Modern Drinkers Require Modern Spirits: Proverbial Spirits’ Locally Sourced Liquors

Beer & Spirits

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was Proverbial Spirits. In fact, it’s taken about three years through many stages of branding, production and engineering to launch Park City’s latest addition to its grow- ing distillery scene. The efforts of three Park City musketeers—Michael Kunde, Rudy Lehfeldt-Ehlinger and Steven Currie—have led to a colorful, fun and welcoming distillery.

Michael Kunde of Proverbial Spirits pours a shot of Ain't No Rest For The Wicked Gin, one of Proverbial Spirits' two currently available spirits.
Photo: Justin Lagman

Proverbial Spirits is not your average distillery; they’re not here to take themselves too seriously or gain only from profit. Instead, these three grain wranglers embrace their active role in the community. “We’re the regulars at your neighborhood bar, the friends who are down for whatever at the drop of a hat. The shoulder you cry on, the life of the party and your partner in crime,” says their website. Currie adds, “Most brands take themselves very seriously. It’s all leather-bound books, cigars and leather chairs.”

“We’re the regulars at your neighborhood bar, the friends who are down for whatever at the drop of a hat. The shoulder you cry on, the life of the party and your partner in crime.”

Full of bright hues and subtle undertones, Proverbial Spirits uses its vivid and flashy color palette to catch viewers’ eyes along with its high attention to detail in its designs, using both a proverbial phrase for a name and a body part for each of their compositional components. With lips as the background for their Loose Lips Sink Ships rum and an orange-irised eye as the background for their No Rest For The Wicked gin, each bottle flaunts a lively display to match its delightful flavor profile. “We’re using fun colors and proverbial phrases. Nobody’s ever taken this approach to branding in the spirit industry. You see it in wine and beer [where] people are playful, but we want to take that and implement it into the spirit world,” says Currie.

Their design isn’t the only thing that separates Proverbial Spirits from other Utah distilleries—it’s what goes into their spirits that really sets them apart. “The fact that we’re making product from scratch makes us unique,” says Currie. Unlike many large distilleries that use big manufacturing companies like MGP to provide products like specialty wheat starches and proteins, Proverbial generates all of its spirits from scratch with mainly locally sourced ingredients (barring exceptions such as sugar cane and molasses, which are difficult to find in Utah due to our lack of humidity). “We get our malted rye from Idaho, and our rum we’re making from sugar cane and molasses that we’ve sourced out of Louisiana,” says Currie.

“We’re using fun colors and proverbial phrases.”

Proverbial Spirits currently has two spirits available—Loose Lips Sink Ships Rum and No Rest for the Wicked Gin.
Photo: Justin Lagman

After sourcing the ingredients, then comes the long process of … well, processing the ingredients. “Using our local mashed grains, we convert the starches into sugars,” says Currie, which then allows them to begin the distilling phase which, depending on the spirit, can happen multiple times. “With our rum, it’s just one distillation, but our gin ends up being three distillations by the time we’re done,” says Currie.

Starting off with only two spirits—rum and gin—Proverbial Spirits still have many surprises on the horizon. Their tried, tested and truly loved spirits are gaining a twist in the upcoming year, slowly aging in wine barrels for an enhanced new flavor. “Aged in Kunde wine barrels is our rum, while our gin will be aged in vermouth barrels,” says Currie. If that doesn’t already get you spirit lovers riled up, their canned Negronis will—trust me when I say they’re the bee’s knees.

“Using our local mashed grains, we convert the starches into sugars.”

A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step, and although Proverbial Spirits has only taken its first few steps, it’s clear that for these three distillers, all their roads will lead to Rome and eventually allow Proverbial to become a household name in the eyes of all spirit lovers.

Read more about local distillers:
Beehive Distilling: Creating a Community Space with High-Quality Gin
Salt Flats Spirits Draws from its Racing Background to Create Innovative Liquors