Category Archives: Distillers

New Columbia County distillery to open Sept. 1

(L-R) Baker, Pickerell, Welly

ANCRAM — Last November, I posted a story and photos of a distillery being created near this Columbia County community. Now, owner Jeffrey Baker and master distiller Dave Pickerell have announced a September 1 opening.

On that day, Hillrock Estate Distillery will be open to the public as well as introducing the launch of Hillrock Solera Aged Bourbon.

While there are other distilleries in the Hudson Valley, Hillrock is different in that it is a “field-to-glass” facility. In fact, it is believed to be the first post-Prohibition U.S. distillery to floor malt and hand craft whiskey onsite from its own estate-grown grain.

“I approached the craft spirits movement from a farming perspective, looking to create premier whiskies that reflect the local terroir, in the tradition of great estate vineyards,” Baker said.

“After research, I found that there were no truly field-to-glass distillery operations in the United States hand crafting spirits with grain grown and floor malted on the estate. That’s when I reached out to Dave Pickerell to realize our vision.”

Pickerell, former master distiller for Maker’s Mark and now a consulting master distiller for numerous craft distilleries, has been working with Timothy Welly, distiller and operations manager.

“By controlling every aspect of production from planting and harvesting heirloom grains, to traditionally floor malting our grain, to crafting whiskies in our 250-gallon copper pot still, to aging in small oak barrels and hand bottling, we are able to create premium whiskies reflecting the unique terroir of the Hillrock Estate,” Pickerell said.

Hillrock Estate Distillery will open for reserved weekend tours and tastings beginning September 15. Reservations can be made via e-mail or via the website.

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Posted by on August 23, 2012 in Distillers, Hudson Valley


Tuthilltown Spirits creates new locally-sourced gin

GARDINER — Tuthilltown Spirits, the Ulster County craft distiller, has yet another new product to add to its extensive portfolio. This one is Half Moon Orchard Gin, due out in August.

Says founder Ralph Erenzo, “This is not your typical gin. The base spirit is made using locally grown apples and wheat, and the citrus and herbs are perfectly proportioned. Thank you to distiller Joel Elder for creating this incredible recipe.”

In other Tuthilltown activities:

• Experts from the distillery will lead a spirit-pairing dinner at the Culinary Institiute of America in Hyde Park at 6 p.m. Wednesday, August 22. Reservations are $65 plus tax and tip. Phone: (845) 471-6608 or go online. The event is part of the ongoing celebration of the American Bounty Restaurant’s 30th anniversary at the CIA.

• Author Sandor Katz will be at the distillery’s tasting room at 6 p.m. Tuesday, August 7, to speak and sign copies of his latest book, “The Art of Fermentation,” which will be available for sale. Tuthilltown Spirits is located at 14 Gristmill Lane in this Ulster County community.

• Tuthilltown will be debuting a cocktail specially created for a 5 p.m. Wednesday, August 18, cocktail party fundraiser for the Gardiner Library. The fundraiser, which will feature a live auction and food from Main Course and Cafe Mio will be held at the Maplestone Inn, 541 Route 32, New Paltz. Tickets are $50 each and may be made by calling (845) 255-1255 or by going online.

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Posted by on July 12, 2012 in Distillers, Fundraiser, Gin


Analysis: Craft distilling going nowhere but up

Anyone who has been paying attention knows the craft distillery movement in America is on the upswing.

The question is, how far is up?

According to industry figures, there were 234 producing distilleries at the end of 2011, with more scheduled to come on line this year. A market analysis just released by Coppersea Distilling LLC, projects the industry will grow more than 300% over the next decade.

“Should current growth trends continue, the number of U.S. craft distillers will certainly grow to over 1,000,” said Michael Kinstlick, CEO of Coppersea Distilling, located in West Park, Ulster County. “Craft distilling is following the lead of the farm winery and craft brewery industries, which have both grown to support thousands of small firms.”

To show the continued upward spiking of new firms, there were only a total of 24 in 2000. By contrast 50 new firms opened in 2011 alone.

“The tremendous activity and excitement in craft distilling has been increasing year-by-year,” said Bill Owens, president of the American Distilling Institute. “Customers are looking to smaller producers for unique and more authentic spirits. Clearly, American craft distillers are only getting started, and this paper points to how far they can go.”

Frank Coleman, senior vice president of the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. (DISCUS), said, “The rapid growth of craft distilling in the U.S. market in many ways reflects both the recent modernization of the supplier tier and an important grassroots development in the public policy arena. The Council recognized this trend by creating a Craft Distiller Affiliate Membership program, which has grown from 12 founding members to almost 60 in two years. This paper provides important perspective on this fast-moving segment of the spirits industry.”

