I'm a native of Chicago born and bred, love the midwest but happy I don't have to live through another winter there. I'm Head Distiller at Santa Fe Spirits and Distilling Expert and Consultant for Thoroughbred Spirits Group. At Santa Fe we have an amazing mesquite smoked single malt, a barrel aged apple brandy, Wheeler's southwestern botanical gin and Silver Coyote white whiskey. Making spirits in the southwest gives me huge inspiration. As a trail runner I get out into the mountains and forage for anything I can find to inspire my creativity, smell trees (hug them sometimes) dig up roots and make tinctures and extracts out of everything.
Previously I was Head Distiller for Death's Door Spirits outside of Madison, WI. We built a 25,000 square foot distillery, breaking ground in Jan 2012 and finishing up early 2013. I headed up operations through early 2014 and then having trained up a pretty incredible staff moved on. In 2013 we produced about 50,000 9L cases.
My research at Michigan State University focused on barrel aging, yeast byproducts, methanol reduction, accelerated aging, alternative techniques in distillation, whiskey production and a variety of others. I also ran the commercial distillery at the university and luckily had the great pleasure of entertaining myself with just about every spirit, grain, and fruit imaginable. We were research focused but in a very practical setting, so everything we did was aimed at improving industry practice or creating useful techniques and technologies.
I am perpetually amazed at the good fortune that has allowed me to do so many interesting things in this world and now in this industry and hope you find something here to interest you.
Thanks for reading.