Conventional wisdom advises that habits are ingrained after 21 days of repetition. If that theory holds true, then the eat~play~shop local habit requires time and effort to develop. Each month I’ll share “21 Days” of some event, place or organization in the Triangle, enabling (and I mean that in the most positive sense possible) your inner Localista to come out and join us. This month it’s all about locally crafted beverages of many persuasions: beer, wine, coffee, spirits and more.
Last summer I had the chance to tour Chapel Hill’s TOPO Distillery to see first hand how their organic spirits are crafted. I had been introduced to TOPO Distillery’s vodka at the TerraVITA event in 2012, but wasn’t aware of the other spirits TOPO crafts from organic Carolina soft red winter wheat in their downtown microdistillery: an American Dry Gin and (a medal winning) White Whiskey. Thankfully, now I’m fully aware of the quality spirits TOPO Distillery produces, as well as their commitment to sourcing locally (as much as possible), creating quality beverages and maintaining focus on environmental impacts.
The tour of the Green Plus certified facility led our group through the process of turning organic wheat from Scotland Neck, NC into the spirits we would sample later (By the way, tours run most Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and you can sign up your group at the website). I have to admit that I didn’t pay close attention during the “technical” part of our tour, as I was completely distracted by the gleaming and towering copper equipment (shiny things have that effect on me). However, it’s quite evident that TOPO takes their craft very seriously and quality is a high priority.
After the tour a tasting allows one to compare TOPO spirits to comparable products. I’ve never considered myself a fan of gin but, the smooth nature and balanced botanicals of TOPO’s American Dry Gin won me over at first sip. I now consider myself converted and my liquor cabinet appropriately stocked for the upcoming Summer gin season. You’ll find TOPO spirits in most ABC stores in most NC counties (and if not found in your local store, ask them to order it), most often in the North Carolina section of the store.