It’s true that Durham is where great things happen. Great food, great beer, great art, and so many more things that the list could get obnoxiously long. However, one thing that Durham does not have is great liquor. Yet.
Domino, meet finger.
Coming soon, The Brothers Vilgalys Baltic-Style Spirits will be bottling a product called krupnikas, a Lithuanian honey and spice liquor. While there are many variations of this in the world, Rimas Vilgalys thinks his balanced and complex rendition will be popular when folks get to taste it. “There’s a lot to like in this drink — it’s strong, but also very sweet and smooth going down, without any alcohol ‘bite’ to speak of. After a sip, the spices come to life and linger as the drink leaves a gentle and warm burn behind. It has enough complexity, sweetness, and smoothness that almost anyone can enjoy it,” he says.
Still in the early stages of development, but at least now with a home on Ramseur Street to begin producing this beverage, the company is still procuring permits (they’re close, Vilgalys says) and has a great vision that puts the company well in line with Durham’s values. Local sourcing, sustainability at every turn, and carbon neutrality are all part of the grand scheme.
Durham is just the right place to launch this business, according to Vilgalys. “I really think that Durham is the perfect place for Brothers Vilgalys. I’ve been very impressed with how much the downtown area has changed since growing up here. The atmosphere in Durham is hugely supportive towards small start-ups like this, and there’s a lot of success stories that I draw inspiration from. The Durham business owners I’ve spoken to have been enormously helpful and supportive, as have the local officials that I’ve dealt with so far.”
Until they start making their own alcohol, they won’t technically be a distillery, but that will hopefully come soon, according to Vilgaly. To help with funding, the company has formed the Founders Club for those who want to support the effort monetarily. Another form of support is the interest and ear of the public. To that end, in addition to the website, they have a blog and a Facebook page whereon updates will be placed.