The big idea behind a small-run whiskey made from crabs.

The New England area has long been plagued by green crabs. These invasive crustaceans burrow in the sand and love seafood–eating up to 50 clams, mussels, or oysters per day (though who could blame them).

While these crawling creatures have been at home on this side of the Atlantic since the 1800s, in recent years, the damage that they do to local ecosystems is being exacerbated by climate change.

I know what you’re thinking, why don’t we just cook and eat them? Unfortunately, though these crabs are edible, they produce such a small amount of meat that they are difficult to incorporate into most dishes.

But, thanks to a local distillery, green crabs are now an ingredient in something else: whiskey.

Tamworth Distilling, based in New Hampshire, creates a stock from thousands of green crabs (equating to more than 90 pounds) and fortified with neutral grain spirits to distill the “ideal crab essence.” This is combined with a modified sour mash bourbon base and a custom spice blend to create “Crab Trapper” — a 51 percent ABV whiskey.

Though Crab Trapper was produced as a limited run, the idea behind it has massive potential.

First and foremost, it helps the environment–which is more important than ever. But, it also poses an interesting solution to other issues in the food and beverage industry.

For example, even before the pandemic, the seafood industry was facing massive challenges. Overfishing and climate change are wreaking havoc on populations, and labor shortages are making it difficult to catch what’s available. And now, as rising seafood prices in the US are compounded by inflation, the industry needs to get creative if it wants to survive. Maybe crab whiskey can help by increasing populations or providing new species to catch.

But the principles that went into creating Crab Trapper can likely be applied outside of the ocean too. Perhaps there are invasive plants impacting crop yields or a vegetable being grown in excess that would lend themselves to becoming a spirit–whiskey or otherwise.

This crab whiskey also confirms something I have long suspected: There is nary a problem that bourbon can’t solve.

Danilo Diazgranados is an independent investor in the global food and wine, financial services, real estate, and the hospitality sectors.



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Danilo Diazgranados: On wine and food

Danilo Diazgranados: On wine and food

Investor in and lover of fine wine and restaurants.