Lifelong Friends Build Business in the ‘Spirit' of Their Native Home

The SuTi Craft Distillery is the only place outside of Vietnam where you can buy the traditional Vietnamese rice spirit, rượu đế.

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The SuTi Craft Distillery is unlike any other in Texas, or the United States, or anywhere else but Vietnam.

"It's traditional in Vietnam," Tien Ngo said sitting beside his friend and business partner Suy Dinh. "Rice is the only ingredient," Dinh explained.

Dinh and Ngo had a taste for a piece of their native home they could not find anywhere else. The rice spirit called rượu đế is found in most homes in Vietnam, but the liquor was hard to find here.

"We both like to drink, like to sample different kinds of liquor," Ngo explained.

The pair started planning their distillery and tasting room business in 2016. They opened in November 2020, in the middle of the pandemic.

"In every house, pretty much, yes. You have guests, you would serve them rượu đế," Ngo said, recalling life in Vietnam. "It's like bourbon or whiskey here," Dinh said.

Except rượu đế is served with breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

"So some, especially farmers, would drink that for breakfast, and then for lunch, and for dinner," Dinh said. "My wife's uncle, he's 97 and he still drinks three shots a day!"

At a time when there is so much division in the world, there is common ground when people sit at the bar in the SuTi tasting room, and sip rượu đế together.

"It doesn't have a political point of view. It doesn't have a religious point of view. And it doesn't have gender, doesn't have...a gap between the ages," Ngo said. "It brings people together."

Both Dinh and Ngo are retirement age. They say their new business is not about making money.

"100% on the heart," Ngo said. "For both of us."

SuTi Craft Distillery is located at 528 W. Kennedale Parkway in Kennedale. By law they cannot ship liquor. The tasting room is the only place to purchase it.

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