Located on 1155 Watson Way Suite 5 in Sparks, Seven Troughs Distilling manufactures handcrafted small-batch spirits using an old-fashioned 19th century fermentation and distilling process. Currently celebrating its fifth year in production, the distillery creates moonshine, vodka, rum, gin and bourbon using local grains and talent.
They openly admit that the old school distillation process is nowhere near efficient, but that it gives the company more time to focus on the quality of the spirits that it produces. Using wooden hogsheads to ferment the grains, the spirit is then distilled in a direct-fire pot still (which is pretty much an abandoned process in current times).
Like many of the state’s desolate ghost towns, the company got its name after The Seven Troughs Mining District that helped make Nevada what it is today. After gold was discovered in 1905, four mining camps soon emerged in the area and created towns around it. In the early 1900’s, almost $2 million in gold was extracted from the land before the Great Depression set in. A lot of local economies took a dive and by 1940 many mining and milling operations completely seized to exist.
A hundred years later, Seven Troughs is continuing the tradition of those who came to Nevada seeking independence and fortune through its artisan spirits- each with a special tie to the state of Nevada.
Born and raised in Reno, owner Tom Adams believes that his distilling business represents everything about his outlaw state and Nevada history has always been his passion. He has been interested in alcohol distilling practically his whole life and recent laws that have been passed have finally allowed him to create and sell the alcohol with a process that he’s been so interested in.
“I was like a moth to a flame, I’ve been into this since I was a little guy,” says Adams. “It’s all art and science- the final product is what you want it to be.”
As the first licensed distillery in the entire Great Basin to exist since 1887, Adams says that being in the business has been a long and torturous path to be able to sell directly to customers. Before the Nevada Craft Distillery bill passed in 2013, distilleries could only sell its spirits wholesale which made it hard for small batch producers to break into the market.
“Now we’re licensed to produce in the State of Nevada and we can have an interaction with the customer,” says Adams. “Some people have weird things that they like to do and this is mine.”
Plus, Seven Troughs has a customer who is a first generation Nevadan settler who helped him really dig into Nevada history.
“I think our public schools do a really great job in teaching kids what it means to be a Nevadan,” he says. “(Nevada history) is enthralling- there’s been a lot of struggle and strong characters who’ve helped us to get to where we’re at today.”
Using an old distilling process and producing in small batches definitely sets their spirits apart from mainstream whiskeys. “We’re pushing to keep the early American whisky tradition alive,” adds Adams.
Personally, Adams’ favorite spirit is the Seven Troughs straight bourbon whisky. “It has monstrous flavors and is alcoholic as hell. But it has a nice, sweet, luscious taste. You have to try it.”
“Whiskey takes only six days to make, but we age our bourbon for at least three years,” he says. “We’re trying to make a really old-fashioned, true Nevadan whiskey.”
The tasting room is open Thursdays and Fridays from 3 to 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 6.p.m. It’s also available by appointment Monday through Wednesday. Seven Troughs will also be launching Northern Nevada distillery tours with several other locations within the Reno-Sparks area.
To book a special tour, visit www.7troughsdistilling.com or call (775) 525-9350.