Do Good Distillery’s Story

Aug 03, 2017

Do Good Distillery’s Story

Do Good Distillery is a family-owned craft distillery
located in Modesto, California

Their Mission

As a family of spirits enthusiasts, their primary goal is to make uniquely wonderful craft spirits, with an emphasis on whisky. Do Good Distillery strives to use local ingredients as much as possible, and give back to their local community in true “Do Good” fashion.

Their Story

Do Good Distillery is a dream come true that began quite simply with Jim Harrelson sharing workday stories over whiskey and cigars with his brother-in-law, Paul Katuszonek.  As Paul introduced Jim to various styles of craft whisky, it piqued Jim’s curiosity and got him wondering about the parallels between making good whisky and making good beer.  As Jim began researching the whisky-making process, he realized that his foundation in home-brewing beer could make a useful foundation for craft distilling.  As the saying goes, “Whisky is what beer wants to be when it grows up.”  While it’s not quite that simple, that is a driving principle behind Do Good’s unique whisky line-up.  Jim’s passion and drive made convincing his family that his “crazy idea” to open a distillery in Modesto, CA fairly easy.

While Do Good Distillery was still a “someday” dream, tragedy struck and they lost Paul in a car accident.  Losing Paul drove home the idea that life is simply too short and uncertain for them to be doing anything less than passionately pursuing their dreams.  So, on October 11, 2013, Do Good Distillery was founded on what would’ve been Paul’s 31st birthday. The name, Do Good comes from a quote attributed to Ben Franklin, “You do well, by doing good.”  They find that as a simple guiding principle that sums up their business and commitment to helping their community quite nicely.  Because of the key role that Paul played in the foundation of Do Good Distillery, his handsome face graces all of the tamper seals and the tasting room wall.  Paul is also the inspiration behind their NightHawk Rye bourbon.

Their Process

From the beginning, Do Good has been committed to producing every spirit they make from grain to glass. As they don’t source alcohol from anyone. The whisky-making process starts just like beer-making. After they mill their grain, it’s combined with hot water and enzymes in a mashtun. From there, the wash (un-fermented beer) is cooled and pumped into fermenters where it gets mixed with yeast and left to ferment for several days. Once fermentation is complete, the wash gets distilled two times in a 660 gallon pot still. From there, it is pumped into barrels to age until it’s ready. There truly is magic in the barrel-aging process.

At Do Good, they utilize a wide variety of barrels to accentuate and compliment the specific flavors in each of their whisky recipes. Certain recipes benefit from layering flavors, so they’ll transfer the spirits from one type of barrel to another during the maturation process. Each day Do Good produces 1600-2000 gallons of wastewater, consisting of spent grain, dead yeast and water. Rather than dump it all down the drain, they ship our wastewater to an anaerobic digester where it is used to help produce electricity.

The Lineup

NightHawk Bourbon Whisky

NightHawk Rye brings the characteristic warmth and spice of rye to a fairly traditional bourbon recipe with strong notes of caramel and vanilla, culminating in a clean, dry finish.

California Wheat Bourbon Whisky

Using only ingredients grown in the Golden State, Do Good’s California Bourbon is smooth, subtle, and sweet. It has lingering softness and body, courtesy of a healthy dose of wheat that blends beautifully with corn and malted barley for a smooth and versatile bourbon.

Hop Flavored Whisky

Do Good’s hop-flavored whisky is a premium single malt whisky, infused with hoppy goodness in the fashion of west coast IPAs. A sweet malt backbone with toasted caramel and light oak flavors from time aged in new barrels, this whisky gets pounds of hops added in during the brewing process to give the floral and piney nuances that make this spirit like drinking “hop candy”.

Beechwood Smoked Whisky

Our California whiskey meets classic German beer. Rich aromas of smoky wood cooking fires blend sweet malty hints with a warmth that fades to layers of smooth flavor.

Peat Smoked Whisky

This whisky starts its aging process in used rye whisky casks and is finished in 3 Mile rum barrels.  Do Good’s Peat Smoked Whisky has a refined taste with bright aromas of rich peaty earth and a subtle smoky nose.

Cherry Wood Smoked Whisky

Do Good decided to put a uniquely American spin on single malt whisky by utilizing cherrywood-smoked malted barley. Their award-winning Cherrywood Smoked Single Malt Whisky has a burnished golden color, a subtly smoky aroma with balanced sweet and savory flavors.

3 Mile Rum

Layered with notes of butterscotch, caramel, and hints of cinnamon. The rum mingles with used bourbon barrels for a minimum of seven months when it’s transferred to used Cabernet barrels, adding a deep complexity of flavors.


Do Good’s award-winning White Rum serves as the base alcohol, which is then distilled a third time using essential ingredients such as Italian Juniper Berries, California citrus and key botanicals. Unlike the common practice of outsourcing neutral grain spirits as the base, this unique process adds layers of flavor.

White Rum

Mimicking the style of Rhum Agricole, big earthy and ripened tropical fruit aromas emerge, ending with a quick and dry finish. Taking us back to the traditions of the West Indies, all flavors and aromas rely exclusively on the raw sugar and yeast strains, completely absent of added sugar or flavor compounds.

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