Created by beer people with a passion for whiskey and an eye towards sustainability, Brooklyn, New York’s newest distillery—Arcane Distilling—introduces its flagship whiskey, Arcane Alpha. With direct-to-consumer shipping available at ArcaneDistilling.com to nearly 30 states, this vividly flavorful American whiskey is distilled from craft beer in Bushwick, Brooklyn.
Helmed by CEO Brian Thompson and distiller Phil Morgan, Arcane is a new type of distillery that lives at the intersection of beer and whiskey. Arcane combines the vibrant culture and innovative flavors of craft beer with cutting edge distillation technology to create unique and extremely smooth, nuanced, and environmentally responsible whiskeys. With extensive backgrounds in both beer and distilling, the team questioned every step of whiskey making to create a dynamic new approach that yields delicious results. Arcane’s vacuum distillation process captures the intense malt flavors and hop aromas of beer, delivering complex and flavorful American whiskies unlike any other.
Though complicated in practice, the Arcane approach is simple: make great beer and distill it into great whiskey. While all whiskey is made from a type of beer, Arcane comes from fresh, locally brewed craft beer designed to showcase exceptionally bold but familiar flavors. Beginning with IPAs and stouts, Arcane is the only whiskey that truly retains the essence of the craft beer, which shines with ripe, tropical flavors, notes of hops, and nutty malty aromas.
Brian Thompson, CEO, Arcane Distilling said: “Though we’ve been building our technology and establishing our meticulous process for several years now, today’s launch of our flagship whiskey, Arcane Alpha, is a real milestone. I’ve spent most of my career as a brewer and entrepreneur in the craft beer world, and to be part of the team that has brought this incredible new whiskey to market is extraordinarily gratifying. Arcane has allowed me to combine my passions for both beer and whiskey to create something wholly its own: a celebration of the great flavors of beer, elevated and amplified for an unparalleled whiskey experience.”
THE ARCANE WAY
Beer is at the core of Arcane’s process, and as such, they take great care to source specific ingredients that produce precise flavors every step of the way. The entire approach to brewing differs greatly from a traditional whiskey distiller, where the goal is often to maximize the alcohol content in their ‘distiller’s beer.’ Rather, the Arcane approach is to make the most flavorful craft beer possible to produce the most flavorful whiskey possible. Using only premium malted barley and hops – the same ingredients you would find at a craft brewery – and fermenting with a particularly flavor-forward yeast called kviek, they brew beers that not only transform into great whiskey, but also taste great on their own.
Because so many of the aromas and flavors of beer are delicate and volatile, traditional distillation would all but destroy them when boiling beer to evaporate the alcohol. Under vacuum, however, alcohol evaporates at a much lower temperature. Arcane’s custom-designed vacuum still operates at room temperature, allowing the system to preserve and collect those volatile aroma and flavor compounds. Further, Arcane’s still is equipped with three auxiliary condensers, one of which operates at -30 degrees Celsius, and is designed to capture exceptionally flavorful but extremely volatile compounds that cannot be captured in a traditional still.
Because these whiskeys are clean, vibrant, and flavorful all on their own, Arcane’s finishing process is designed to ensure those delicate malt and fruity flavors are preserved and carry through to the final product while trying to avoid barrel waste. Arcane rests in large oak foudres to add mouthfeel, color, and warm, spice notes, without overwhelming the beer flavors and aromas with too much wood character.
Arcane makes world-class whiskey in the most responsible manner possible – by focusing on energy, water, and raw material inputs. The company’s goal is to reduce these inputs by minimizing waste and creating more efficient processes without sacrificing quality or flavor. Through its highly efficient mash filter press, which separates the wort from grain solids in the brewing process and is largely unheard of within the world of distilling, Arcane uses 15% less grain than traditional whiskeys, and 30% less water. As a result, Arcane’s spent grain is also much drier following this process, requiring fewer trucks and significantly less fossil fuel to haul. Likewise, Arcane’s electric vacuum still dramatically concentrates flavors and aromas while using ⅓ of the energy of traditional distilleries, which usually rely on gas steam boilers.
Arcane Alpha, the company’s flagship whiskey, is distilled from a triple IPA loaded with bright, citrusy hops, yielding a whiskey like no other. This whiskey has the intense aromas of Cascade and Mosaic hops, balanced by light malt notes and a mild oak finish. It can be enjoyed in cocktails, or neat, preferably paired alongside your favorite IPA. Tasting notes reflect flavors of citrus, red berries, and baking spice. Arcane Alpha is bottled at 93 proof (41.5% ABV) and retails for $45.99 for 750ml. It is now available for sale at arcanedistilling.com.
Though the distillery is closed to the public, the company plans to open to the public in early 2023 following a full tasting room buildout.