That’s the spirit!
Local makers of craft whiskey and rum, White Dog Distilling opens Pawtucket facility
PAWTUCKET – While Pawtucket may be known as the hub of craft brewing in Rhode Island, Carlo Catucci and the team at White Dog Distilling are bringing their own style of alcohol to the city.
White Dog Distilling, at 560 Mineral Spring Ave., was welcomed to the city’s small business community with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday afternoon. While their product is different than the craft beers seen at Pawtucket’s various breweries, the beverages born out of the still will emanate from the same space that previously produced Bucket Brewery and Crooked Current Brewery before each expanded.
Co-owner Alecia Catucci explained that they were encouraged to enter the craft beverage scene thanks to the former owners of the 375-square-foot space at the Lorraine Mills: Crooked Current Brewery. She said the brewery’s owners made her and her husband Carlo aware of the vacant room in the converted mill, and not long after that, they were considering moving their home distillery out into the public.
The home distilling started as a hobby about five years ago, but it quickly grew into a passion, Carlo said.
“People like making their own wine
or beer, but I was more into distilling. I made my own bourbon and rum at home,” Carlo said. Available for purchase at White Dog will be their own corn whiskey, gin, white rum, and candy apple moonshine. The name of the business, “White Dog,” is slang for moonshine.
“Obviously it’s very exciting and rewarding. It’s been two years this August since we signed the lease,” he said. “It took a lot of work to build it all and we’re very excited to be open. We want to share with the public.”
“One of the things that attracted us to this space was how ready it is for a small business,” he later said. “It was very attractive to us. We don’t have to build out too much and it’s very beneficial
to start a business here.”
White Dog has three 65-gallon fermenters and a 55-gallon modular still nicknamed “Scratch,” as everything they make comes from scratch, Carlo has said.
Alecia said White Dog has four employees, all of whom are co-owners at the distillery – herself, Carlo, Eric Sylvestre and Vincent Greene.
She said that the hope is to see the business thrive and grow, but they don’t want to leave the space inside the mill any time in the immediate future.
“The idea is to get it started and master it … We like the experience here at the mill,” she said. “We’ll see what the future tells us, but it told us to land here.”
In addition to distilled beverages, available on Tuesday were snacks made from the corn and spent greens used to make the drinks. Among the treats included rum raisin chocolate chip cookies, key lime gin cupcakes, and banana bread pudding with whiskey-soaked raisins.
White Dog was welcomed to Pawtucket on Tuesday during a ceremony with Mayor Donald R. Grebien, Northern
Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce president and chief executive officer John Gregory, Chamber senior vice president Paul Ouellette, and Amit Basnet and Edward Huttenhower of the University of Rhode Island’s Office of Small Business Development.
“The city welcomes White Dog Distilling to the craft brew capital of Rhode Island, where creativity and passion are not limited to just the arts,” Grebien said. “They are joining a bustling area at 560 Mineral Spring (Ave.) with a theatre company, comedy and improv theatre, a brewery and more.”
“Pawtucket continues to show that they are a city that embraces businesses from entrepreneurs to signature companies. The Chamber is pleased that they had a chance to work with the city in turning Carlo Catucci’s hobby into a business,” Gregory said.
White Dog will officially be open for business from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday. Carlo joked that he’s “nervous and excited” for the grand opening, saying “the public is probably more excited than us!”