The Hippo


May 19, 2019








Live Free Distillery. Photo by Matt Ingersoll.

 Live Free Distillery

Where: 1000 E. Industrial Park Drive, No. 4, Manchester
Hours: Friday, 6 to 8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Queen city spirits
Live Free Distillery opens in Manchester


 By Matt Ingersoll
André Marcoux has been working toward opening his own craft distillery for more than six years. Today, with wood-wrapped stills and custom-built equipment, Marcoux’s vision is a reality.
Live Free Distillery, housed in the former space of Manchester Tool Repair on East Industrial Park Drive, held its grand opening in the Queen City on Sept. 22 with free tours and tastings. It’s Manchester’s second craft distillery; Stark Brewing Co. introduced distilled spirits two years ago. In fact, Marcoux produced them himself as head distiller at Stark before shifting his focus to opening his own business.
Live Free Distillery’s first two products — Mountain Top vodka and Shire Shine apple pie moonshine — are both available for half-ounce tasting samples and 750-milliliter bottles for sale. Marcoux is currently in the process of getting his spirits into New Hampshire Liquor and Wine Outlet stores.
“The apple pie moonshine is made from apple concentrate, and there are real cinnamon sticks in the bottle,” Marcoux said. “It goes great paired with your steaks. I would definitely recommend red meat to go well with it, and you can even take the cinnamon sticks out and cook with them after you finish the bottle. … You can use it for desserts too, like taking it and putting it on ice cream.”
The Mountain Top vodka, he said, undergoes a filtration process of about three days, making for an exceptionally smooth taste.
Other products to come at the distillery will include a small release of the Back Roads white whiskey, plus a white rum, a straight corn whiskey and a bourbon. While he offered suggestions for food pairings, Marcoux said his products are made to taste great on their own as well.
“Everything that I’ll make … can be [drunk] straight up, because that’s a good-quality alcohol,” he said. “I mean, you can mix it, but you should definitely want to be able to appreciate what you’re drinking.”
The goal, he said, was for everything to come locally — right down to the wooden countertops and bottles for his products. The wood-wrapped stills and other custom-built equipment were crafted with the help of his father Ronald of REM Woodcrafting, best friend Donovan Cook and several other local businesses. And patrons stepping inside the distillery are faced with several shelves of New Hampshire-made sculptures, pottery, graphic art and more for sale, as well as a large map on the wall with markers displayed for each distillery in the Granite State.
Marcoux, who has a separate full-time job and two young children on top of his new business venture, said he originally got into home-brewing as a hobby before developing an interest in distilled spirits.
“I knew a lot of people making beer, so I wanted to take it to the next step,” he said. “I started getting into [distilling], talking to a lot of people, and really doing the research and understanding the whole process.”
Years later he would contribute to the grand reopening of Stark Brewing Co. on Commercial Street, in late 2016. Stark now produces a vodka, a bourbon whiskey and a rum, all available in several state liquor stores.
A portion of the proceeds from the bottles and local art sold during Live Free Distillery’s grand opening benefited the New Hampshire chapter of Bikers Against Child Abuse, but Marcoux said there will likely be a rotating list of charities in the state that sales will go toward. 

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