Here is the short version of how this tour of Ugly Dog Distillery came to be. Because I started using Unroll.Me, I was looking at my email more than usual. There was an Amazon Local deal about a distillery tour. Because we brew, I thought it would be fun. A few clicks, a few texts, and a phone call later, the boyfriend and I had a weekend plan.
We got there precisely at the time that the tour was to start. And that tour was full. We even got to see the “ugly” dog, Rupert.
More importantly, though, we learned about the process. Having had familiarity with the beer making process it was interesting to see the similarities.
The people watcher/gawker/observer in me was fascinated by the questions that other people chose to ask. I was also overtaken by how knowledgeable one of the owners was. Jon Dyer facilitated the tour. When asked how he got into this business, part of the story is that it was started on a dare. His buddies pretty much challenged him to distill some alcohol, which he did, putting his engineering background to use. Through this project he learned that it’s easy to make liquor and that it is difficult to make good liquor.
Isn’t that the universal lesson. You can do pretty much anything shoddily, but if you want to get better, you need to put the time in. During the tour, I found myself thinking about the nature of intense interest/obsession. It was clear that he immersed himself in the topic and that his knowledge is now just a part of who he is.
One of the things that surprised me was the physical space in the place. I don’t know exactly what I was expecting, but I do know that I was expecting something larger than what we toured. They are able to produce the spirits that they do in a space that was, by my best estimate about 16×24 feet.
The other thing that I saw that I hadn’t expected was that much of the equipment that he used, he built himself. I could tell some of that immediately. There was a machine that is used to separate the grains from the liquid earlyish in the process that started off as a washing machine. There were other things that also looked like they had pasts as other items. He built his own distillers and his own fermenters.
Listening to him talk made me think back to my hardcore math and science classes days. Listening, here, made me want to bust out an old chemistry textbook and start working through it. I used to love chemistry class, the order of it, the structure, the poetry. Thanks, Mr. Pav!
We bought some rum, some bacon vodka and some Bloody Mary mix. Can’t wait to try it all.