Copper Horse Distilling brings craft spirits to Columbia - DatelineCarolina

Copper Horse Distilling brings craft spirits to Columbia

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Richard lets the grains ferment in the mash tank for a week Richard lets the grains ferment in the mash tank for a week
Richard distills 70 gallons of vodka a day. Many major vodka brands distill 70 gallons a minute. Richard distills 70 gallons of vodka a day. Many major vodka brands distill 70 gallons a minute.

 By Jacob Boland 

Tucked into an old warehouse off of Huger Street you'll find Copper Horse Distilling, Columbia's first and only legally operating liquor distillery.  

Since its opening six months ago owner Richard Baker has been crafting small batch spirits by hand using only Certified South Carolina grown grains from Columbia's historic Adluh Flour Mill. Richard does it all by himself and says it's important to use local ingredients to produce a quality product. 

"To be an artisan product, you need to source your products locally. If you're buying your product from far away you're no different than any other distillery," says Baker.

The signature spirit of Copper Horse is Old Mill Vodka, named in honor of the mill where Richard buys his grain. Richard wanted to try something different to make this vodka stand out from other similar spirits. 

"The approach we took was to not charcoal filter the vodka which really lets the natural flavors of the grains emerge," Baker says. "This gives Old Mill a much heavier nose and a different taste from other vodkas." 

Southern Living magazine recently featured Copper Horse as one of its Distillers to Know.  

In the article, local restaurant owner Kristian Niemi praises Copper Horse Distillery, particularly Old Mill.

"It has a distinct and delicious flavor, what most vodkas lack in my opinion," he said.

Baker says his distinct and delicious flavor was achieved by countless hours of mixing and distilling.

You can find Old Mill Vodka on liquor store shelves throughout the Carolinas and Georgia. Richard says he plans to expand his market this summer.

Copper Horse Distilling holds tours and tasting's on Fridays and Richard is releasing a line of cream whiskeys for the holidays in late November.

 

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