Crafting A Classic

April 21, 2016

Crafting A Classic

When the owners of Durham Distillery set out to build their tasting room, aesthetics was a core component. More than just utility and functionality, they wanted the space to carry their guests away to a Mad Men-esque era. After all, when you’re distilling something as classic as gin, there’s really no other way to go about the design – it’s got to be classy. From the dark wood and amber lighting, to the font used in their logo, founders Melissa and Lee Katrincic, left no stone unturned, carefully selecting materials that would create that experience for customers whether they were there for the distillery tour or simply to hang out in the tasting room. Their attention to detail even carried through to their point-of-sale system. They wanted something that would dovetail with the design, but also be durable, versatile and mobile, and the WindFall Stand fit the bill.

The pride runs deep around the distillery, not just for their design and craft of the product, but also for their hometown – Durham, North Carolina. That was part of the impetus behind starting the business. They wanted to be a part of, and contribute to, the eclectic culture that was sprouting in Durham.

What motivated you to start your business?
We love our city (Durham, NC) and have lived there for 10 years. We have seen it rise from the ashes, so to speak, over that timeframe with a lot of great new bars, restaurants, and other businesses. So we really wanted to be a part of it and contribute to what makes Durham great.

What’s your favorite part about owning and and operating Durham Distillery?
For me, it’s satisfying to see people come in, enjoy the tour of our facility, and take a bottle of their favorite spirit home.

Do you have a customer favorite or a namesake item?
Our Conniption American Dry Gin is probably the favorite so far. Many gins are juniper forward which gives that “drinking a pine tree” taste that turn many people off to gin. We vacuum distill cucumber and honeysuckle at room temperature preserving their flavor and blend it into the gin base off of our pot still. The juniper is balanced with Indian coriander which allows the fresh cucumber and honeysuckle notes to dominate the palate. So, we have converted a lot of vodka drinkers over to this product.

How do you feel aesthetics play a role in the customer experience?
You will see from our pictures that we designed our facility to give a very classy and fresh look and feel. We spent a lot of resources on the tasting room to make it look Mad Men-esque and to make it be a place you want to hangout and taste our products. The Heckler Design stands fit right in by not standing out, and that’s a good thing.

Our mantra is “make it simple.” Do you have a way you keep it simple?
We work with the products of two great local artisans (Videri Chocolate Factory and Slingshot Coffee) to make our chocolate and coffee liqueurs. Like any good recipe, keeping it simple by using high quality, natural, and fresh ingredients is the best approach to take. We have won multiple medals for these products in national spirits competitions by using this mantra.

What’s next for your Durham Distillery?
We are a husband and wife (Melissa) team and both of us are working other jobs while running this business. The first thing would be to grow large enough so at least one of us can focus solely on the distillery. We have only been in market for about 6-7 months now and our products are essentially only in North Carolina right now. You can purchase bottles of our liquors online at provided your state allows shipment, but we are looking at finding distribution outside of North Carolina. We also have ideas for some new products to develop in the next year or two.

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