+ Who are you guys? Why did you open a distillery?

The Lawrenceville Distilling Co. was co-founded by Joe DeGroot and Dave Harmon, and they are both principal owners. Joe DeGroot is the Master Distiller and responsible for recipes and production.

Joe and Dave were fascinated by absinthe and spent years tasting every sample that they could find and reading about the history of this misunderstood, maligned spirit. At some point this tipped (tippled?) into production methods and distillation, and the dream of producing an absinthe with a pre-ban recipe began. Here's some articles about us and the distillery.

+ Where can I buy your products?

Our products are available at our distillery bottle shop and online with delivery to most states.

Parking Chair Vodka and Ginzer American Gin is also found in 10 Pittsburgh-area Fine Wine and Good Spirits Premium Collection stores found on our Google Map

+ What is Parking Chair Vodka made from? Why did you pick it?

Our vodka is entirely wheat-based, sourced from French winter wheat. France has a grain growing region in the north, Picardy, where winter wheat is sown in autumn and harvested in late summer.

We chose wheat-based vodka because they are generally the softest in texture compared to other vodkas made with other common fermentable materials.

+ How is Parking Chair Vodka made?

We begin with French wheat that is harvested and roughly distilled once to more or less aid transportation. This is called wholesale GNS, or grain neutral spirit. We start with a wholesale GNS because it allows us to do two things: focus on the finishing the spirit to make an excellent product, and to do so at a very economical price.

Once it arrives to our distillery, it is further distilled again by us for a total of 6 times, by hand in small batches, using a copper alembic still from Portugal. We also use extensive finishing techniques picked up from observation and testing.

+ How many times is Parking Chair Vodka distilled? Does it matter?

6 times. It matters in as much as it relates to the whole strategy for how a master distiller crafts the spirit. Vodka can taste antiseptic as a result of over distillation.

+ My Cousin says that real vodka is make from potatoes. What's the deal with yours?

Actually, vodka can be made from any starch or grain that yields a sugar content. Traditonally it is made from winter wheat, potatoes, rye, grapes, or mixed grains; today some vodka is even manufactured from quoina or even cane sugar.

+ Does wheat vodka taste better than potato vodka?

That depends on who you ask. We don't think of a style or type of vodka as 'better,' as much as it is just different.

We are happy to provide a hyperlocal option that has the right elements for an excellent vodka cocktail: smooth, behind the scenes, but it enhances its ingredients.

+ Is 1129 Ridge Ave. Absinthe Traditionelle real absinthe? does it contain wormwood?

This is real, actual absinthe that contains wormwood and naturally ocurring amounts of thujone, a compound once thought to affect the mind. We faithfully follow an original recipe from 1855.

+ Does absinthe make you hallucinate?

Sorry to rain on your parade, but it does not. It is now understood that the pre-ban health issues associated with absinthe (hallucinations, madness, etc.) were attributed to alcohol poisoning, and the lack of regulation in production to turn out cheap variations with harmful substitutes.

+ Is absinthe safe?

When enjoyed responsibly, absinthe is perfectly safe. It is made at much higher proof and meant to be cut in the cup by adding sugar and water. Absinthe is really a concentrate, so alcohol poisoning is possible if you are not diluting (The absinthe ritual of la Louche) the absinthe correctly.

+ If absinthe is safe, why was it illegal in the first place?

That's a great question with a very interesting answer. Without going into too much detail: absinthe was originally outlawed due to a popular vote as the result of a very successful misinformation campaign propagated by the turn of the twentieth-century wine industry. Fake news! There’s a great short documentary that came out in 2010 named Absinthe that we recommend you check out.

+ How should I prepare my 1129 Ridge Ave. Absinthe Traditionelle?

We recommend a 3 to 1 water to absinthe with a sugar cube for our 1129 Ridge Ave. Absinthe Traditionnelle. This is the absinthe ritual of la Louche.

When louche is achieved, water dilutes the alcohol and it frees the anise and fennel oils locked in the alcohol during distillation. It changes the absinthe from green to a cream or pastel cloud. It is magic before your eyes.

The result is rich and warm with anise and herbal flavors that are subtle and balanced. It reminds me of my grandmother’s German Christmas cookies, Springerle.

At no point should you light good absinthe on fire. This is analogus to putting ketchup on a dry-aged fillet.

+ My cousin brought a bottle of "absinth" back from prague and he says the absinthe here is fake and watered down. Is his bottle the real deal?

Many people travel to places in Europe, such as Prague, and try their version, named absinth without the “e”. They serve it neat and light it on fire. It is usually strong, bitter vodka dyed green and it tastes like hot garbage.

Dont believe the hype, they tell countless Americans the same old yarn: this is the real stuff; the new, legal absinthe is watered down; this is the stuff that will make you hallucinate. Pure balderdash, all of it. Their goal is to mark up and sell exchange students bottles of cheap hooch to sneak home in their luggage. Good luck enjoying that. Do try and let your cousin down gently.

+ What's with the name 1129 Ridge Avenue?

As the home of both the tragic Congelier family and then the evil Dr. Brunrichter, 1129 Ridge Avenue is Pittsburgh’s most infamous haunted house. It’s a tall tale told through the generations as part of our city’s history rich with urban legends. Like a good ghost story, the popular history of this spirit is a cocktail mixed from hearsay, embellishment, and a good measure of complete fabrication.

+ What is a 'Ginzer'? I don't get it

Ginzer is a portmandu of "Gin" and "Yinzer"; a Yinzer is a colloquial term for someone from Pittsburgh who uses its historical dialect, grammar, and popular phrases.

+ How is Ginzer American Gin made?

Ginzer American Gin's no nonsense flavor comes from a mix of juniper, coriander, orange, and clove. We distill Ginzer American Gin using a column still with traditional vapor infusion.