The result is a rich brown liquor that can be proofed and bottled in two weeks as opposed to the typical year or more. And, unlike many of the other traditional beer whiskeys Kyrejko has tried, this one actually smells and tastes like the beer of origin.
If there is an ulterior motive to Kyrejko’s mad science, it’s that, in addition to being delicious, cool-sounding, and quick, vacuum distillation is also good for the environment. Since he doesn’t need to heat a kettle to 200-plus degrees, the whiskey sucks up a minimal amount of energy. His custom still, made entirely from glass, is 20 feet tall, but occupies only 4-by-6 feet in the corner of the building he shares with a Brooklyn brewery. He also doesn’t need space to store barrels for years at a time. That keeps overhead low in New York, where square footage is at a premium.
“I’m able to exist in the footprint of a stack of kegs in the brewery,” says Kyrejko. “And it uses so little energy, I’m essentially using their waste.”
Up until last month, Arcane put out just seven bottles a week, serving only a few clients throughout the city. But ever the tinkerer, Kyrejko built his first production-class machine in early November, one that will increase his output 70-fold and allow him to distribute the whiskey—and its science lesson—all over the country.
“It’s hard to have a conversation about green energy,” he says. “But if you give someone a glass of whiskey and tell them this took half as much energy and half as much time, you can have that conversation without their eyes glazing over.”