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How to become a Distiller

Attend Dry Fly Distilling School


Updated December 13, 2012

With the explosion of the craft distilling movement in the United States, one of the biggest challenges to the industry is the lack of good quality training at an affordable cost here in the United States. Too many people purchase a still and set out to make whiskey when they lack the skills and expertise to properly distill. The resulting whiskies from amateur distillers are full of tails, off flavors and other flaws that could easily be rectified through quality instruction.

Luckily, two of America's premier craft distillers, Don Poffenroth and Kent Fleischmann, along with their assistant Patrick Donovan offer a one week intensive course on craft distilling at Dry Fly Distillery in beautiful Spokane, Washington.

Dry Fly is one of the true craft distillers in America, eschewing the common craft distilling practice of rectifying purchased neutral grain spirits and instead crafting all of their current product line from Washington state wheat grown on one farm. A visit to Dry Fly reveals large, 1500 pound bags of wheat inside the distillery and you can literally watch as they mill the grain down into a rough flour, ferment the mash and then finally distill. The results are remarkable and give all of Dry Fly spirits a unique sense of place, something the French call terroir. Additionally, this is a distillery that uses high quality German stills and refuses to cut any corners in the production of their spirits.

Attendees of Dry Fly Distilling School will find a hands on experience devoted to actually learning and producing distilled spirits and the sensory evaluation necessary to understand a flawed product. Beyond distilling, other vital aspects of craft distilling such as business planning, tasting room operation, and sales and marketing of small production spirits are covered in depth.

I've personally seen and toured a number of craft distillers and I'm regularly approached by people interested in becoming craft distillers. After spending time at Dry Fly and meeting Kent, Don and Patrick, I can highly recommend Dry Fly Distilling School to anyone interested in becoming a distiller. If there is a better training program for distillers in the United States, I'm not aware of it. Dry Fly and their Distilling School simply are the industry standard for craft distilling instruction in the United States and North America. If you wish to learn this craft, choose the best, choose Dry Fly.

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