Continuum: A look at Waterbury’s Environmentally Sustainable Distillery

continuum distillery connecticut

Continuum Distilling in Waterbury, CT has two goals: to create delicious and innovative spirits unlike any other, and to do so in an environmentally sustainable way that reuses otherwise wasted materials. 

They do an exemplary job achieving both goals. What makes Continuum so special is the unconventional base ingredient they use to distill their spirits.

Bringing Wasted Material Back to Life

continuum distillery connecticut

All breweries have a portion of beer that remains unsold. Prior to the inception of Continuum, this unused product went to waste. One day, co-owner Brandon Collins had an epiphany: the unused and unsold beer could be used to distill craft spirits. 

He approached co-owner Jason Sobocinski of Black Hog Brewery and Caseus Fromagerie Bistro. The two began experimenting with recipes and in 2018, Continuum opened its doors to the public.

Sustainably Responding to COVID-19

In early 2020, Continuum experienced unprecedented growth due to an unexpected influx of raw material resulting from the restrictions put into place during the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 also inspired a new use for some of Continuum’s production by-products. 

In keeping with the tradition of sustainability and zero waste, Continuum uses the cuts (the first and last liquid to leave the still which is not used in distilling) to create their own sanitizer. The sanitizer is then used to clean the facility and equipment, including the stills.

continuum circle graphic connecticut distillery

Continuum’s Environmentally Responsible Products

Continuum has forged partnerships with 27 local breweries. These breweries include 26 Connecticut breweries, and one out-of-state partnership with Lawson’s Finest Liquids. The unused beer is separated into different flavor profiles to create signature spirits. 

Hop-forward beers are destined to become Continuum’s clear spirit, Drops. It has a fresh floral, citrus, and hop profile that makes it an excellent pairing for tonic, ginger beer, Bloody Marys, and lavender.

Malty beers will become the signature dark spirit, Charred. Charred is a brown spirit many liken to whiskey with notes of caramel and dark chocolate. It is excellent in an Old Fashioned, Manhattan, or on the rocks. Charred is aged for 8-12 months on local oak sourced from fallen trees resulting from a severe storm that occurred in 2018. 

Staves impart more flavor than barrels due to increased surface area and can create the equivalent flavor of four years aging in a barrel in one year. Once the staves have reached the end of their use, Continuum donates them to local fish farms such as Maple Farms to use for smoking fish.

Continuum also offers Resin, an aged, hop-forward take on dark spirits, and ContinuRum, a traditional rum made from sugarcane. 

continuum seasonal spirits distillery
Images courtesy of Continuum Distilling

Seasonal Spirits

In addition to the flagship spirits, seasonal specialties are produced on a rotating basis. These specials have included cranberry and apple drops, blueberry rum, and most recently a very limited edition grappa made in collaboration with Hawk Ridge Winery in Watertown that is available in Blanco and barrel aged varieties. 

Visit Continuum

Continuum Distilling offers tours on the last Saturday of every month. Cocktail tastings are each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday alongside a pairing of local brewer’s crackers, chorizo, and Mystic cheese.

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Amber Clark
Amber Clark is a freelance writer and wellness advisor residing in Litchfield County, Connecticut. She holds an Associate of Arts degree from NVCC, and devotes much of her time to furthering her education through literature and personal experience. Her passions include writing, reading, food, nutrition, and the outdoors.