A disposable world just won’t do.

— Christopher Bently, Founder

We Explore

Our estate journey begins in the Bently Heritage backyard: the peaks, valleys, and plains of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Owner Christopher Bently, Master Distiller John Jeffery, and Distiller Ryan Quinlan have extensively explored the Sierras and its surroundings, foraging and experiencing the sensory worlds of each local ecosystem.

Our first fully-forged expression was conceived from the scent of resin in the air emanating from the piñyon pine forests behind Bently Ranch. The final result of this inspiration is our Alpine Gin, which combines our Atrium gin with a distillate made from piñyon pinecones hand-collected in those same high-altitude forests. Getting from inspiration to end product, however, is an extensive process.

We Innovate

Back at the distillery complex was a special building called the Incubator. In this building we ran R&D on our equipment for two and a half years, starting well before the distilling campus was built in its current location.

The Incubator has since been repurposed into a rickhouse, holding the many barrels of whisky, which will spend up to a decade aging before being released for bottling. Many of the whisky barrels living here are the product of the development that we did here in the original facility.

We Appreciate

As an estate distillery, we grow almost every ingredient ourselves at Bently Ranch, the farm owned and operated by Christopher Bently. This means that we’re not just distilling spirits, but cultivating grains that thrive in a high desert climate to match the taste profile we envision. These grains include white winter wheat, hulless oats, copeland and metcalfe barley, and winter rye. Our Maltster has also collected over thirty varieties of corn; we’ll be growing these in test plots with the aim of making bourbon from heirloom Earth Tone corn.

a field in the high desert

After the grains and botanicals are harvested, they are transported across the Carson Valley to the distillery. The distillery itself is housed in two historic complexes that were lovingly refurbished to LEED gold sustainable standards.

When we bring malted barley into the Mill Building, the first steps are mashing and fermentation. Mashing is done on our beautifully-engineered Briggs mash tun. After this, the wort goes to American-made oak fermenters for the yeast to do their fine work in our 2,500 gallon Foedercraft fermenters, made in St Louis.

While the creative process involves chemistry, science doesn’t tell the full story: the creative process is one of trial and error. After hours of macerating grains, infusing herbs, and fine-tuning mash bills, private tastings and nosings are conducted with the team and company owners. After workshopping the spirits, the formula goes back to the lab where the process of refinement begins again. Only after many revisions is a product perfected and brought to production. In select circumstances, small batches of forage-based, one-of-a-kind distillates are selected to be made available in our tasting room.

Next comes the still. The wash still is used for first distillation, concentrating the alcohol and aromatics while the spirit still refines the aromatic profile in the second distillation. Our Forsyths stills were imported from Scotland, and are used to make our whiskies and brandies. The artisans who made these stills have been crafting them for over a hundred and fifty years. While many elements of their design have remained traditional, their shapes have been customized to suit the product. We make best use of traditional techniques and equipment wherever we can, but employ modern adaptations where we feel necessary. This is our path to achieving the best of all worlds.

Vodka, gin, liqueurs, bourbon, rye, and wheat whiskies are made on a combination of American and German stills. Our American still is a continuous-column Headframe made in Butte Montana by Headframe manufacturing; it is a state-of-the-art system that was the first of this size made by the company. The Headframe is used for all first distillations for all products in the Creamery. It has been engineered to allow us to produce finished whisky in one pass through the use of a second column, which can be activated to make subtle cuts in the product during this single run.

Second distillations take place on our Christian Carl still, a German hybrid that can be used to make many styles of spirit. This still will do second and third distillations—called “finishing runs.” Like our Scottish stills, the craftsmen behind this still have been manufacturing distilling equipment for over 150 years.

learn about our distillery

While the stills may be brought in from near and far, the soul of our spirit is the water under our feet—it comes straight from the bedrock under our hometown of Minden. Hundreds of feet below the surface is an ancient aquifer which is continually replenished by mountain snow melt. This water is pumped into the distillery from the historic Well One; this well was first put into operation in 1907 and is now used exclusively in our spirit-making process.

Almost every ingredient in our products, from the grain to our water, is cultivated here in the valley, the place we call home. The final products are estate-made spirits that could only be made in one place on the planet: right here in Carson Valley.

Visit us in Minden, Nevada