Durham’s new craft distilleries should get a lift from shifting state liquor laws
Peer through the window of a former auto mechanic’s shop on Washington Street near downtown Durham, and you may be surprised by what you see.
A large, gleaming, customized copper still dominates the room. Beside it sits a smaller glass contraption called a Buchi R-220 SE Rotavapor, a pricy piece of equipment usually found in pharmaceutical labs. Its glass pot may be full of cucumbers, or perhaps figs. And toward the back, you might spot piled pounds of chocolate or gallons of concentrated coffee. They wait to be transformed into liqueurs.
These are the chief components of Durham Distillery, a new business looking to capitalize on a sudden intersection of shifting state codes, a growing area interest in craft alcohol and a booming neighborhood. Durham Distillery will specialize in gin by finding new ways to challenge an old process. It will combine traditional production methods with new laboratory science, just as you can see through the window.
“We’re hoping to really elevate what a modern gin can be,” says Melissa Katrincic, who owns and operates Durham Distillery with her husband, Lee. “For us, that meant bringing in modern distillation techniques and modern lab techniques to think about how to rebalance the flavors and the palates of gin.”