72 Mile Spirits Showcases ‘Spirit’ of Lake Tahoe
December 28, 2022 | Member Submitted
Originally published in the Tahoe Daily Tribune on 12/10/22. View the original article here.
Written by Madison Schultz. Photos by Rob Galloway / Tahoe Daily Tribune.
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. – The 72 miles that span around Lake Tahoe are a host to quaint mountain towns and endless outdoor recreation options, all lining the icy, crystal blue waters.
Born in the Sierra Nevada mountains and encompassing the “spirit” of Lake Tahoe, 72 Mile Spirits was founded deep in the crystal-clear waters of Lake Tahoe and built on the foundation of Tahoe’s purity and clarity, distilling all their spirits with water sourced solely from Lake Tahoe.
“It was incredibly important to us from the beginning to only distill our products with Lake Tahoe water,” Eric Roe, co-founder of 72 Mile Spirits said. “It makes everything taste cleaner, smoother, and it just made sense when building the foundation of our brand.”
Founded in 2019 by Eric, his wife Brianna Roe, and close family friends Paola and Paul Pruteanu, the group was passionate from the beginning to sacrifice it all to make quality, high-end spirits – and thus, 72 Mile Spirits was born.
“Our goal from the beginning has been to be a brand that is truly authentic to Lake Tahoe, and not just for the name of our company, but who we serve and our mission,” Eric said. “This has always been a passion of mine, we’ve looked at different avenues over the years to try and bring this dream to a reality, and we’re excited it’s finally coming to fruition.”
When initially bringing the dream together, the Roe’s and Preteanu’s wanted to start the business specifically for their signature rye whiskey. Several years in, the distillery utilizes a small batch processing technique, making each blend come out impressively clean and smooth.
“I was never a big fan of rye whiskey, and now that’s arguably the best spirit we have here,” Eric said. “Rye traditionally has a bit more of an earthier flavor, and that was never my thing. The mash and smoking process we do for our rye still provides a distinct rye flavor, but it’s not as pronounced as others on the market.”
Since opening, 72 Mile Spirits has grown their one signature whiskey into four core spirits: Desolation Rye Whiskey, Cascade Blended Bourbon, Clarity Vodka and Backcountry Gin; and two of the four core spirits are made in-house at 72 Mile Spirits’ distillery location in Reno.
“We produce our rye and our Bourbon here and source our gin and vodka from the best of the best out there,” Eric said. “The gin and vodka are produced as a ‘neutral spirit’, then we blend it, proof it, and bottle it here in-house. While the distillation doesn’t take place here it’s still produced by us.”
For the distillery’s rye and Bourbon blends, the process starts in 150-gallon batches with mashing and adding grains to the blends. The mash is then transferred to a fermentation tank, allowing time for the small batch to properly ferment. Then, the batches are distilled by transferring the fermented mash to the pot, where heat is applied. The alcohol is vaporized before the water is collected in the columns of the still, resulting in a truly small-batched spirit.
While the Roe’s and Preteanu’s worked towards bringing 72 Mile Spirits to Lake Tahoe, they harp on the distillery being family owned and operated at its core, and collaboratively work with each other to effectively grow together.
“It’s truly a family business, which makes it fun,” Brianna said. “Whether it be your life partner or business partner, all of us working together has been a great experience. We all have children of our own, but we also consider 72 Mile Spirits our shared baby, too.”
Although the distillery’s physical location is in Reno, both the Roe’s and Preteanu’s live in Incline Village, and are eager about bringing 72 Mile Spirits’ physical location up the mountain so the distillery will be a 100% Lake Tahoe operation.
72 Mile Spirits can be found dominantly in Northern Nevada in bars, restaurants, and grocery stores. According to the distillery’s website, their spirits are currently in 25 locations, but are eager to continue to expand.
“Our goal is to be all around Lake Tahoe and be a premier spirit in the Tahoe Basin,” Eric said. “We’re eager to continue to grow and excited to see what’s in store for us moving forward.”
For more information on 72 Mile Spirits, visit their website.