Local Sourcing Can Save Money, Earn Green Points

by Robert Bell  on Monday, Jul. 26, 2010 12:00 am  

Phil Brandon, who started Rocktown Distillery, is using several Arkansas products, from the grains used in the liquor to barrels for aging and boxes for shipping.

"I talked to a guy about coriander, and it just didn't make sense for him to farm it," he said. "Some things you just can't get because of the climate or what have you. But I'm trying to do my best to get everything I can from local suppliers."

Stratton Seed Co. has so far delivered 5,000 pounds of corn and a similar amount of wheat for Rocktown, which will have the capacity to produce about 150 cases of liquor a week, Brandon said. A case of liquor is typically 12 bottles, each containing 750 milliliters.

The vodka and gin should be available in stores, restaurants and bars across Arkansas by late August, with the bourbon, which will be aged for several months in charred white oak barrels, available later, he said.

Brandon found a local source for the barrels in Gibbs Bros. Cooperage, which has been manufacturing wooden barrels in Hot Springs for more than a century. The corrugated cardboard boxes used to ship the finished product will also come from a local source, Lamb & Associates Packaging in Maumelle.

"And I'm using good Little Rock water, and natural gas," Brandon said.

The choice to use as many local products as possible was something Brandon set out to do from the beginning.

"I think it's the right thing to do and the cost isn't any higher for me and, plus, the savings in freight just really makes sense financially," he said. 



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