A special single barrel rum distillery, Desert Diamond Distillery in Kingman, AZ is 100% family owned and operated. Not only are they craft-certified, but Desert Diamond is also self-sufficient, handling every step of the production, from distilling to bottling to labeling.
To understand what it means to handle all aspects of production, we talked to John Patt, owner, and distiller at Desert Diamond Distillery.
CRUSHBREW: Can you tell us a bit about your background in the distilling industry? How/when did you get started and when/how did you get involved with Desert Diamond Distillery?
JOHN PATT: We started many years ago in North Carolina growing grapes. Our interests were to start a winery, which fell a little short of fruition. When we moved out west, some 16 years ago, we still had aspirations of starting a winery, but this never did materialize. About 13 years ago, my wife had this crazy idea about participating in a distilling workshop.
It was almost instant that we fell in love with the concept. We broke ground on our facility here in Kingman in early 2009 and opened the doors to the public in April of 2010. We were not the first craft distillery in Arizona, but as time and struggles would have it, we have now inherited the status of oldest active craft distillery in Arizona. It has been a long hard road, but we finally see our fledgling industry start to take shape in the state. We now have about a dozen active distilleries in the state, and consumers that know what a craft distillery is.
CRUSHBREW: You are one of the very few distilleries in Arizona that are open to the public. Can you tell us a bit about your tasting bar, your tours and why you decided to let people get up-close-and-personal with the distilling process?
JP: There are a lot of similarities between craft distilleries and wineries. One of the big ones is the need to introduce consumers to your story and products. The best way for small establishments to do this is to open up your facility to the public and let them see what it is you are doing, and why they should fell like being a part of our excitement.
We offer tastings, cocktails, tours, and, of course, you can take a bottle home. We are distributed throughout the state of Arizona and southern Nevada.
C: The rums and vodka you produce are all certified by the American Distilling Institute. Can you tell our readers what that means?
JP: ADI (American Distilling Institute) saw a need in the industry to identify spirits that were completely manufactured within the premises. We manufacture all of our spirits in the house. I always say the only thing we can’t do is grow cane, we raise cane.
C: Your award-winning Gold Miner Agave Rum is a one-of-a-kind production with lots of delicate touches. What exactly makes it so special?
JP: We started with a few basic premises. One, we wanted to create rums with a unique flavor profile. We make rum in Arizona, not the Caribbean. Second, we wanted to make rum that says southwest. Close your eyes and see our Gold Miner Agave Flavored rum. Our last premise was to create rums ten, fifteen years old that will compete with all types of spirits.
We will have our first five-year-old spirits starting in January, and we are very excited about where this barrel program is taking us. The barrel reserve has rewarded us with two gold and one silver medal in the last three years. The barrel reserve is a combination of our rum, climate, and new barrels. We are the Miner, not the pirate.
C: What other drinks you produce and why did you go with those choices?
JP: The sky is the limit, I believe, on making cocktails with the Agave Rum. We do everything from rum Margaritas to drinks with hot teas and coffees. We even do a simple party tray, consisting of a bowl of Agave Rum and pineapple on a stick.
C: What’s next for DDD? Any new products under development or things to look forward to?
JP: There are several big additions we are hoping to announce this year, but it is too early yet. We must all stay tuned. For now, though, visit us at our first remote tasting room in Cottonwood or stop by the Distillery in Kingman, and let the spirits move you.