It Takes a Millennial—or Two: The Art of Distilling at Still the One Distillery Two
A mutual friend introduced Tyler LaCorata, former chef to Governor Andrew Cuomo, and Ryan Sadis, former production assistant for Paramount, while LaCorata was distilling at Long Island Sprits and while Sadis was bidding his time as an electrician. The guys hit it off immediately and got together to distill their first product in LaCorata’s backyard: a moonshine from 22 Pabst Blue Ribbon beers. The next day, Sadis hung up his tool belt and joined LaCorata at the distillery to learn the craft.
Last April, Still the One Distillery Two’s new owner, Albert Saverese, drafted the distilling duo to the Hudson Valley. Now LaCorata, 28, and Sadis, 27, command close to 500 barrels as head distiller and assistant distiller respectively.
“We weren’t super stoked with where we were at. We didn’t get to do things the way we wanted to. Here [at Still the One], we feel like we’re making stuff we can be proud of,” says Sadis.
This “stuff” they’re proud of? A honey vodka using orange blossom honey and a gin that took nine rounds of recipe testing to get right. And, of course, the whiskies: Their No. 3 is distilled with 100% wheat and No. 4 with 100% rye. Their single-malt whiskey, called 287, is distilled with Captain Lawrence Brewing Company’s Freshchester Pale Ale and named for the local highway that connects both producers. Their bourbon whiskey, called 914, takes its name from the lower Hudson Valley area code.
The local names of the whiskies echo the distillery’s commitment to using New York State and the Hudson Valley ingredients; every grain that hits the Still the One stills is sourced from farms in the area. And the distillers are always looking to partner with local producers when developing new products.
LaCorata and Sadis realize their previous jobs could have provided a more lucrative life, but neither distiller values money over a fulfilling career. “For me it’s the pride of saying ‘I made that,’” says LaCorata. “My hard work, love and passion is in that bottle you’re enjoying. That’s what I love: seeing people enjoy something I made.”
Distilling is backbreaking work, LaCorata says, but he and Sadis fell in love with the artistry of it. “Everyone wants to leave behind something to be remembered by, especially since the world has gotten smaller, in a sense,” says Sadis. “I think that’s why I loved music: It wasn’t just about making money or whatever, it was about connecting with people. Sharing something with someone.”
Still the One Distillery Two owner Severese has no reservations about leaving his business in LaCorata and Sadis’s hands. After taking over the business, Saverese, LaCorata, and Sadis have more than quadrupled the Port Chester location’s output and have recently acquired a percentage of another distillery farther upstate. It’s a lot of sweat equity, as Sadis says, but Saverese never doubted he had the right people for the job.
“There’s millennials and then there’s millennials. For some kids today, it’s carte blanche. They don’t want to work and they want to make it big in five minutes. You can’t grow with those types of millennials. I don’t have that here—these guys are a different type.”
Still the One Distillery Two is open for tours by appointment only. Their products are sold in seven states, including various locations across the region.