Mike Aubertine grew up on his family’s dairy farm in nearby Cape Vincent where some of the grain for production is grown and stored. After attending college and becoming a New York State Registered Architect, he founded Aubertine and Currier Architects, Engineers & Land Surveyors, PLLC in Watertown, New York. In 2012, Mr. Aubertine sold most of his interest in the firm and with the assistance of his partners Roger Howard and Mike Ingerson, started the distillery. The project broke ground in July of 2012 and progressed rapidly until the grand opening in April of 2013. They produced vodka and unaged corn whisky during their first summer, neither of which were very good! Then after many, many, long, long, long days and nights of distilling, reading about distilling and talking to everyone they could about distilling they figured this thing out.
Clayton’s facility was built consistent with sustainable use in mind. Clayton Distillery utilizes LEED principles developed by the United States Green Building Council in the design and construction of the facility. The facility incorporates passive solar heating and cooling, a super insulated structure and energy efficient lighting and mechanical systems. In addition, waste heat from the distilling process is used to heat most of the building and provide for all domestic hot water needs. They also recycle the by-products from the distilling process (stillage). The stillage consists of grain and water left in the still after the alcohol has been stripped out. They pump this into tanks provided by local farmers who use it for animal feed.
All of their products begin on their fifth generation family farm in Cape Vincent, New York. The four hundred acre farm was an active dairy farm until 2006 and is now used for growing corn, rye, and alfalfa. They also purchase corn from Gracie Farms in Watertown, New York and wheat from Robbins Family Farm in Sackets Harbor, New York. Malted barley is purchased from Pioneer Malting in Rochester, New York and through a brewers supply group. Today, their 100% corn mash, 190 proof grain alcohol that is the base for most of their products is as clean and smooth as anything you can find on the market. Additionally, they have perfected their New York Straight Bourbon Whisky. Soon, it will be their best selling product and is just plain fun to make. Stay tuned, they are always working on new and exciting products!