The alcoholic beverages industry has had a long and healthy history steeped in tradition and classic distilling techniques. Distillation is simply the process of physically separating liquids using heat. In the case of spirits, this distillation process is performed on fermented grains, fruits, or vegetables in order to achieve a higher alcohol content than is otherwise possible. Historically, beer and wine could only reach a maximum of 15% alcohol by volume (ABV) during the fermentation process because, after this point, the alcohol began to kill off the fermenting yeast. Distillation overcomes this obstacle, making beverages with a higher ABV possible.
Distillation can be traced back to early Mesopotamia (as early as 500 BC), but is not believed to have been common until around 150 AD. Early methods of distillation were crude and inefficient, and it wasn’t until the 8th century that a pure, effective distillation process was developed for alcohol. In fact, many of the very same techniques and ideas behind the first techniques are still in use today.
Some things have changed however. Small “batch stills” in clay or copper pots have given way to multi-story, stainless steel “continuous stills.” Industrialization has led to high-quality raw products, filters, standardized yeast chains, and computerized control of the entire process. These advances led to the process of “rectification,” a repeated distillation method designed to produce an extremely high proof spirit like GNS (Grain Neutral Spirit). GNS is a clear, colorless, and highly volatile spirit. It is termed “neutral” because it can be made from many different cereal grains and has no taste. GNS is born through rectification, which pushes its proof to around 190.
While these innovations have resulted in more consistent spirits, the actual process of distillation has remained relatively the same over the last 13 centuries.
In an effort to bring these spirits into the modern age, we developed the TerrePURE® technology for application to all spirit types. As we explore the history of these spirits, we will also explain a bit about how our technology is altering the traditional views of these spirits. Over time, our master blenders have expanded our knowledge and understanding of the TerrePURE technology, and they continue to find ways of pushing the envelope for all spirits. From a variety of infusions to modifying oak casks for processing, our master blenders are continuously finding new and better ways to impart the power of the TerrePURE process to our ever growing line of Ultra Premium Spirits