Question: How is Twenty 2 Vodka made?
Quick Answer: Twenty 2 Vodka is True Micro Distilled in 50 Gallon batches.
Detailed Answer: Twenty 2 Vodka is true micro distilled using an array of 50-gallon pot stills. These individual pot stills we use were custom designed in-house and constructed locally using American labor and materials. This one of a kind design and setup can process the same volume as bigger brands out there, while maintaining a level of quality unobtainable by those same big brands. Specifically, when we speak of quality, we are referring to the product’s neutrality, or lack of detectable character. This superior neutrality is achieved by effectively removing the heads and tails alcohols during distillation, leaving just the “heart” to become Twenty 2 Vodka. After distillation, pristine Northern Maine water is used to bring the ABV to 40% or 80 Proof. What is now technically vodka is then chill filtered through a bed of activated charcoal until a tasting panel blindly chooses the current batch as the best in a warm tasting. If the current batch isn’t picked unanimously over the previous batch and 2 other brands, it goes back to the filter. This blind tasting stage ensures that the vodka which leaves our doors is the best out there. As a final stage of inspection, each bottle is hand numbered with a unique batch and bottle number. 1 batch yields about 240 bottles.
More on why True Micro Distillation produces superior neutrality: For ages, the economies of scale encouraged larger and larger capacity stills to go online. (The capacity of the still is how big a batch is. This does not apply to the industrial distillation method of Constant Reflux Distillation). However, as your distillation batches get bigger and bigger, so does something I’ll call “the grey area”. “The grey area” is the realm in between the 3 parts of every distillation run, named the heads, hearts, and tails. The heads comprise low boiler alcohols which are a natural byproduct of fermentation, but undesirable to drink. The heart of the distillation is that ethanol molecule we’re interested in, and the component we want to collect the most of to get the most out of this distillation run. Finally, the tails of distillation comprises fusel oils, again leftovers from fermentation that are undesirable when making neutral vodka. During distillation, 100% heads alcohol is the first to come out of the still. As the distillation proceeds, the concentration of heads will gradually taper off, replaced by the hearts, until only hearts are coming out of the still. This transition between heads and hearts resembles a typical bell curve, and unfortunately there isn’t a clear measurable point where heads stop and hearts begin. If there was a clear point, similar to a step function, where Alcohol A definitively stops and Alcohol B definitively appears, this industry would be very different. Instead, it is up to the master distiller to make the call when it is time to stop collecting heads and begin collecting the hearts. The timing of this call is key to the quality of the distillation. Make the call too early, and you’ll have heads included with your hearts, but your overall volume will be increased. Make the call too late, and you’ll have mostly hearts, but at the cost of wasting good alcohol molecules, as well as time and money. As the batch size increases, “the grey area” in between cuts also grows, making complete exclusion of all head-alcohol near impossible without discarding a large portion of the hearts. But by operating in small batches, the grey area is effectively narrowed, and near-complete exclusion of impurities is possible. Finally, because of our unique process design and setup, we can increase our output incrementally instead of in gigantic leaps, guaranteeing that our product will remain consistent regardless of the size of our operation. That last sentence may sound like an obvious perk, but believe it or not, the distilling industry and equipment traditionally available to distillers, does not permit that type of incremental growth. Until now that is….
How about some pictures? Well, you can scour the internet for some that may have leaked. You might see some here. Other than that, we’re keeping the true micro distilled secret to ourselves. ;-)