Next Century Spirits, an advanced technology company that specializes in the creation and processing of distilled spirits and wine for private label, bulk, and craft markets, announced today the scaling of its Durham, NC production facility to 1,000 proof gallons per day.
Established less than one year ago, Next Century produces oak-matured, high-quality spirits in hours rather than years. The company’s patented process employs 80-95% less wood than conventional processes, eliminates the “angel’s share,” and uses equipment that is highly scalable.
Worldwide, demand for spirits is growing. According to the Distilled Spirits Council, U.S. American whiskey consumption amounted to over $3.4 billion in revenue for distillers in 2018, and U.S. whiskey exports to the U.K. more than doubled between 2008 and 2018. Other spirits such as rum and gin are experiencing similar growth. Demand for craft spirits is rising as well, in parallel with craft brewing, as consumers seek an ever-wider range of custom aromas and flavors.
To meet this demand, Next Century’s new technology initiates processes that more closely match all the major, natural phases that occur in traditional spirits maturation: absorption of wood flavors, filtering and extraction, removal of undesirable elements and refining of flavors. This technology allows the distiller to impart new and unique finishes to their products.
“The chemical reactions that occur during spirits maturation – from direct extraction to decomposition of wood macromolecules and evaporation of volatile compounds – are incredibly complex,” says Scott Bolin, CEO of Next Century Spirits.
“Reproducing these processes more efficiently while maintaining quality is a huge challenge in the industry. We are fortunate to have a team in place whose depth of experience meets the breadth of this challenge.”
Led by Scott Bolin, a member of the Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network, the Next Century team includes Jay Cumminswhose 35-year industry career spans leadership roles in technology, alcoholic beverage, and distribution sectors. Leading innovation is Joel Pawlak, an NC State University Associate Professor of Forest Biomaterials, whose research interests include enzymatic manipulation of material structure, and natural nano-scale fiber composites. Rounding out the leadership team is Nick Scarff, Head Blender, who has earned over two dozen medals in international tasting competitions, and has consulted with distilleries and brands around the United States.
Brands employing Next Century’s technology include Creek Water, a 100-proof American Whiskey launched by award-winning recording artist Yelawolf. The brand, with a distinctive flavor — slightly charred with spicy hints of cinnamon, traditional oak, and an aroma of tobacco — has scaled rapidly since its April 2018 launch, with more than 5,000 cases produced, and distribution to 19 states across the country.
“One of the most compelling aspects of this technology is its scalability. While increasing our production from small-scale units to full production units, we have been able to drop capital costs by more than 90% on a proof gallon basis,” says Professor Joel Pawlak. “The high throughput of the technology greatly streamlines supply chain management of distilled spirits. This is a major benefit to small brand and private label customers seeking to rapidly grow their business.”
“In addition, our ability to co-locate this technology, to easily integrate it into existing distillery facilities anywhere in the world, is of great interest to established brands.”