Thursday, June 23, 2011




By Doc Lawrence

AMERICUS, GA--It’s near the home of Jimmy Carter and in the same community where Habitat for Humanity was created by Millard Fuller and Reverend Clarence Jordan. Legendary Koinonia Farm is just down the road.  Americus’ spectacular Victorian Windsor Hotel, where Al Capone once blew through town and posted an armed guard at the foot of the stairs, is a short walk from Thirteenth Colony Distilleries, a new kid on the block, a Georgia business and industry original dedicated to producing craft Vodka, Corn Whiskey and Gin.

Thirteenth Colony opened here a year ago as Georgia's first operational artisinal distillery. It is a growing business closely tied to the highly important considerations of taste and likeability. Think Jack Daniel and Jim Beam, and you get the idea.


 “We’re Georgia-made and Georgia-grown,” says Lindsey Cotton, Thirteenth Colony’s marketing specialist. She sees a bright future believing they will become more prominent and popular in Georgia and Florida bars and retail stores. After a few pour from a bottle the handcrafted Vodka, Atlanta-based criminal defense lawyer Tommy Chason said, “it has a lingering finish, something deeply farm-fresh. Also, I am comfortable knowing it is made from water and grain from my state.”

hirteenth Colony, according to the owners, was founded and is rooted in the philosophy of making the finest southern style, hand-made spirits possible, the result of four friends from South Georgia, growing and distilling spirits for their friends to drink and enjoy. Everything is handcrafted in small batches and finely hand tuned for an exceptionally refreshing taste. It is also above the South's oldest and deepest aquifer.

Each bottle of Gin, Vodka and Corn Whiskey begins with water drawn from the aquifer and is naturally filtered by the limestone and dolomite created during the late Paleocene and early Miocene periods.  The naturally pure water is the taste cornerstone, a quality that harkens to days when everything consumed was made near the home.  The magic of small batch, handcrafted spirits is better appreciated knowing that, for example, the Vodka is distilled five times and carbon filtered six times.

Retired physician Gil Klemann, a partner in Thirteenth Colony, is an enthusiastic believer: “Now could be the time for craft distilleries in the industry.” After opening the distillery in 2009, the first batch called Plantation Vodka was released, followed by a “Southern series” of products, Southern Vodka, then Southern Gin followed by Southern Corn Whiskey. Klemann added that high quality standards distinguish these spirits. “The pure water in Southwest Georgia and our local farm products used in the distilling process are the best used in distilling in the country.”

The All-Georgia Gin, Vodka and Corn Whiskey experience is a welcome and popular consumer product that has the authenticity of other fabled Georgia legends like homegrown tomatoes.

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