Vermont – especially over the last decade-and-a-half – has significantly grown its amount of local licensed distilleries. In fact, according to a recent article by Rebecca Sheir, 15 years ago there were only 3 and now there are approximately 25!
So when new distilleries open up it might not be so exciting without an edge. But we have news that there is a new one with an edge – as well as “manufacturing spirits [this new one is also] raising the spirits of the community [in particular its] veterans.”
Steve Gagner is the brains behind this. He utilizes an electric pump in his industrial garage to “transfer cear, strong-smelling liquid from a tank to a white-oak barrel,” thus producing up to 33 gallons for his Danger Close Draft Distilling company.
Explaining the name of the distillery he says:
“‘Danger Close’ in the military, when you’re calling for artillery, if it’s close enough to your position you tell the folks firing the artillery that these rounds are ‘danger close,’ meaning those are gonna impact very close to our position, because the enemy’s gotten in so close.”
And Gagner knows what he’s talking about since he himself is a major in the Vermont Army National Guard, and served in Iraq and Afghanistan. On his return – together with Army buddy Matt Kehaya – he established 14th Star Brewing Company. The next logical step was the distillery given that the fundamental ingredient for bourbon and whiskey is fermented beer.
But more than that, the idea is to “support their fellow veterans in a whole new way,” especially seeing how much they have witnessed the fatal impacts of PTSD.