Today’s spotlight is on the local microdistillery, Boyd & Blair.
Boyd & Blair, based out of Glenshaw in the Old Glenshaw Glass Factory, has been in business since 2008. At that time, microbreweries were all the rage, but there were few craft distilleries. When we first opened, we were the 2nd in PA since prohibition and the 34th in the country. Now there are thousands across the USA.
The Boyd & Blair team, including our event manager and retail sales/brand ambassadors, is built of local talent. Our founder and master distiller, Barry Young, who has a degree in pharmacy, cites his love of chemistry, an entrepreneurial spirit, and a visit to the Jack Daniels Distillery as his inspiration to start the company. His wife, Jennifer Young, is the force behind branding and marketing.
Rather than use the more common grain or wheat, Barry wanted to use potatoes as they give a smoother mouthfeel and sweeter flavor. This and the fact that PA ranks as the 6th largest grower of potatoes in the USA confirmed the decision. All potatoes that go into Boyd & Blair are from Masser Farm in PA.
There are three parts to distilling vodka: heads, hearts, and tails. Like whiskey, the heads get dumped, and the hearts? That’s where the magic is. They’re the sweetest, purest, most delicious part of the vodka. The tails are where the batch starts to degrade and make your taste buds cringe. Those bad-tasting tails? We dump those down the drain, too. While other vodka distillers may mix those tails back into the hearts, then distill the batch several more times to scrub some of the impurities and bad taste and create more (lower quality) yield. So if you ever hear a vodka say it’s “5 to 7 times distilled,” now you know why. Barry never understood why anyone would want to put something back into a product that would degrade the flavor profile, so he doesn’t. At Pennsylvania Pure Distilleries, we only bottle the hearts and never the tails, which leads to smaller batches that create a final product that pays respect and homage to the quality ingredients and time spent to craft our award-winning vodka rated 5-star.
We craft our rum using an unconventional distillation process created by our Master Distiller. During this unique mash method, the molasses is gently stirred and heated but not cooked or rushed to prevent scorching and a burnt-tasting spirit. To thin the molasses out, we use warm water that has been recycled from the cooling process of our still to thin the molasses out. The process is longer; however, it yields a more quality spirit resulting in our 5-star silver rum.
In addition to our award-winning Boyd And Blair Potato Vodka and BLY Silver rum, we produce an assortment of ready-to-serve cocktails made with real ingredients, including lavender florets, house-brewed teas, and real juices. Our ready-to-serve cocktails are made without artificial flavors, sweeteners, colors, or additives and are gluten-free, like our vodka and rum, and proofed as a proper cocktail you would order at a bar (ABV ranging from 15-20%).
This season is Boyd and Blair’s first at the Bellevue Farmers Market. At the market, you will normally find our fearless leader and Event Manager, Nicholas Wilcox, who also is a high school hockey coach in his free time (Go Butler Golden Tornadoes!). When Nicholas is unavailable, you will find others from our amazing and friendly team of retail/brand ambassadors who are always ready to offer samples and help you with anything you may need.
Check out Boyd & Blair on Instagram/Facebook @boydandblair and their website www.boydandblair.com.