Field to Flask, 4th Edition

3 March 2021

Field to Flask: Fundamentals of Small Batch Distilling (4th Edition)
by Malcolm Bucholtz
Published by Wood Dragon Books
Review by Marlin Legare
$52.00 ISBN 9781989078075

Field to Flask: Fundamentals of Small Batch Distilling is an arsenal of knowledge for anyone seeking to begin or perfect the art of distilling spirits. Whether you are a DIY enthusiast looking to try a new business endeavour during the pandemic or a wide-scale distiller with years of experience in the industry, there is something for everyone to learn in this book. Published by Wood Dragon Books in Regina, SK and written by native Reginian Malcolm Bucholtz, this book is just as locally sourced as the products that have taken consultation from Bucholtz, such as Saskatchewan’s own Sperling Distillery and Doucette Distillery, just to name a couple of examples. Bucholtz is a B. Sc. and an MBA who has been crafting alcohol for over 30 years. In 2014, he went on to complete his General Certificate in Distilling from the Institute for Brewing and Distilling to fully pursue his passion for entrepreneurship and crafting quality spirits. This expertise shines through from cover to cover of this comprehensive guide, which Bucholtz distributes to budding and experienced distillers during his 5-day workshops that he conducts across the nation.

I enjoy spirits and although I have my preferences there is no form of spirit that I will not at least try. That said, I would consider myself somewhat of a philistine when it comes to craft spirit appreciation. I usually drink them with a mixer and probably could not tell the difference between the juniper and chestnut accents between various brands of gin. It was through Bucholtz and this fantastic book that I was fully able to appreciate the value and intricacies of society’s favourite intoxicant. I was most impressed by the extent of Bucholtz’s research to explain the history of spirits as a whole and the history of each individual spirits including but not limited to whiskey, vodka, gin, and rum. This penchant for scientific rigour is also applied to other facets of the distilling process such as the molecular, mechanical, physical, and biological nature of crafting spirits and various distilling techniques. The same scientific meticulousness is applied in later chapters that detail the local legalities regarding the distillation, sale, and distribution of liquor in each Canadian province and U.S. state, as well as the entrepreneurship skills and consumer psychology that goes into running a successful distillery. As I read this book, I could not help but think that a historian, a mechanic, a business person, a lawyer, and a microbiologist could all read this book and get the same amount of enjoyment out of it.

The demand for locally crafted products is a prevalent trend with those who enjoy spirits; big brand liquors are beginning to be replaced at home bars for their locally crafted counterparts. People now enjoy locally made spirits from locally sourced ingredients, smaller yet more individualistic brands, and bottles that act as both fluid receptacles and conversation pieces. This book is a must for the distiller in your life looking to get a piece of that pie.

(Editor’s Note: Look for an updated 5th edition of Field to Flask in summer 2021, with up to date information about government regulations and more)


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