After speaking with Scott Blackwell and his wife Ann Marshall, it became clear that High Wire Distilling Co. revolves around heart. Heart, not just because of the co-owners' passion and love behind their soon-to-be open business, but also because heart is what they will be selling. Heart of the distillation that is.
During Holy City Sinner's tour of the King Street facility, Marshall provided a crash course on the distillation process and what patrons can expect from the business. Marshall's excitement was ever-present as she discussed the vision for the company and educated HCS on why heart is their product.
In the most basic terms, the distillation process involves boiling a fermented liquid to a point where it creates a by-product liquid consisting of three parts. These sections are called the Head, the Heart, and the Tail. The Head is disgusting-smelling (like a wet dog, Marshall says), the Tail doesn't have a very good flavor, and neither has the right mixture of water and alcohol. However, the Heart has the right balance and is the only part retained. It's the "sweet spot" according to Marshall. When you consume just about any liquor, you are drinking the Heart and that's all High Wire wants to serve you.
There is far more to the distilling process than mentioned above, including how each brand creates it's own distinctive flavor. The addition of ingredients and even the types of barrels used to store each liquor change the taste. This is where Blackwell's background will really come into play.
Blackwell, who Marshall called a "serial entrepreneur," has run many successful businesses including, most recently, a baking company he sold to General Mills. He is also a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. This history will help High Wire produce a line of liquors with it's own unique flavor combinations.
Charleston's first chance to sample these products will occur late this summer when the distillery opens for tours. High Wire will have vodka and gin available immediately upon opening, with rum and whiskey being added to their lineup later in the year.
Marshall said patrons will be able to walk the facility, view each step of the distillation process, see and smell different ingredients, and, of course, be able to purchase samples or bottles of each of their liquors. Plus, visiting High Wire shouldn't break the bank as admission is expected to be under $10.
If you'd like to sneak a peak of the building, it is located just a few steps from Butcher & Bee.