I had started drinking even before I arrived at the distillery. It was Tuesday, and I had had a bad day, so I left the house before anyone else and wandered down the street to the White Horse Tavern to mope around and catch my tears with assorted glasses filled with Jameson.
By the time the crew had assembled to head to Southie for the tour of GrandTen Distilling I was feeling pretty good.
Dorchester Avenue in South Boston was dark and empty when we pulled into the Distillery at 9 p.m. It was down one of these dark alleys. A garage door pulling up revealed a glorious distillery and shop space that while modern, still had touches of the old Southie foundries that inspired GrandTen. Owned and operated by cousins Matthew Nuernberger and Spencer McMinn, the space was brightly lit, warm and smelled of sweet almonds. Spencer greeted us at the door and pointed to the floor, where a sticky sweet smelling liquid and a multitude of almonds coated the floor.
“Sorry about the nuts,” he said. “We’re experimenting with almonds and we had an accident.” I resisted the urge to start licking the floor. Whatever it was, it smelled delicious.
Standing in front of us was a huge copper machine, looking more like an alien space suit than something that made booze.
Spencer explained that the machine was used to make all of GrandTen’s products, including the two that we would be sampling today: “Wire Works” American Gin and “Fire Puncher” vodka, the spicy vodka taking its name from an 1887 fire in the iron foundry where GrandTen is now located.
Making the liquor themselves in small batches and doing everything by hand—from distilling to bottling and labeling—GrandTen is the definition of taking pride in your work,
and local business owners as well as national companies such as Horizon Beverage are already carrying and distributing the products.
In exchange for my brewery tour last Tuesday, Spencer and Matt had only one request: “Our answering machine is that really weird robot voice and none of us want to leave the new recording. We were hoping you would do it.”
I agree wholeheartedly. Keep an eye on these guys.
GrandTen is putting out a great product that’s sure to be a staple on shelves not only in South Boston, but hopefully all over the city in no time.
Check them out … and don’t be afraid to leave a message after the beep.
383 DORCHESTER AVE.