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Distillery Intern, Cotton & Reed


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Cotton & Reed seeks a Distillery Intern for Summer 2022. The Internship would ideally begin in mid-May and run for a 12-week period. Pay for the internship is $20 per hour with an expected average of 30 to 35 hours per week.


Cotton & Reed is Washington, DC's first rum distillery, founded in 2016 by Jordan Cotton & Reed Walker, who met as strategists working in the aerospace industry. Cotton & Reed's mission is to help return rum to the pantheon of great American spirits. A once-booming domestic rum industry never recovered after Prohibition, as the market turned to heavily sweetened, artificially flavored products, distorting consumers' perception of what rum is and can be. Head Distiller John Hayes and Assistant Distiller Loren Atkin now produce an award-winning lineup of rums, including a White Rum that won the Double Gold Medal at the 2022 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.


Job Responsibilities

  • Assist with the stages of production, including

    • Wash setting - preparing molasses, nutrient addition, pitching yeast

    • Fermentation - daily readings of Brix, pH, and temperature; nutrient addition

    • Distillation - transfer into still, basic still operation/control (heating, cooling, agitation), spirit collection and gauging

    • Proofing - dilutions to reach a target proof for barreling or bottling; with guidance, determine proof of sweetened products using laboratory distillation

    • Barrel work - barrel filling/harvesting, gauging recovery; barrel sampling, as necessary

    • Batching - pulling required spirit(s) to produce core products, spice processing, sweetening

    • Record keeping - report transactions in distillery software

  • Assist in cleaning and maintaining fermentation and distillation equipment according to established protocols

  • Assist in all bottling operations, including set-up, filling, packaging, and cleaning

  • With guidance, prepare additives for use in recipes

  • Assist in monthly/quarterly inventory verifications

  • Assist in the preparation of experimental/test samples for sensory panel evaluation


Upon completion of the internship, the candidate should be able to:

  • Describe the fermentation and distillation process

  • Understand conversions through proof gallons and provide corresponding batch size estimates

  • Determine the accurate proof of a sweetened product and calculate the required adjustment

  • Perform Clean-in-Place procedures on various pieces of equipment


Minimum requirements

  • At least 21 years of age

  • Able to lift 55 lbs

  • Comfortable working on ladders or in potentially confined spaces

  • Ability to stand for long periods of time



  • A recent graduate, or actively pursuing a degree, in Chemistry, Food Science, Chemical Engineering, Biochemistry, or other related field;

  • Preferably, seeking to pursue a career in distilling, brewing, or winemaking;

  • Good organizational skills, ability to multi-task, and provide accurate documentation;

  • Strong problem solving and analytical skills


Cotton & Reed is an Equal Opportunity Employer emphasizing a respectful, welcoming, safe work environment and strong work-life balance for its employees.


Please email resumes to John Hayes: john@cottonandreed.com

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