Lonerider Ready to Mash Spirits Into Brewery’s Profile

As an established brewery, Lonerider Brewing is adding distiller to its repertoire. The Raleigh, North Carolina brewery announced in late July the formation of Lonerider Spirits and the company will debut a Bourbon finished in Sherry casks in September.

“We have always wanted to extend in the realm of distillation,” explained CEO Sumit Vohra. “As makers of ‘Ales for Outlaws,’ we constantly ask ourselves ‘What would Clint Eastwood drink?’.

“And being Bourbon aficionados ourselves we chose to start with a Bourbon.”

The spirits will be released this fall in North Carolina and soon thereafter in the other eight states where Lonerider already has a presence.

Winning more than 57 medals for beer helps in sales of their spirit line, Vohra believes.

“We are already a recognized name in some of our markets,” he pointed out..”Makes it easy to have the next conversation in regards to Bourbon.

“We have always believed “product (beer or bourbon) comes first.”

While beer is much more about freshness, Bourbon is much more about aging and finishing. But Vohra said he can see similarities.

One such use of similar ingredients is that Lonerider will be utilizing the mash bill of Sweet Josie — a GABF and World Beer Cup winning Brown Ale — to create a single malt.

“It allows both beer and Bourbon to benefit from each other,” Vohra noted. One of the other offerings they are thinking of is a Bourbon finished with Deadwood, which is the brewery’s Nitro Russian Imperial Stout.

“Then we will use that Bourbon barrel to age the next batch of beer again in it,” he told Brewer. “Kind of ouroboros if you ask me.”

Quite a bit of time and effort went into the venture, Vohra said when asked about the planning stages.

‘More space, more staff, more drinking, really just more of everything,” he said.

Since Bourbon is primarily based on corn and rye, which Lonerider doesn’t utilize currently much in their beers, the brewery has had to work with supply chain vendors for different ingredients, although single malt spirits will use much of what the brewery already has available on hand and to order.

Vohra is chairman of Lonerider Spirits while Chris Mielke, with a background in large project planning and distilled spirits production, joins Lonerider Spirits as president from his current role as vice president of business development at Lonerider Brewing.

In doing research for Lonerider Spirits, Mielke, a former blogger for Southern Distilling News, visited more than 50 distilleries to talk with distillers about their growth strategies and key lessons learned.

Lonerider Spirits has also launched a Kickstarter campaign with a fundraising goal of at least $20,000. That money raised will go toward first-year production and marketing costs. A second spirit is planned for 2019.

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