“Why is that gin…uh… brown?” ask a lot of visitors to our tasting room. Some are intrigued; some are confused. (Some just ask for a sample of vodka instead…)

They’re asking about one of our aged gins, which might be a rich gold to a deep amber, depending upon which release we’re pouring. Each of these limited-edition gins has received its color from the barrel it was aged in.

That’s true of other kinds of spirits too. Until whiskey has aged in a barrel, it’s clear and colorless. The iconic amber color comes from the barrel, not the grain nor the distillation process. Same is true for rum and tequila. Some producers will add caramel coloring to get the amber color in spirits, but not Copperworks. We get all our color from the barrels we use.

But what’s really important is the flavor that comes from the barrel. That flavor depends on the kind of wood (i.e. French oak vs. American oak) and the barrel’s pedigree – whether it’s new, used, and what kind of liquid was in it before.

Copperworks is exploring the flavors that different barrels, with different past lives, impart to our gin. So far, we’ve released six expressions of aged gin. Currently aging in the racks is gin aging in a port barrel, in a sherry barrel and even a mezcal barrel.

Coming out this week: another release of Copperworks New Barrel Gin. It’s been aged for three months in a new, charred American Oak barrel, the same kind of barrel we use to age our single malt whiskey.