Still Shining

Still Shining

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10 Torr Distilling & Brewing Co. blends art, craft, and technology for award-winning results.

Andrea Latos is a spirited young woman, in every sense of the word. That includes her fascination with and love for spirits — the alcoholic kind. Drinking them, for sure, but especially making them.

Fittingly, this fearless pioneer in the male-dominated field of brewing and distilling happens to hold the perfect job: head brewer and distiller for Reno’s fast-emerging leader in craft spirit production, 10 Torr Distilling & Brewing Co.

In business just four years, 10 Torr already boasts 11 regional, national, and international awards for its spirits, including being named as one of USA Today’s 10 Best Craft Distilleries, in the craft gin and specialty spirits categories.

Fresh Flavor

Latos largely credits the outstanding quality of 10 Torr’s spirits to a unique, proprietary vacuum-distilling process. Designed and fabricated exclusively for 10 Torr by engineers at the distillery’s parent company, Encore Design & Construction Inc., this equipment uses extremely low atmospheric pressure, rather than heat, to distill the spirits. 10 Torr is the only distillery in the country and one of only a small handful, worldwide, to utilize vacuum distillation.

“Not heating the ingredients allows the flavors to really shine through,” Latos says. “It eliminates the harsh chemical side effects of heat and creates a smoother, cleaner, fresher tasting beverage.”

This highly technical machinery is an important part of the success equation, but Latos is quick to point out that there is another key element. Everything at 10 Torr, from spirits to brews, is made with 100 percent natural, fresh ingredients. And whether that includes fruit, grain, or herbs, it’s a hands-on process for this small, dedicated staff.

“We remove the herb leaves by hand; slice the lemons, limes, and cucumbers; and even prep the habaneros and jalapeños,” Latos says, then adds with a laugh, “We pretty much have to evacuate the building when we clean the equipment after the peppers!”

Better Beer

The production area, located in 10 Torr’s Mill Street facility in Reno, houses 15 voluminous metal tanks of various sizes and shapes, specially designed to create a variety of libations. While the vacuum-distilled spirits are the stars, many exceptional products also emerge from the brewery portion of the space.

An Encore custom-built centrifuge is used to clarify the beer, protecting the natural flavors and aromas while eliminating the need to add chemical fining agents. Combining that technology with Latos’ creative brewing skills yields extraordinary, flavorful varieties such as the popular Secret Cove Cerveza, a Mexican-style lager, and Misfit, a mocha milk stout.

Taproom Time

10 Torr’s facility also offers a welcoming environment for thirsty customers. The 1940s building that houses it all has been beautifully remodeled. The taproom features exposed brick walls and vaulted open ceilings, imparting an impressive, rustic/modern industrial vibe.

Bar and beverage manager Annalisa Suarez is the master of the taproom domain. Along with her bartending staff, Suarez keeps the drinks flowing and the mood low key and friendly.

An extensive menu of custom crafted beverages tempts the palates of eager customers — offering a selection of 14 to 20 different brews on tap, as well as an assortment of distinctive cocktails, made with the distillery’s award-winning spirits.

If you prefer, step outside and enjoy the balmy summer evening on the covered patio, with its own outdoor bar. For extra fun, shuffleboard, darts, and cornhole are available. And on Friday and Saturday evenings, a variety of food trucks provides tasty fare to accompany your liquid libations.

Can Do!

Yes, 10 Torr can — can its products, that is. At first, only select brews were canned, but in 2018, the company launched its first canned cocktail, Lavender Lemonade, made with fresh lemons, natural lavender, and 10 Torr vacuum-distilled vodka. The lightly carbonated beverage was an immediate hit and won the silver medal at the 2020 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. It still ranks as the business’ top seller.

Since then, the team has created several more flavors. Some, such as Lavender Lemonade and grapefruit-infused Greyhound Soda, are available year round. Others, such as the spicy bar favorite Amantes Picantes and refreshing Cucumber Cooler, are available on a seasonal basis.

Creating a truly top-notch, bar-worthy cocktail that comes in a can took the canned cocktail industry, and 10 Torr’s business, to a whole new level. In the short term, canning kept the company viable through the pandemic shutdown. In the long term, it changed the trajectory of the business. 10 Torr’s canned cocktails now are the superstars, selling four times more than anything else it makes.

“Canned cocktails are huge right now,” Suarez says. “In the seltzer game … we beat a lot of the competitors, so things are looking great!”

Reno writer Barbara Twitchell enjoyed sampling the Lavender Lemonade so much that she’s already planning a return visit to indulge in a few other varieties … purely in the interest of research, of course.

Resources

10 Torr products are available for purchase at more than 300 retail outlets throughout Nevada and Northern California. For details, visit 10torr.com.

Reno writer Barbara Twitchell employs reusable bags every time she shops. After researching this story and reading Harris’ book, she has discovered many more plastic-free practices she is excited to adopt!

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316 California Ave., No. 258,
Reno, NV 89509.
(775) 746 3299

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Discover new products, thriving traditions, or exciting food events, festivals, restaurants, and markets – all of the things that are helping to make us a true culinary destination.