The scenes of the 1986 Chernobyl Disaster are a long way from Puhoi, but that is exactly where you will find Alex Kirichuk.
Kirichuk is the master distiller, owner and director of the Puhoi Organic Distillery and Caviar House, where his passion for spirits allows him to invent cutting-edge, eco-friendly distillation technologies and equipment. But his former career as a nuclear power engineer led him to move to New Zealand.
Applying the curative power of Mother Nature is something Kirichuk believes in, and he has even included it in his company's team statement.
The Kirichuk family has invented more than 80 unique products for the small village of Puhoi. In 2019, the distillery run by Kirichuk was featured in the Lonely Planet Global Distillery Tour.'
The Puhoi Organic Distillery is of its 100 percent zero emissions stance, covering all company aspects. From the machinery used for manufacturing to the electric vehicles used for delivering, it is committed to operating innovatively.
In 2004, Kirichuk had the idea to create the Enotherapy Laboratory, to create "spirits of the future," and from here began a journey to incorporate the art and science behind Enotherapy with his work. His wife, Iryna Kirichuk MD was instrumental to the success of this programme. Kirichuk's philosophy behind his business is to embrace nature and bring people happiness and well-being, leaving only green footprints on the planet. The distillery is also run by solar power.
All research and development made for the various spirits are done in-house, with Kirichuk adding that all recipes are made using natural ingredients too. Unique equipment has been designed and custom-built locally for the distillery, and Kirichuk's workshop has been equipped with all the necessary modern technology.
Kirichuk believes that knowledge and experience assist with crafting the finest speciality spirits, as well as direct contact with clients to understand what demand there is in the market. He added that positive feedback from clients is one of the aspects of this job that encourages him the most.
"It is one of the most rewarding aspects. When they are happy, I am happy. It was also touching to have received a people's choice award from consumers."
Not one dollar has ever been spent by Kirichuk on marketing, which is something he is proud to have accomplished in the eight years he has been running the distillery.
An education centre within the distillery's grounds is planned to be opened before October 2023, where Kirichuk and his family can share their philosophy, enotherapy principles for a healthy lifestyle and show how to perfect the art of distilling.
Kirichuk said that when beginning the distillery, he would cut his ear off if he ever tasted a better spirit than his. He joked that he still has both ears today.