Will work for booze

Downstairs in Montgomery Distillery, just beyond a stack of more than two-dozen barrels of whiskey that no one will taste for a couple more years, Evan Holmstrom leads a gang of volunteers to a "bottling party" for the company's latest batch of Quicksilver Vodka.

"Who knows how best to empty the filter cylinder?" Holmstrom asks the group. "You got it down pretty well, right Justin?"

For the last few months, Montgomery has been signing up volunteers every Saturday through its website to bottle, label and package new batches of vodka and gin in exchange for merchandise or a coveted bottle of booze.

The process begins at a stainless steel tank filled with nearly 700 liters of vodka, which is pumped through a strainer to clear out impurities like dust particles or the occasional fruit fly. A volunteer then takes one of the distillery's original bottles shipped from China and air blasts the inside clean before filling it up.

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JoJo Snyder waits for the freshly filled bottle to slide her way for corking and slaps a shiny new Quicksilver label across the front of it. It is her second time volunteering in Montgomery's basement operation.

"I think it's awesome," Snyder says.

From there the bottle gets passed down to another volunteer who affixes the rear label, and then to someone else who delicately places the sealing sticker over the cork. Justin Urbantas inks the vodka's batch number24on the seal with a sharpie.

"I got a bottle of vodka last weekend just so I could make martinis and stuff," Urbantas says.

The bottles are then boxed up and stacked on a pallet. The first 30 are pulled aside to be shipped to liquor stores statewide, and 50 more cases go toward Montgomery's house supply. By 4 p.m. Mike Lattanzio is hauling cases upstairs to fill the bar's dwindling stash.

"We only have two or three bottles left," he tells Homlstrom.

According to Montgomery Distillery's website, the next five bottling parties are already filled up.


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