add a slight, smoky flavor to his whiskey, reminiscent of Highland-style single-malt Scotch, he smokes a small amount of the malted grain with peat from Washington County and yes - locally harvested SEAWEED, to give Fifty Stone its characteristic buttery, briny taste.
“It’s total terroir; 100 percent is Maine,” Davidson says, also noting that great Scotch whiskies are not above using a few gifts from the sea themselves.
You won’t need to swear your allegiance to Ahab to enjoy these two fine rums, but we’re sure you’ll have just as much appreciation for these spicy and clear beauties as the crew of the Pequod did when they drank and danced under the tropical moon in Moby Dick.
Just like their famous sailor namesakes, QueeQueg and TashTego rums bring a little of the authentic flavors of bygone eras to the present. Perfect for cocktails or straight from the ‘jug.’
Maine Crafted, Maine Proud
Chief Distiller Luke Davidson was raised in a self-sufficient agrarian Maine community sustained by a barter economy between neighboring farms. In that setting, Luke learned the essence of community and the interrelation between community and agriculture. He dreamed of leveraging his strong sense of the Maine community, his love of agriculture, and his desire to make whiskey. But how?
Luke was building a post and beam barn and musing on long-held dreams with friends when he conceived the seeds of the idea of a farm-to-flask distillery that would become Maine Craft Distilling.
Maine Craft Distilling marries Maine agricultural products to traditional methods, creating unique spirits that combine the terroir of Maine with Luke’s perfectionist sense of craft.
We hope that you can taste Maine Craft Distilling’s Yankee, can-do approach to life and liquor in every one of our bottles.