Master Distiller John Couchot was only 15 years old when he realized he didn’t need to be old enough to buy beer – he could work the system to purchase the equipment and ingredients needed to make it on his own. Continuing this beverage fascination through his teens and early twenties, John built his first still in college. From there, he learned the art of brewing at a wellknown brewery in Northern California.
With a degree in chemistry from Evergreen State College, John went on to pursue a more traditional career in pharmaceuticals where he used his knack for science and distilling in a different way, making medicines by purifying raw ingredients from South America.
But it all led back to distilling when John’s wife gave him a still for his 32nd birthday. Inspired by the gift, he spent years practicing the craft of distilling as a pastime and, after much thought, left his pharmaceutical job to work with Rogue Ales in Newport, Oregon, a brewery and connected distillery where John was able to hone his craft in a professional setting. For six years, John developed recipes and led the company’s distilling program while also piloting Rogue Ales’ 15- barrel brewery system.
John’s unique background in both chemistry and brewing allows him to create inspired alchemy in the spirits world. While at Rogue Ales, he worked with multiple outside partners to create new beers for brands and dabbled in the practice of brewing sake, cider and meads. As Master Distiller, he created a complete line of spirits including gins, whiskeys, rums and vodka.
In 2014, yearning from the challenge of a new project and tempted by his industry friend and CEO of Boston Harbor Distillery Rhonda Kallman, John made the decision to move to Boston to launch BHD, slated to open at The Port on Boston Harbor in early 2015. When he’s not concocting craft spirits on the city’s shoreline, John enjoys a variety of home kitchen cookery, including making his own cheese, yogurt and kombucha.
John’s passion for distilling has brought him hundreds of awards both in both international and domestic competitions. Top honors include double gold medals in the 2008 and 2009 San Francisco World Spirits Competitions for Spruce Gin, and the platinum title in the 2012 World Beverage Competition for the same blend.