Essential Ingredient: The Still

Sebastian attended a distillers' workshop in Chicago March 2009, organized by Kothe Distilling Technologies, a German-based manufacturer of artisan stills. When we decided to start our business, we wanted this type of pot still, which blends copper and stainless steel in both a beautiful and functional fashion.

An advantage of working with Kothe is that the still could be customized for the type of alcohol we were planning to produce, and we could get endless technical help from both Robert Birnecker, owner of Koval, Chicago's first artisan distillery, and Dr. Klaus Hageman, an expert in fermentology and distillation sciences in Germany. Our still was specifically designed for fruit brandies, but is also adaptable for grappa, grain spirits, and liqueurs.

After placing our order, it took two months for the still to be manufactured in Eislingen, shipped from Germany to New York via the container vessel APL Sardonyx, and then make its way by train across the states to Portland.