From the streets of Madison's farmer's markets to the shores of Lake Superior, Yahara Bay searches the State to find the very best grains, fruits, and herbs cultivated by local growers to make the base for their premium spirits. Their apple brandy is made from hand-picked Honeycrisp apples from the Kickapoo Orchard in Gays Mills, WI. Their cherry brandy is made with Montmorency tart cherries grown in Door County, WI, and the coffee used in their coffee liqueur is from True Coffee, a local roaster just down the street from the distillery. By knowing the farmers who grow the grains, fruit and herbs used in their spirits, Yahara Bay is more easily able to control quality and celebrate all this great state has to offer, while at the same time demonstrating their support of other local businesses in the area.
Each and every bottle Yahara Bay produces is delicately crafted in small batches in 1, 90-gallon copper pot still, named “CARL”. Arriving from Germany in hundreds of small parts, “CARL” was painstakingly assembled piece by piece and sits center stage in the distilling process. Customized with a vapor infuser, CARL allows YB to impart subtle yet distinct flavors into the spirits without boiling the aromatics directly in the liquids, which can cause a harsh, bitter taste on the tongue. The colors you see in Yahara Bay’s spirits come from spending time in the barrel, from the fruit itself or are from the all natural peppers or coffee/tea they use. No artificial flavorings or additives are blended in, so what you get is a crisp, clean, and natural flavor with each and every sip.
Refining the Spirit
From each distilled batch, the “heads” and the “tails" are removed, leaving only the “heart” of the product to be bottled. The “heart” contains the highest levels of purity of the spirit, which not only taste better, but helps you avoid impurity induced headaches, aka hangovers.
After refining and filtering, each batch creates enough liquor for approximately 600, 750 ml bottles. Some spirits are bottled immediately, some sit for a few weeks with the fruits or teas to absorb natural flavors, while others are aged in American Southern white oak barrels to be enjoyed years later when it reaches it peak flavor.
Head Distiller Lars Forde: “We are part scientists, part artists, but wholeheartedly, spirit aficionados. We hope you enjoy drinking our spirits as much as we enjoy making them.