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  • Writer's pictureLorna Hamilton

The Joys Of Distilling

Photo of their bottles and logos for CY Distillery and Righand Distillery. Photo submitted

Back in the day, Brent Convey made a hooch with his dad in the basement of their home when he lived just south of Vermilion. While working in the energy industry, Convey resided in Saudi Arabia and expanded his distilling knowledge of alcohol because it was a dry country. After moving to Seguin Texas, he expanded his passion for making liquor by owning and operating CY Distillery.

“Liquor has been part of many or most of my decisions, so I thought I might as well make some money at it. A friend of mine in Alberta owns Righand Distillery and offered to partner up and expand into the USA,” commented Convey. Convey also noted that their distillery isn’t of the norm with a bar or pub attached to it; and that their goal is to produce a great whiskey, bourbon, and vodka and said, “We make liquor using all the tech from the 1960s, I’m not sure what makes it good and taste is subjective. What makes our product unique is we gather our bourbon mash grains from local farmers and use well water straight from the aquifer, and we don’t add any chemicals or other accelerants. Just mill the grains insight and good clean water. Then it comes down to running the still (named George after his grandfather) removing the heads and tails from every distillation process. We do this by taste throughout the spirit runs.”

Convey explained that the alcohol they boiled off through the condenser of the actual still is collected and they distill it multiple times depending on what they are doing to refine it more and more. Vodka is the white liquor, and anything stored in wood is whiskey. They make bourbon on an almost daily basis but are making a mash every day for one alcohol or another.

“We have to age our liquor in-house, and we also have a blended whiskey that like a Canadian Rye Whiskey, blended with rye whiskey, blended with wheat whiskey, and blended with corn whiskey. All three are whiskey but corn whiskey is bourbon,” said Convey.

CY Distilling currently produces whiskey, bourbon, and vodka, as well as an Irish crème which is the recipe of his business partner Righand Distillery. They are releasing another version which will be butter pecan in both the U.S. and in Alberta.

The owner of Righand Distillery has been a mentor for Convey, and they are using Righands bottles and logo for the three they have in production at the moment as well as their own.

The graphic which forms the CY Distillery logo is Conveys’ family brand and came from his grandfather and his family, an immigrant from Northern Ireland. The same simple cattle brand they brought with them all those years ago now adorns CY Distillery bottles, which are designed to reflect Convey’s past in the oil industry.

Convey has a working cattle farm and uses the mash produced to help supplement his herd.

“During the process, we take the grains (locally sourced) and boil them down into a mash; almost like a thick chowder. We then add yeast, though there are some mashes we don’t add the yeast, either way, you allow the fermentation process. Then we cook off the alcohol from the water, corn or barley whatever grain we are cooking with. We feed that mash (by-product) to our cattle on our farm,” commented Convey. Convey added that his cattle eat about 100 pounds of spent bourbon mash every day per animal and that the supplement feed source provides a finishing ration for their cattle every day of their lives.

“This is a full circle from the field to the flask to the plate. It creates a pretty nice dinner if you ask me. Growing up in the Preston 4H beef club and on my Mom’s family farm (Westman Farms) I learned a couple of things about raising cattle. My cattle are the fattest in Texas,” said Convey.


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