Share A Sip with Alex Castle 07.12.18

By now you’ve probably heard that we threw a little party at the Distillery a few weeks ago to celebrate the launch of a new line of Old Dominick spirits called R&D. If you missed it, here’s a taste:

R&D stands for research and development. The first two spirits we’ve released under the R&D heading are gins – Formula #6, an American Dry Gin, and Formula #10, a Southern Gin – but the idea is that the R&D label will be home to all sorts of spirits going forward. More than anything, it’s our home for experimentation. Every R&D release will be small batch, which means limited quantities of it will be available in the Old Dominick retail store at the Distillery and at bars and restaurants throughout Tennessee (Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville and Chattanooga).

At the heart of R&D is a quest to know more and to challenge ourselves (and the rest of the spirits community) to be better, to be creative, to innovate. I am pretty much the polar opposite of a risk-taker in my personal life – but when I’m in the lab, I definitely am! The beauty of working in small batches is that the risk is a measured one. Our cookers hold 1,800 gallons, which is a very small quantity. If the risks you took paid off, you scale up. If they didn’t? You live, you learn, you move on to the next recipe or idea.

With these gins, I started with the flavors I like and tried to figure out how they could be translated. I’ve had fun playing with it and taking chances with a couple of different combinations. Some of them paid off, some of them didn’t – one of them really didn’t pay off! But that’s okay, because I’m trying to have fun with it. To me, that’s what’s going to make a good spirit, if you enjoy the process it takes to get there. If you really love doing it, the odds are you’ll really like the product in the end.

Have you had a chance to try either of the R&D series gins yet? If you have, we want to hear from you. Seriously – you’re part of the R&D team now! Head here to give us your feedback. And if you haven’t tried either one yet, you can pick up a bottle in the Old Dominick retail store while they last!