A fascination with the fermentation process — that’s what got Ryan Shea thinking about the possibility of starting his own distillery on Martha’s Vineyard. Two years ago, this project started taking shape, and a year and a half ago, he started talks with his now partner, Nick Peters. The men decided it was a worthwhile project, and focused on getting all the legalities out of the way. Keeping a secret for two years on this Island sounds almost impossible to me, but they did a pretty good job of it. Just recently, they launched their social media channels, much to the public’s surprise and joy.
“Science has always been a love of mine,” Mr. Shea said. “More than science, it’s an art form, and our focus on having the best ingredients and the perfect techniques are what drive me to create a product I can be proud of.” Plenty of personal involvement, passion, and perfectionism are what move Martha’s Vineyard Distilling Co. The company will slowly roll out with a rum this summer, as well as a gin in the possible future. The testing and retesting of the recipes and process are time-consuming — and it’s something they don’t want to rush. Sure, everyone wants to get their hands on a bottle, but Mr. Shea and Mr. Peters want to ensure those bottles turn out to be some of the best booze you’ve ever tasted.
The distilling process starts with a mash, which can be made up of anything from apples to wheat, to rye, to corn. From there, the mash is mixed with water and stored in the main tanks to ferment. Once the product is fermented, it is distilled to a high ratio of alcohol to water — so high that it must be mixed with water to make it palatable. Once everything is bottled and labeled, we’ll be able to give it a taste.
For Mr. Shea and Mr. Peters, the sky’s the limit, and their focus on bringing local involvement and products into their production is what makes them unique. I look forward to seeing this brand grow and develop. Follow them on Facebook for updates on production and where you can find them.