East Northport resident John Pawluk said his journey into the distillery business began with research that immediately “bit him,” he said.
And once “bitten by the bug”, as he described, the itch to learn more just kept growing.
“You go a little deeper and before you know it, it evolved into something full time,” Pawluk said. “You research something, you fall in love with it, then the deeper you get, the deeper you fall.”
Pawluk started thinking of obtaining a 50-gallon still back in 2019 and fast-forward two years later, he now has 2,000-liter and 5,000-liter stills for his business Twisted Cow Distillery.
Located in the Hewitt Square shopping center (13 Hewitt Square in East Northport), Pawluk is transforming a former Four Star Home and Variety store into a tasting room and distillery, where patrons can grab a drink, a flight at the bar or take home some premium spirits to go.
Pawluk mentioned PSEG Long Island awarded him a Main Street Revitalization Grant to use toward his project.
The distiller said he wants to create an interactive experience for customers, including offering classes and hosting “make your own gin” parties for special occasions.
The space also includes an area where Pawluk said he gets to “play mad scientist.”
He added what makes Twisted Cow unique from other distilleries is his different approach to the distilling process.
“My motto is ‘Technology distilling tradition.’ When you distill, you remove what you want from something, so my equipment reverse-engineered the process — the chemistry and physics of distillation — to meet what you want to do,” Pawluk said.
Twisted Cow Distillery will offer a variety of spirits, including vodka, gin, rum, and agaves — some aged and some unaged.
The distiller also plans to experiment with bourbon, rye, single malt and more.
“Everything is local,” Pawluk said. “All my grain comes from Sagaponack — all-natural, heirloom grains.”
In terms of opening, if all goes according to plan, Pawluk said he is aiming to open Twisted Cow’s doors in early June.
He said building up an inventory takes time, but what he is going to offer is “super custom.”
For example, he said his gin is made in small batches once a week, while his vodka inventory takes about six weeks to make.
“I’ll do things like absinthe, no one does absinthe around here, and a fennel-based drink, which is basically like a Sambuca, but not as sweet or syrupy, and based on vodka,” Pawluk said. “We’ll play with anything.”
Twisted Cow will not make their own food, but Pawluk said he wants to partner with local restaurants to create a to-go system, offering delivery of their food items to the distillery or provide catering.
Pawluk said the neighborhood has been very welcoming and once operations are in full swing, he thinks it’s going “to be a lot of fun.”
“What’s cool is if you make a mistake, you can play around with it, things evolve,” Pawluk said. “This is the most creative, collaborative experience I’ve ever had — nothing comes close to it.”
Continue to follow greaterhuntington.com for updates on Twisted Cow Distillery.