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Collaboration Makes Great Distillation

What is Collaboration?

"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much."

-Helen Keller

Knox Whiskey Works is founded upon the principal of collaboration. Working together, eleven like minded and passionate people founded Knoxville, Tennessee's first legal distillery of the modern era. From our collaboration with Riverplains Farm and Valentine Mills for our Old City Heirloom Corn Whiskey, we have learned the value of working with our fellow artisans, craftspeople and farmers. With the concept of collaboration in mind, we developed one of the best selling spirits in our tasting room: Cold City Old Brew Coffee Liqueur!

The notion to make a coffee liqueur came early in our process of establishing the distillery. Our desire was to craft a coffee liqueur unlike anything currently on the market. However, as a whole we lacked the refined knowledge of coffee and coffee brewing to yield a high quality spirit. While we knew quite a bit about making spirits, coffee was something entirely different. To this end, we contacted our friends and local coffee experts, Shaun and Meg Parrish of Old City Java and Wild Love Bakehouse.

OCJ was the coffee shop where we learned that coffee beans shouldn't be burnt on the West Coast while roasting to taste great in the cup. We're very forntunate in Knoxville right now when it comes to great coffee shops - the level of coffee knowledge and the options for GREAT coffee shops in 2016 in Downtown Knoxville is rapidly expanding.

To Collaborate is to Learn:

Through this process of collaboration, the Knox Whiskey Works Team has learned a considerable amount in regards to coffee. First and foremost, Shaun and Meg led us on a journey of properly sourcing coffee beans and coffee roasters. Our end goal was a very rich, coffee forward spirit that would naturally express milk chocolate notes, and something that would not need to be overly sweet to cover up any deficienies in coffee flavor. We wanted REAL COFFEE, no extracts, no fake chemical goop, real coffee that comes from real coffee beans. This was our introduction to Counter Culture Coffee! Counter Culture is an amazing North Carolina based coffee company that focuses on sourcing sustainably grown and harvested coffee beans with a major emphasis on coffee education and increasing coffee skills.

Once we setteld on the proper bean for our coffee liqueur: currently we use Los Rosales from the Narino Province of Columbia {from a collective of three growers - Counter Culture has cultivated a years long relationship with these growers} however due to seasonality we will be changing our bean source in the coming months - check back in and we'll let you know what we have decided, we had to learn the fundementals of properly unlocking the beautiful aromas and flavors of this bean!

Next we had to learn the basics and not so basics of brewing coffee. Our journey of crafting the BEST coffee liqueur began with hot brewing several varities of coffee. Very quickly, with the help of Shaun and Meg, we determined that the process of brewing had to change for us to develop the compelling flavors from the coffee beans we desired - and thus we landed on the Cold Brewing Process {here's a link to a cold brew process if you are interested in trying this at home, simlar to what we do - but add several more filtration steps and many, many more pounds of coffee beans!}. By cold brewing we were able to harness the true nature and flavor of the coffee bean!

And thus after months and months of studying, working, brewing coffee and tasting samples, we finally found our method, our bean, OUR COFFEE LIQUEUR! And it only happend because of a wonderful collaboration! Thank you Shaun and Meg from Old City Java and Wild Love Bakehouse and thank you to the fine folks of Counter Culture Coffee!

"Alone we are smart, together we are BRILLIANT!"

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