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Bluecoat American Dry Gin’s new distillery blends past and future of gin making

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Mary Ellen Shoup

By Mary Ellen Shoup+

Last updated on 23-Feb-2017 at 11:08 GMT2017-02-23T11:08:33Z

The new distillery emphasizes consumer education creating dedicated space for customers to learn about the gin distillation process.
The new distillery emphasizes consumer education creating dedicated space for customers to learn about the gin distillation process.

Philadelphia-based Bluecoat American Dry Gin has relocated its production facilities to a newly-renovated 15,000-square-foot distillery to ramp up production and create gin that better appeals to American taste preferences. 

The 15,000-square-foot expansion will also incorporate a visitor center that educates consumers about the company’s proprietary distillation process. The layout of the new distillery gives visitors a full view of the production equipment.

The new distillery will also feature tasting rooms, a cocktail bar and lounge, private event space, and outdoor patio and retail store. The retail store will offer a $3 credit for every returned used bottle, the company added.

Top-shelf gin to ‘survive and thrive’

According to a report by ISWR, a data and analysis firm, volume sales of gin will experience declines through 2021 in the US mainly due to the sales drop-off of standard and value gins, creating an opportunity for premium & craft gins such as Bluecoat.

"In order to survive and thrive, new gin brands will have to have one or more of the following: sizeable funds to invest; distinctive branding or flavour profile; a strong local following," the report stated.

Bluecoat opened its new distillery in the Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia to the public on Feb. 20, 2017.

Distillery updates

Named after American military members who wore blue coats during the American Revolution, Bluecoat American Dry Gin got its start in 2006 with the mission of creating a gin that stayed true to its American roots, combining “old-school craftsmanship with evolving modern techniques.”

“For the last decade, we have been distilling Bluecoat Gin in a warehouse-turned-lab,” Andrew Auwerda, president and co-founder of the company, said.

The updated larger facility underwent a $4.5m renovation process, which included a number of equipment installations such as hand-hammered 1500L and 2500L copper pot stills and four open-top wooden fermentation vessels.

All the renovation updates are expected to help the company to increase production and the brand’s consumer base.

The new distillery features a reduced carbon footprint by recirculating water used in distillation process as well as with the use of LED lights.

‘American palates are different’

Bluecoat Gin bills itself as an “artisanal gin in true American style, with 100% organic botanicals,” a flavor profile preference unique to American consumers.

“American palates are different; we tend to enjoy our gin less juniper forward than gin drinkers around the globe,” Auwerda said. 

Auwerda described Bluecoat American Dry Gin as a “citrus-forward, smooth, balanced spirit with a gentle mouth-feel and complex flavors that lead with the sweet aromatics of soft, earthy juniper and finishes with bright citrus notes.”  

“Bluecoat is batch distilled in the birthplace of America – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and we highlight the American grown organic botanicals, such as sweet orange and lemon peels,” he said.

The company produces two different products: Bluecoat American Dry Gin and Bluecoat Barrel Finished Gin.

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