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Side Dishes: The Alchemist taps a new market

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It’s one thing to order a nice, foamy mug of draft beer, but ask a bartender what wines she has on tap and she’ll probably look at you like you’re nuts.

Unless, that is, you’re hanging at The Alchemist Pub and Brewery in Waterbury. Owners Jennifer and John Kimmich are the proud parents of what may be the state’s very first wine-tapping system, which runs on nitrogen instead of bubble-inducing CO2.

The project was the inspiration of Shelburne Vineyard’s energetic “outreach and ideas” gal, Macy Mullican. “I think [Shelburne Vineyard’s Lakeview White] is probably the first [kegged wine] in the state, and one of just a few in the country,” she boasts.

Eco-friendliness was the rationale for putting wine in casks for local pubs. “It takes a lot of energy to recycle glass, so if we can just refill a keg, we’re saving Mother Earth,” says Mullican, who hopes that one day people will be able to fill their own jars at the vineyard, just like they do with “growlers” at microbreweries.

But that’s a project for the future. Helping pubs tap the new tech “was an easier way to go get started,” Mullican says, “And they were so behind it at the Alchemist. It’s a really great partnership.”

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