The Spirit Guild’s newer distillery neighbor is Loft & Bear, a startup by Paul Ryan Elliott that hit the neighborhood in 2014. In just a few years, the company has outgrown its 1,400 square foot headquarters and will be expanding to one with 10,000 square feet of vodka distilling potential.
Elliott decided to start a vodka company because it was the spirit he preferred drinking.
“We were selling from the trunks of our cars,” said Loft & Bear’s director of business development and hospitality Karl Steuck of the early days. “It was definitely a hard sell.”
“You get a little butter, lemon, vanilla,” Steuck said. “It has a creamier mouthfeel. It sounds weird but it’s almost like a creamy chardonnay.”
Like The Spirit Guild, Loft & Bear aimed to make a vodka that challenged the spirit’s literal definition.
“Vodka even by definition, by the Food and Drug Administration, is characterless,” Steuck said. “We make vodka with character. We don’t strip it away.”