NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

July 4, 2014

Building a new dream

After return from Iraq, Seabrook vet opens micro-distillery

(Continued)

When it came to installation, he knew exactly who to call: his dad and uncle, retired pipefitters who worked on the construction of the Seabrook nuclear power plant.

“I had retired to Arizona when I got this call from Kevin telling me he was going to open a distillery,” Frank Kurland said.

His son laughs, remembering the conversation.

“There was this silence on the phone when I told him,” Kurland said. “But he and my uncle came.”

For months, the family of veterans worked, building day and night.

Then it was finally time to make some vodka. Kurland uses organic corn from Maine and spring water he gets from the Chamberlain family-owned company in Alton, N.H. On a production day, he’s at the distillery from 6 a.m. to midnight, six days in a row.

He tossed his first batch of vodka that didn’t measure up, he said, but the second batch of Solid Granite Vodka was perfect.

“People say it’s delicious,” he said. “We’ve had very good responses from people who’ve tasted it.”

To be listed with the New Hampshire Liquor Commission, Kurland had to provide a lot of information and four samples of his product.

“They liked it, all their tasters approved,” Kurland said. “We’ll be on the shelves at the state liquor stores soon. The people at the commission were helpful; it was good working with them.”

His soft opening was on May 23, and he’s open daily from noon to 8 p.m., with a grand opening planned for July 26.

Vodka isn’t the only liquor in the Smoky Quartz arsenal. Coming soon is Granite Lightning, a corn-based moonshine, and Kurland hopes to have a light gin ready by fall. On the horizon are liquors that require some aging, such as whiskey and bourbon.

By the end of the year, Kurland hopes to hire two to three employees. Social media has helped promote his company so far, he said, but he’s planning to get out and market his product personally, with ideas like vodka dinners and tastings at regional restaurants.

“Whenever you start a business, you’re your own biggest fan,” Kurland said.

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