Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Jersey Artisan Distilling – Licensed to Distill....!

I try to keep up with the American Made Rum industry as best as I can. One rich trove of information is Twitter. I try to review tweets everyday to pick up on articles, business moves, commentary etc. One caught my eye a month ago or so. Jersey Artisan Distilling. I found the name attractive. The tweet talked about working toward their license. That too intrigued me. There was a real chance I could witness the birth of a new distillery! I reached out and got in touch with Krista Haley representing Jersey Artisan. She sent background and has been willing to provide me with great information about this fledgling Company. I sensed that their trials, tribulations and journey was coming to an end as licensing loomed ahead. I have to admit I got excited for them! I made the decision that I was going to write about them and find out about the task to become licensed: To make your own Rum.

While I cannot reproduce the over year-long adventure to bring Jersey Artisan Distilling to life, I can relate some of the story to you. So, sit back pour a shot or two of rum and read the story behind Jersey Artisan Distilling.

Brant Braue
Jersey Artisan Distilling is truly a joint effort of Brant Braue and Krista Haley. Brant, a Jersey native, had an inborn curiosity about life; how things worked and how things were made. Starting as an Electrician , he went on to become and Electrical Engineer. His curiosity extended to racing trucks, motorcycles and flying airplanes. He seeks adrenaline and is a lover of a challenge. Some where his fascination with things mechanical, electrical and the thrill of doing something fun, risky and self rewarding, lead him to wanting to distill and create craft spirits. He wanted to make rum!

Krista Haley
Krista Haley was not wasting a life – hers was one well lived as well. Moving to New Jersey at a very young age from Florida. She soon proudly called herself a Jersey-girl. For this partner in the distilling business, it was education and more to the point, education in The Law. Princeton taught Krista what she needed, but Jersey called her back and she has practiced law there for more than ten years, the last three owning her own practice. Active in sports she is a member of the New Jersey Field Hockey Association and the Garden State Rollergirls. Notice the need for adrenaline in her life too? A toughness for the challenge?

I confess, I don’t have the full story of this team's life, but judging from what I have learned, they are well matched to partner a truly successful business. Brant – Master Distiller, joined with Krista – Now the General Counsel (and self proclaimed Queen of the Distillery!) for Jersey Artisan Distillery and sought a license to distill spirits (their plan is for rum, followed by vodka, gin, bourbon and whiskey.) something that had not been successfully done since 1780, by Laird & Company.

If you could wake up tomorrow and do whatever it is you want, what would you do?”

Once an idle question from his brother, it's now the basis of a company plan for Krista & Brant. Over just a few few months, the two put their heads together and, starting with cocktails by the pool, realized that this dream of owning a distillery could actually happen. From this collaboration, Jersey Artisan Distilling was born. After over a year of hard work to find the right location, the right suppliers and the right support for this dream, it is now becoming a reality.

Setting the Still
To say it's hard work, both physical and mental, is an understatement. They had to wade into the maze of State and Federal laws to apply, prove themselves able and win a license to operate. On top of that there was a Distillery to build!

In the end, let's let Jersey Artisan Distillery, speaks for itself:

Slowly taking shape.
"Jersey Artisan Distilling, Inc. has been established to provide high-quality spirits to all. The company's initial product line will focus on the distillation of ultra-premium, hand crafted rum, followed by vodka, gin, bourbon and whiskey. Our primary focus will be on making rum in the classic style, bringing back the flavors and tastes that made rum the most popular spirit in colonial times and thereafter.

In today’s market, liquors are too often made simply to intoxicate without any aim to provide enjoyment to the consumers. Jersey Artisan Distilling intends to bring enjoyment back to liquor consumption by using classic distilling techniques and providing flavor and passion for the product to the consumer. Our goal is to create locally made liquors using Jersey grown products whenever possible.”

Well, Friday, January 25 2013 their work paid off. Their master plan from their background synopsis they sent to me says it all:

As soon as we receive our State license, we will begin immediate production of premium rum made from the finest molasses from Louisiana which will be aged in oak barrels and available to the public in or about April 2013. For the summer months, we will begin offering rums flavored with the seasonal fruits available here in Jersey, starting with strawberry, cherry, blackberry and blueberry with cranberry to be offered in the fall. The rum will be made using classic techniques that represent the traditional style of dark rum, from the colonial period when New Jersey was a hub for rum production and importation. We will also be offering a silver (clear) rum and a 150 proof aged dark rum as well.”

Their plans for Jersey Artisan Distillery goes beyond all that. I think the further plans, the bigger dreams, will happen. Best of luck to Brant Braue and Krista Haley, but somehow a lot of success will not be from luck, but passion, hard work and a good partnership.

As always I am:

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