Inside White Rock Distilleries’ only location, in Lewiston, a vast network of stainless steel pipes snake their way from huge — up to 100,000 gallons — storage tanks outside, through multiple filtration systems and into smaller tanks where the vodka, rum and gin used in its products are flavored and sweetened.

When demand is highest, White Rock will pump out more than 1 million gallons of finished product in one month, according to Joe Werda, director of operations.

Most of the product is produced as customer orders come in, but White Rock does hold about a two-week supply in its warehouse.

To reach such high production White Rock employs 260 people, 200 at the Lewiston facility working two eight-hour shifts and 60 more in the Portland marketing division and other regional sales staff distributed throughout the United States.

In order to reduce the amount of waste the company produces, the same boxes that all empty bottles arrive in at the Lewiston plant are used to ship the finished products.

In 2011, White Rock produced 3.9 million cases of product. Its No. 1 selling brand was the uniquely flavored Pinnacle Whipped Vodka. Including Whipped, Pinnacle comes in 31 flavors. In one week, White Rock will go through 15,000 gallons of sucrose used to sweeten the vodka products.


On average it takes about 6 months to develop a flavor, but Werda can remember one product that only took 90 days to develop.

Sweet Carolina vodka, which was recently sold to another maker, went from concept to finished product in three months time.

Vodka for the Pinnacle brand is imported from France; Russian and Polish vodkas are used for other products. Rum comes from the Virgin Islands and gin is imported from England.

Each step of the process is tasted and tested, and a sample of the final batch is kept in a locked storage facility.

In April, White Rock Distilleries sold Pinnacle Vodka and Calico Jack brands and their related assets, including the bottling plant, for $605 million to Beam Inc. headquartered in Deerfield, Ill.

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