Sunday, April 3, 2011

Q & A with Greg and Dave from Watershed Distillery

Ed Butdorf of Ed and Friends was kind enough to visit Watershed Distillery and do a little Question and Answer session with Greg Lehman and Dave Rigo.   Ed also took the time to review both the vodka and gin offerings from Watershed. Thanks Ed for sharing this information! Cheers!

This was one of the nicest afternoons I have spent in a long time. Greg Lehman and Dave Rigo from Watershed Distillery are two of the nicest guys you will ever meet. They took two hours out of their hectic day to answer questions about distilling, the politics of being in the distilling business in Ohio, the many hurdles they had to jump and they even had a little time to talk about pigs.
There is no doubt in my mind that Greg and Dave will be successful since they are great guys making a great product in a great city. I called them out of the blue and asked them if I could come for a visit after trying their Vodka and Gin a few weeks ago. They were happy to oblige and seemed genuinely happy to meet other people interested in distilling and drinking fine spirits. My reviews of Watershed Distillery products are below. Watershed Distillery products are available in many places in Ohio but they are limited to Ohio for the time being.
Ed: What was the first major hurdle you ran in to?
G & D: Obviously, the first issue was finding investors after that I would say jumping through all of the federal hoops for licensing was very challenging. We did it all ourselves since we didn’t have much money. Maybe it would have been easier if we had hired a lawyer to take care of it.
Ed: How was the local and state government to deal with?
G & D Ohio really wasn’t too bad after we had our federal approval and Columbus was very easy to get along with. We couldn’t have picked a better place in Ohio to do this as far as we are concerned.
Ed: Who does the actual distilling and bottling and etc?
G & D: We do it all ourselves with some volunteer help. It is very difficult starting up a business like this and we are very thankful to all of the volunteers that have helped us.
Ed: Did you formulate your own recipe for the botanical mix in the gin?
G & D: Yes we did and it took a while. We think we did a pretty good job and we hope everyone else does too.
Ed: What is next for Watershed Distillery?
G & D: We have bourbon in barrels aging right now and we can’t wait! We are very excited about the bourbon and can’t wait for all of our fans to get to try it as well.

I have been sampling Vodka for many years and for a long time Stolichnaya was my favorite. Then I tried Tito’s and fell in love with it. For several years I have been singing the praises of Tito’s Handmade Vodka; that is until last week.
Last week I picked up a 750 of Watershed Distillery Vodka. Watershed Distillery Vodka is distilled in Columbus Ohio and is made with local ingredients whenever possible. Watershed Distillery Vodka is hand crafted by two guys in a small distillery. Each batch of Watershed Distillery Vodka is made with love; love of good, clean tasting, reasonably priced vodka.
As I opened the bottle I couldn’t help but notice that the tapered sides must have made labeling a challenging proposition. I poured a glass neat and a glass over ice. The smell was like not many other types of vodka I have had recently, there was no antiseptic smell. It almost smelled sweet and I think I could smell the corn that was used to make it. The first taste amazed me, it had no medicinal taste. It tasted much like it smelled, slightly sweet and it had a hint of the corn that was used to make it. The finish was smooth and clean with no after burn.
A 750ml bottle retails in Ohio for $24.60 which makes Watershed Distilling Vodka an incredible value. A vodka that tastes as nice as this usually costs $40 plus for a 750ml bottle.
Over the next week or so I tried the Watershed Distillery Vodka in several different cocktails. It was wonderful every way I tried it but I kept coming back to drinking it over ice with a twist.
My recommendation is to get to an Ohio state store right away and grab a bottle of Watershed Distillery Vodka. I don’t think you will be disappointed.

Last week I tried a bottle of Watershed Distilling Vodka and fell in love with it. The only other product offering from Watershed right now is Watershed Distillery Gin so I headed out to grab a bottle. I am not really a big gin drinker but I do like to taste different gin’s when I am out at bars.
Watershed Distillery Gin is a very nice offering. It has all of the traditional juniper flavors you expect and it had the nice addition of some subtle citrus flavor. I tried Watershed Distillery Gin neat, over ice and in a martini. I thoroughly enjoyed it all three ways.
I decided to compare Watershed Distillery Gin to the bottle of Hendricks that is also in my liquor cabinet and while I did slightly prefer the Hendricks, I have to say that with a price tag of only $27.90 for a 750ml bottle (Hendricks is about 50 bucks); I won’t be replacing the Hendricks with another bottle of Hendricks.
I also love the fact that Watershed Distillery is an Ohio Company that uses Ohio ingredients whenever possible. My recommendation is to give Watershed Distillery Gin a try. I think for the price you will like it very much.

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