Craft distillers operate in 45 states. The complete “white paper” from Coppersea Distilling can be downloaded here.

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Posted by on April 7, 2012 in Analysis/Survey, Distillers


Brooklyn breaking out in rum fever

From Courier Life’s Brooklyn Daily

Rum makers are popping up in Red Hook faster than you can scream, “Yo-ho-ho!”

In the past three weeks, two small-batch rum distilleries have begun bottling organic sugarcane-based hooch that’s tasty enough to make Captain Morgan switch labels.

One distillery belongs to Daric Schlesselman — a Comedy Central editor-cum-booze buff — who crafts his vanilla-noted liquor using fair trade, unprocessed sugar at his Van Brunt Stillhouse. Schlesselman distills the elixir — dubbed Due North Rum ($35), which is not yet for sale — at a low temperature to create a light but full bodied flavor.

[Go here for the rest of the story.]

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Posted by on April 7, 2012 in Distillers, Rum, Spirits


Tuthilltown reaches new gin base

GARDINER — Tuthilltown Spirts is launching a new gin with a definitely different twist.

The average gin is distilled from some sort of grain then infused with a combination of botanicals. The Ulster County distiller — the state’s first licensed operation since Prohibition — has, instead, created Half Moon Orchard Gin from a base of wheat and apples. It is believed to be the first in the state to do so.

Half Moon Gin, named for the ship captained by explorer Henry Hudson when he chanced upon the river that now bears his name, differs from the usual gin making approach by changing the base spirit itself.

Says chief distiller Joel Elder, “We’re in the heart of the American apple industry, so it’s natural for us to turn to apples to create an original New York gin. Gin has become a battle of the botanicals, with more and more complicated recipes making use of obscure flavors that get lost in the mix. We chose to keep our botanical bill small and focus attention on the base spirit which makes up most of the gin, using the botanicals to complement and enhance the delicate flavors inherent in the base.”

The new product is being released regionally this spring, with wider distribution being considered for later in the year.

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Posted by on April 6, 2012 in Distillers, Gin, Spirits


Expanded distillery courses at Warwick Valley

WARWICK — The distillery segment of Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery is catching on with the pubic.

In fact, in addition to its fourth distillery demonstration and tasting series scheduled for February, Warwick has added an intermediate course in March for those who have taken the introductory series.

Every Saturday in February, master distiller Jason Grizzanti will walk the group through the distillery setup, explaining the process of making spirits, followed by a tasting session and lunch.

Every Saturday in March, Grizzanti will hold will an intermediate course that includes hands-on activities plus a guided whiskey tasting.

The introductory course fee is $50, the intermediate course fee $60, or admission to both can be purchased for $100, using coupon code DEMOPROMO during checkout. The intermediate course is limited to 15 people.

Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery, which makes fruit brandies and liqueurs under the American Fruits brand, is located at 114 Little York Road in Warwick, Orange County. Phone: (845) 258-4858.

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Posted by on January 31, 2012 in Classes, Distillers


A porkalypse coming to the Big Apple

NEW YORK — The 3rd annual Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival, promising 60 beers and 40 bourbons, is planned for Saturday, January 28, at LA.Venue, 608 West 28th Street.

The all-you-care-to-taste event will be divided into two sessions: The Bacon Session, from noon to 4 p.m., and the Whole Hog Session, from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Ticket holders will receive a souvenir glass.

Seminars from master distillers, master brewers and pitmasters will provide the tastings along with Southern cuisine. A Tasting Theater will feature tasting classes and seminars on various topics. To date, Harlen Wheatley, master distiller for Buffalo Trace, Chris Mattera, master butcher from Sausage Craft, Gable Erenzo, master distiller for Tuthilltown Spirits, Rob Robillard, master distiller for Cabin Fever Maple Whiskey, pitmaster Bill Eason from Lil’ Red Pig in North Carolina, and pitmaster Steve Klobitis of Kloby’s Smokehouse in Maryland, as well as brand ambassadors from Angel’s Envy and Makers Mark are scheduled to speak.

Live bluegrass music also will be presented, and exhibits of such things as hot sauces, BBQ sauces, brewerania and other food items are planned.

Ticket details are available online, or by calling (800) 830-3976.

This is the first such event of 2012 sponsored by the Trigger Agency. Others are coming to Atlanta (March 3), Timonium, MD (March 23-24), Charlotte, NC (May 12), Richmond, VA (June 9), National Harbor, MD (June 15-16), Cary, NC (August 3-4), Nashville, TN (November 3). Details on those also are available online.

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Posted by on December 20, 2011 in Beer Event, Cuisine, Distillers