Distiller magazine

Distiller_Fall 2015

Distiller magazine a publication of the American Distilling Institute, the Voice of Artisan Distilling; devoted to the craft spirits industry: vendors and distillers alike.

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126 distiller Old World Spirits (OWS)/Kuchan Cellars has pioneered in a number of areas since master distiller Davorin Kuchan launched this Bay Area- based distillery in 2005 with the motto, "Good Stuff Needs No Special Effects." OWS is CCOF Organic Certified, sourcing ingredients from local farmers, while Kuchan's Rusty Blade, a barrel aged take on his Blade Gin, was the first barrel-aged gin label approved by the TTB—to much debate, of course—well before the barrel aged gin craze hit craft distilleries across the country. A Croatian-born, third generation winemaker, master distiller and Berkeley Haas graduate, Davorin brought his craft from family vineyards in the Old World (hence the distillery name) to California where a Mediterranean climate provides him with impeccable fruits and grapes to craft his eaux de vie and Cognac-style brandies, as well as a range of whiskies, absinthe, gin and vodka. Everything is distilled by OWS, grain to bottle, in the small town of Belmont, in Silicon Valley. Kuchan's business is truly a family affair. His wife and two daughters help press grapes and fruit, participating with him in their last Friday of the month "Friday Flights", an open house in their intimate distillery where the Kuchan welcome immediately feels familial and inclusive. One of his daughters even created the charming fairy artwork on his La Sorciere Absinthe labels. One of Kuchan's keys to success early on was forming strong relationships with bar managers and bartenders around the Bay Area. Here, he tells us more about that, including OWS' beginnings and the spirits he creates. Tell us a bit about how Old World Spirits began. Old World Spirits' journey started a long time ago in Croatia, where I grew up. My family had a vineyard, and some of my earliest memories were INTERVIEW davorin DAVORIN KUCHAN of old world spirits INTERVIEW by Virginia Miller © Andrew Faulkner

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