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Tractor Brewing to begin distilling vodka, gin, whiskey

Tractor Brewing Co. is venturing into the world of spirits.

The brewery recently obtained its distilling license and has big plans to make vodka, gin and whiskey. Tractor’s Wells Park location will be a place where you can get a cocktail, beer or cider. Bottle sales of Tractor’s spirits also will begin slowly at Wells Park.

Server Lara Sullivan sets up for Gin & Jazz at Tractor Brewing Co.’s Wells Park location. (SOURCE: Jeremy Kinter)

“My origin is someone who started at home as a homebrewer,” said David Hargis, Tractor’s head brewer. “I had a lot of interest in distilling for years and years; we won’t say how many years, but a long time ago, and kind of part of my teaching myself the process of fermentation and yeast and making beer had to do with distilling; so after I started with Tractor in 2010; I really hoped to circle back to that at some point.”

Tractor Brewing has had a lot happening since it moved to Albuquerque in 2014 from Los Lunas.

“Once we moved to Albuquerque; we started talking about it in 2014; and just the move and growth that we experienced at that time didn’t give us the extra time to put that together,” Hargis explained. “But now that we’ve kind of got all the right personnel in the right place, we thought it was time to go down the avenue and diversify our company a little bit more in the world of craft. This year, we got our license about a month ago, and so now we’re pretty excited. Long term, we’re putting together some really good American whiskey, so we will be barrel-aging, and that will take time, so that won’t be something we will be sharing right away.”

Given that Tractor already had most of the equipment it needed, it was not a big transition to begin distilling.

“The long-term vision is to produce a really good whiskey,” Hargis said. “But we will have (vodka) coming out very soon. … That’s a clear ethanol distillation beverage that needs no aging. We should have that within two to four weeks probably.”

Tractor also plans to experiment with botanicals and create different types of gin. Hargis hopes to have a Tractor gin available in a couple months.

“The fun thing about gin is, to make an analogy to how popular IPA is in the country and especially here in Albuquerque, we’re going to get to work with botanicals, possibly even hops, to add to the gin,” Hargis said. “It will be a journey to experiment with endless numbers of juniper, sage, orrisroot, and coming up with a combination that we think would fit the palate very well for customers here in New Mexico.”

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