Woodworks Distilling Company: A Foreword

Jun 21, 2022

Woodworks Distilling Company produces spirits that are crafted to lift yours; crafted to be stories, to tell stories, to invite stories. In that sense, the product goes beyond something one pours into a glass. It begins as an idea that is shaped by experience and expertise, a concept that runs full force into the realities of execution. In its move toward fulfillment, presuming that imagination and desire, tenacity and connection come to bear, it becomes that other kind of spirit. It reflects the hopes of not just one, but many. Of course, that spirit has an effect in many dimensions; effects that can be pleasant, motivating, ethereal, companionable, uplifting … to say the least. Yet its origins are anything but abstract. They are the result of very concrete entities, acquisitions and chemistries. For instance: Our bright copper still, originally made in Kentucky bourbon country, came to us from out west, from a place you can trace on an imaginary line drawn from Sacramento, CA, north and east across the Sierra Nevada range, through the Eldorado Forest, skimming over Lake Tahoe and through Carson City, NV, to a ranch-based distillery surrounded by fields of wind-swept gold; that is, if you’re prone to picturing locations in your mind. As such, it has generated some heat and seen some heat, not entirely unlike what it will provide and experience right here in our intermittently humid and dry, toasty and chill Oklahoma clime. Our honorable still has been broken in, boiling and trickling some fine fine stuff, mostly of the whiskey variety. Once it was disassembled out there and transported back here by truck and road, it took more than a little diligent labor with many a Brillo pad and some fastidious human perseverance to make it shine like a new bell tower again. But it is a sight for thirsty eyes now that it is hand-polished and true. Our mash tun came from out west too, a bit further north, Portland, OR way. Like the still, it’s been loved and leveraged elsewhere, too. But here it is, brilliant and shiny as a gilded age chandelier. And if you look into its gleaming, hardened surface, you’ll see a smiling reflection of anticipation. Our distiller came from down south, which suggests he’s sipped a few fine spirits himself and learned to make them in distinctive and erudite ways from masters of the distilling craft. Our bar is hewn from an Oklahoma Black Walnut tree, selected from a grove of whispering giants felled near Minco, OK, with all due respect, mind you; salvaged and put to good use here, cut and cured, stewarded and heard to point the way for our spirits by the Marking Tree craftsman of local renown. Our building was once the Ritz Theater. Yes, it saw ritzy days, its velvet seats crowded with folks ogling silents and talkies, now its sweeping curtains long gone, its screen replaced with an entirely different (but equally captivating) view to behold. You can still see the pattern of the sloped walkways one associates with movie theaters lingering on the long walls that stretch back to the production floor where we’re mashing grain and producing distillate, running it up to and then down through that wizardly evaporative column over and over again across perforated plates in a determined quest for sensory enlightenment and perfection. When we installed all new utilities to feed and fuel this tidy, little operation, we had to dig out, like archeologists, three ancient floors to get to pay dirt, screen out all the rock and concrete rubble by hand, then sift and stir the soil before packing it back in the ground with sufficient density to support that pot still and mash tun and rectifying tower, not to forget the stacks of carefully-sourced grain that will contribute to outcomes that will one day, as promised, lift your spirits. (Soon, we hope.) Speaking of grain, when you peer back through the windows in the demising wall to our workshop, you’ll spy hefty bundles of corn and wheat, of barley and rye, standing by, pre-milled to our exacting specifications, alongside aromatic botanicals, ahead of being mashed and, shall we say, elevated for your personal enjoyment. Some spirits will be barreled. Some will go straight to the bottle. Because some you can sip and savor the moment they come off the line, while others beg to rest a bit, gather themselves and embrace the influence of wood and patience. Of course, when all is laid and done, and this chemistry set is stoked and fired and yielding the fruits of all our art and science and diligent work, the whole structure will embody an architectural expression of rugged elegance, rather like our own proprietary product … as you will discover. The former theater-now-distillery is parked along that grand highway of dreams, the lifeline of American mobility, the noble, enduring, beckoning stuff of song and fable, of artistic expression and celebrity: Route 66, which runs east and west, straight as an arrow, just this side of the rumbling railroad tracks there in the Britton District, a budding, bustling invitation to industry and leisure, ensconced in the heart of — what has been from time to time in its rambling history, the world’s largest geographic metropolis — the expansive Oklahoma City, Ok. That’s merely a glimpse (some might say an over-wrought glimpse) into the myriad story lines woven into the Woodworks narrative. Perhaps it will give you a spare clue or two to our beginnings. All will be open soon for you to come taste for yourself. Stay tuned for future installments as we write the next chapter in the story of world-class, craft distilling. And as always, let the spirit move you, responsibly.

Signed, The authors at Woodworks Distilling Co.

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