Never blending in takes potatoes, molasses – and a whole lot of guts.
Funny little story. When our Master Distiller Barry Young decided to open a distillery, someone suggested he attend “vodka school.” So he did. Once there, he heard the same thing over and over: play it safe, play it cheap, use grain, use corn, use the same recipe with a different label and no one will ever notice. To which Barry shook his head and said, “I want to make a spirit that gets noticed.”
On that day, Barry threw the expected approach to everything he crafts out the window. And he’s never looked back.
Choosing the right ingredients
Right from our backyard
Only the finest Pennsylvania-grown potatoes and family-made molasses
It’s more expensive and takes far more skill to coax vodka from potatoes than it does from grain or corn. So why do it? Simple: potatoes make a far superior craft spirit. They have a natural sweetness that grain and corn don’t. Plus, potatoes create a creamier, more pleasing mouth feel. As for using 100% PA grown and harvested potatoes from a farmer who really cares about what he grows? Well, that question answers itself.
Same standards go for Bly Silver Rum. Other distillers use straight sugar. We use rich, dark supreme baking molasses. Why? Because it adds delicious tones of vanilla and butterscotch. Our molasses come from a family-run outfit in Honey Brook, PA, where they’ve been making molasses for more than 80 years.
Be better, bolder
And never take the easy way out
Case in point: Boyd & Blair Vodka. There are three parts to distilling vodka: heads, hearts and tails. Like whiskey, the heads get dumped. (Unless you want to go blind.) The hearts? That’s where the magic is. They’re the sweetest, purest, most delicious part of the vodka. And the tails? Well, that’s where the batch starts to degrade. They won’t make you go blind. But they’ll sure make your taste buds cringe.
Now for the fun part.
Those bad-tasting tails? We dump them down the drain, too. Other vodka distillers (we’re looking at you Netherlands, France and Texas) mix those tails back into the hearts then distill the batch several more times to scrub some of the impurities and bad taste. So if you ever hear a vodka say, it’s “5 to 7 times distilled,” you know why.
Us? We only bottle the hearts. Not the tails. Ever. Does it lead to smaller batches? Yes. Is it something some MBA would have a fit over? Yes. Does it keep us up at night? No.
In fact, we sleep better because of it. (And we feel better in the morning after we’ve enjoyed a few, too.)
Here, craft isn’t a marketing slogan.
It’s our obsession.
In our book, “hand-crafted” doesn’t meet a finger touching a button on a production line. Or someone running the machine that pastes labels.
Here, it means this:
Master Distiller Barry Young and his crew unload, prep and mix the ingredients AND taste, smell and scrutinize every batch of Boyd & Blair Potato Vodka, BLY Silver Rum and Boyd & Blair 151 Professional that come from our distillery.
Labor intensive? Yeah. Hot as hell in the summertime? Sure. Worth every ounce of every bottle? That’s what we mean by craft.
One of the World’s Few 3-time, 5-star Master Distillers
It’s not a title. It’s a calling.
Some want to be distillers for money. Some want to distill for fame.
Barry does it for originality… and flavor.
You see, Barry has more than 20-years-experience as a pharmacist and chemist. So, he knows all about coming up with new formulas. Distilling is no different. He simply took a look at the “traditional” way of doing things…and decided he could do far better.
And so he has. With the mind of a scientist and the soul of a craftsman, Barry had created some of the finest, truly hand-crafted spirits in the world.
You don’t need to know the formula. The taste alone will tell.