Select Page

Triple Sun Distillery

Jun 27, 2018 | Around Town, Table

By Kelly Kempf
An interview with owner Kristofer Kwant
Craft beers have flooded the market for years now and with breweries popping up in every small town it’s fair to say there are consumers looking for a new and fresh pour that isn’t an IPA or Pilsner. Some are ready to make their departure from beer and land on new shores and they can find their port at Triple Sun Distilleries in Emmaus, Pennsylvania. Owner Kristofer Kwant who creates whiskey, rum, gin and brandy gave us insight on how he moved from a career in Pharmaceuticals to a passion in homebrewing and finally to the family oriented distilling business he is so proud of.

Tell us a little more about yourself and what lead you to the distillery business?
“I started brewing beer with my dad in 2001 just before the birth of my first son Nicholas was born. We actually brewed a small batch for he and I to share when he turns 21. Eventually brewing beer went from a hobby to something that bordered on obsession. Quickly my interest and passion, pushed me to develop my skill and experiment more than most do in a lifetime. As my skill grew and I began to brew competitively, I became a Nationally Certified Beer Judge and took things even further. The more I learned and grew, the more I looked for new ways to build upon those experiences. Eventually I discovered the connection that brewing beer had with making whiskey (beer is what gets distilled into whiskey), and started a new journey into learning about the distilling process. I decided to name my distillery after my three boys, Nicholas, Joseph and Keegan. As my love for spirits grew (and since my wife Cyndi is a travel agent specializing in the Caribbean) whenever I would find myself alone as she toured a resort property for her job, I would seek my own adventures to discover the secrets of Estate Rum. I went everywhere from Jamaica to the Dominican Republic and all points in between. Sometimes I was met with resistance to inquisitive prodding, but eventually I managed to piece together some tantalizing secrets that I have incorporated into my process here in Emmaus, and ultimately throughout all of my products. My long career in pharma also influences what we do. From paperwork, to procedures, we follow some heavily regulated requirements that the government requires we follow. Luckily this kind of extreme oversight isn’t as intimidating as it might seem thanks to the experiences I’ve had in the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing industry.”

What drew you to set up shop in Emmaus?
“I began researching locations in the spring of 2014, and was eventually drawn to Emmaus because of two primary reasons: First, Emmaus has been voted by Forbes Magazine (amongst others) as one of the best places in the US to live. The picturesque and idyllic backdrop of the small town community my distillery calls home couldn’t be better in terms of the people I call neighbors or the willingness of the Borough’s leadership to work with us to create something that had never been done before in the town’s more than 250 year history. Second, the water supply in Emmaus is incredibly high in mineral content, which may not make for good showers or laundering of clothes, but it sure does make for some fine whiskey and rum! Moreover, in September of 2005, the Emmaus Borough council members voted to take water privatization off the table of options going forward, ensuring that our largest single ingredient would never be at risk for surprise rate hikes or other issues.”

What projects are you currently working on?
“We have our first release of Straight Bourbon coming out in early September 2018. We’re also planning more collaborations with PA breweries, wineries and cideries (so be on the lookout for some innovative spirit recipes that you’ve likely never seen before). The biggest news though, is our announcement about opening a new 1100 square foot retail store and tasting room in Newtown, PA in May of this year! While we won’t be distilling there but we are sure to please with an extensive cocktail list and some guest taps to showcase surprise selections from fantastic breweries, wineries and cideries from across the State!”

What atmosphere are you trying to hone for patrons who visit the distillery?
“We have a reclaimed modern aesthetic with lots of natural materials like upcycled pallet wood and brick, fused with some modern and industrial touches. Our spaces are meant to feel comfortable and serve the community as a place to gather and enjoy one another’s company without distractions like TVs or constant loud music. When you visit you should expect to see a lot of art on our walls and throughout our space as well. I’ve always had a love affair with the arts and showcase a lot of local artists and their works.”

What is your membership program like?
“Becoming a “Social Sipper” means getting access to a members-only cocktail menu featuring unique and expertly crafted cocktails you won’t find anywhere else. Plus, members receive invitations to exclusive events and private parties throughout the year, as well as their own custom engraved glassware which will change with each annual renewal. We have a private section on our website dedicated to these members, where they have access to news, photos, teasers, product pre-sales, and special merchandise for members only.”

Favorite distilled alcohol?
“I’m a rum guy. I’ve always loved the surprising variation and uniqueness that can come from a spirit with only one ingredient. While rum can only legally be made from sugar cane, this simplicity however belies the true nature of the wide array of techniques in fermentation, distilling and aging that go into making artisanal rum so special. There’s a lot more emphasis on technique with rum and it opens up some fantastic experiences for both the distiller and the consumer.”

A goal for the future?
“I plan to maintain our small batch distillery designation, so we will keep opening new retail locations around the state before eventually branching out to wholesale distribution and online sales. We are going to start branching out across the state, and plan to go out as far as Pittsburgh or Erie.”

Our Latest Issue!

Our Latest Issue

Subscribe to our newsletter