Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 31/10/2016 (1115 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
St. James’ Jason Kang is hoping to bring something new to the liquor shelf in Manitoba.
The master distiller recently opened his craft facility, Capital K Distillery in St. James’ industrial neighbourhood. Kang’s had possession of the location for over a year, and after setting up the production line, was recently able to put out his first batch of craft vodka onto Liquor Mart shelves.
His is the first grain-to-bottle craft distillery in Manitoba.
"Before you have your own product sitting on the table, it’s more like, can I do it?" Kang said. "Once I tried it myself, I thought OK, the product is good."
Kang’s distillery is craft in every sense of the word. As he puts it, every wheel and lever is turned by hand and every step of the process is done small-scale — almost as small as if he were making the product at home. From grain to bottle, a batch will take approximately 14 days to finish.
"I was starting from home brew and… somehow I got started in distilling," he said. "I read any book I could find about it. Anything I could find online, all the YouTube videos, and I kept watching them over and over, every time I saw them I would catch something new."
After teaching himself all that he could, Kang headed to Seattle for a hands-on course in distilling. There, he also learned that making liquor is about 20 per cent of running a distillery, and that business knowledge makes up the rest.
"I have a background knowledge in Chinese spirits," Kang says, who immigrated from China 14 years ago. "I had a mentor there and he worked for a big distillery for 20 years, so all of my background knowledge is from him."
Kang said once he has a handle on vodka, he will look into putting out flavoured vodka, rum, whisky and brandies—everything but tequila. The process is similar regardless of the product. Up to a certain point in the process, vodka and beer require the same steps.
"When you distill beer, you get liquor, and when you distill wine, you get brandy," Kang explained.
He hopes to offer his customers tours of the distillery so they can better understand the progression from wheat and rye mash to a 95 per cent alcohol substance reminiscent of acetone (nail polish remover) to the final product: smooth, filtered many times over and perfectly clear.
"People say there is no flavour to vodka, but there is," he explained. "You can tell the difference right away. It’s smooth, then you get a burning sensation and then it goes away, and you start tasting all kinds of flavours. Then after all of that major flavour is gone, you can taste the sweetness in the back of your throat."
Although not operational yet, the distillery will be opening a tasting room in the front which will give visitors the chance to taste the product neat or mixed into cocktails.
For now, you can find Capital K vodka in Liquor Marts. More information at http://www.capitalkdistillery.com/
Community journalist — The Metro
Alana Trachenko is the community journalist for The Metro Email her at alana.trachenko@canstarnewscom Call her at 204-697-7132