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Bridgeport's Asylum Distillery Gives Whole New Meaning To Halloween Spirits

Neil Doocy and Robert Schulten offer a taste of their wares at Mo's Wine & Spirits in Fairfield.
Neil Doocy and Robert Schulten offer a taste of their wares at Mo's Wine & Spirits in Fairfield. Photo Credit: Facebook
Robert Schulten with some of the equipment used to make corn whiskey, gin and vodka at Asylum Distillery in Bridgeport.
Robert Schulten with some of the equipment used to make corn whiskey, gin and vodka at Asylum Distillery in Bridgeport. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
Asylum Distillery now offers tours and tastings.
Asylum Distillery now offers tours and tastings. Photo Credit: Facebook

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — The nip in the air doesn’t just mean you need to run out and get a pumpkin and some candy corn for the Halloween spirits who will soon be at your front door.

Robert Schulten of Asylum Distillery in Bridgeport says autumn is the perfect time to try some spirits of an entirely different sort — namely, the gin, vodka and corn whiskey he and business partner Neil Doocy of Fairfield are bottling up at their unassuming shop on Asylum Street.

“It’s finally getting to the time of year when spirits come back,” said Schulten, a Fairfield resident. “It’s our season, so to speak.”

The distillery, the only one in Fairfield County since 1919, is now offering tours and tastings, giving visitors a peek at the exacting science that goes into turning dried corn into the liquors that are gaining a following with local bars, restaurants and liquor stores.

In fact, Asylum products are now in 15 liquor stores, including Ninety 9 Bottles in Trumbull and Westport, Harry’s Wine & Liquor Market in Fairfield and Bridgeport’s Bijou Square Wine Shop. And it’s poured at Gray Goose in Southport, Little Pub of Fairfield and Fire Engine Pizza Co. in Bridgeport’s bustling Black Rock neighborhood, among other locations.

“Our goal is to be an ‘overnight success’ in two years,” Schulten joked.

What sets Asylum spirits apart from the pack?

All products are made from locally grown, non-GMO, gluten-free Connecticut grains, much of it brought in in one-ton bags at the distillery. They go into a masher, which converts the natural starches into sugar that is transferred to a fermenter, where added yeast helps form alcohol.

The yeast cells work their magic for a full five days, Schulten said.

“They party hardy and then they die of alcohol poisoning,” he said.

After that, the liquid is distilled for about six hours, separating the corn whiskey from the vodka from the gin.

Schulten can then add natural flavors that make Asylum’s products so unique.

Want to know more? Stop by Asylum Distillery, 259 Asylum St., between 4 and 6 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays or Saturdays for a free personal tour.

“At the end of the day, this is a great place to go before you’re going out for dinner,” Schulten said

To learn more about Asylum’s products and where they’ll be pouring at an event near you, visit www.asylumdistillery.com .

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