In bygone days, “white dog” was slang for moonshine. So when Carlo Catucci and his three business partners sought a name their distillery in Pawtucket, they brought this moniker back to life. “Technically everything that comes off a still could be called moonshine,” says Catucci. “How it is processed and what the grain bill consists of determines what the spirit is classified as. But it’s still moonshine.”
True to its name, the operation has a bootlegger’s moxie. In real life, Catucci has taught high school physics for 22 years, but he’s always loved the art of fermentation. Catucci spent five years practicing with a still in his home, collaborating with his wife Alecia. In 2016, they joined forces with friends Vincent Greene and Eric Silvestre, renovating a space at Lorraine Mills. They constructed a bar out of recycled shipping pallets and a sheet of zinc, and the space opened in April for tastings. White Dog Distilling produces small batches of gin, whiskey, white rum, and, yes, moonshine.
“Our still is a 50-gallon modular,” says Catucci. “It’s a kiss and a curse, because we can make a variety, but everything we make is very small scale. If this becomes successful, then maybe we can expand our production capabilities. If that day comes, then we hope White Dog Distilling products can make it to a few local bars and liquor stores. But we’re in no rush.” Mineral Spring Avenue, Pawtucket.