Farm-to-table, craft beer, local vineyards. It’s only natural that distilling is seeing a rebirth of locally owned, locally operated options. Distilling has a long history in our country, most of it legal, some of it not. But we would venture to say that at no time has the quality, variety and accessibility of locally produced spirits been better. From bucolic farms that put new meaning behind the expression grain-to-glass, to trail blazing independents who are helping reclaim parts of our city that have been yearning for attention, distilleries are more than just a drinking spot, they’re a vibrant part of our community dynamic. In the pages that follow are a dozen local options for stopping, sipping and sharing in their story. Visit them and enjoy.
A. Smith Bowman Distillery
1 Bowman Dr., Fredericksburg, VA; 540-373-4555; www.asmithbowman.com
Flagships: Bowman Brothers Small Batch Bourbon, John J. Bowman Single Barrel Bourbon, George Bowman Rum, Deep Run Vodka and Sunset Hills Gin. Abraham Bowman Limited Edition Whiskey and the A. Smith Bowman Experimental Series.
Awards: From the World Whiskies Award – World’s Best Bourbon 2016 for the Abraham Bowman Limited Edition – Port Finished Bourbon. John J. Bowman Single Barrel received 93 points from the Beverage Tasting Institute 2016.
What to Expect: Located just a few miles off I-95, is the historic A. Smith Bowman Distillery. With roots dating back to the repeal of Prohibition, Abram Smith Bowman and his sons relocated to Virginia, continuing a family tradition with the distillation of exceptional bourbon whiskey. As a small and family owned company, A. Smith Bowman Distillery continues the time-honored traditions on which it was founded, by producing an assortment of hand-crafted spirits distilled from only the finest natural ingredients. This micro-distillery focuses on the production of premium bourbon and other spirits, honoring the pioneering legacy of Virginia’s first settlers.
Hours: Complimentary tours depart on the hour Monday –Saturday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Gift shop remains open until 5 p.m.
Belmont Farm Distillery
13490 Cedar Run Rd., Culpeper, VA; 540-825-3207; www.belmontfarmdistillery.com
Flagships: Virginia Lightning Corn Whiskey and our Kopper Kettle Virginia Whiskey.
Awards: Kopper Kettle Silver Award, Virginia Lightning first place and Virginia Lightning Apple Pie second place at ADI.
What to Expect: Until 30 years ago, whiskey for popular consumption had been made in column stills, handling thousands of gallons per hour. Only at our family owned and operated Belmont Farm, our whiskey is produced in a genuine solid copper pot still like our forefathers in the hills of VA. While others may be flooding the market, our pot still whiskey is slow and handled with care, to preserve all of the aroma and taste of a fine fresh whiskey. Our copper pot still is truly the secret of our whiskey!
Hours: We close for the season on the second Saturday in December, but are open for tastings and tours again after the first Saturday in April Tuesday through Saturday 11-4p.m. (closed Monday, Sunday and Holidays). Tours are every 20 minutes starting on the top of the hour. (Last tour will start 20 minutes before closing).
184 Log Canoe Circle, Stevensville, MD; 443-249-3123; www.blackwaterdistilling.com
Flagships: Picaroon Maryland Rum, Sloop Betty Handcrafted Vodka.
Awards: Sloop Betty: 3 Gold Medals including Best Vodka (New York World Wine & Spirits Competition). Picaroon Gold: Silver Medal Picaroon White: Bronze Medal and Picaroon Overproof: Silver Medal (NYWWSC)
What to Expect: Located an hour from DC just across the Bay Bridge, Blackwater Distilling™, is Maryland’s premiere and most awarded craft distillery. Join us for an approximately 45 minute tour and tasting to learn all about the art and science behind our rums, vodkas, and small batch whiskies.
Hours: $5 tours and tastings seven days a week 12-5 p.m. on the hour, last one at 4 p.m. No appointments needed. Contact [email protected] to set up a group tour outside of regular hours. Use code ONTAP for a 50 percent discount off your group reservation. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/blackwaterdistilling, on Instagram at @blackwaterspirits, and on Twitter at @BlackwaterTM.
Catoctin Creek Distillery
120 W. Main St., Purcellville, VA; 540-751-8404; www.catoctincreek.com
Flagships: Roundstone Rye, Watershed Gin and Mosby’s Spirit.
Awards: Over 23 medals for our spirits (6 Gold!) and 21 company medals and awards. For more, visit www.catoctincreek.com and choose awards under the “About Us” tab.
What to Expect: Enjoy Catoctin’s intimate location in a beautifully restored historic building, where you can get a free tour of our operations and enjoy flights of whisky, brandy, and cocktails. Founded in 2009 as the first legal distillery in Loudoun County since before Prohibition, we are located in beautiful Purcellville, Virginia, in the heart of the Loudoun Valley. At Catoctin Creek, we believe in high quality food and spirits. Organic means higher quality: grain and fruit, sourced locally when possible, free of pesticides and chemical additives that would come through in the spirits we produce. Sure, it is more difficult to produce organically, but the results speak for themselves.
Tasting Room Hours: Open Tuesday through Thursday 1 – 5 p.m., Friday 1 – 7 p.m., Saturday 12 – 7 p.m. and Sunday 1 – 6 p.m. Tours are free and conducted at five minutes past the hour. We still encourage you to make a reservation.
Copper Fox Distillery
901 Capitol Landing Road, Williamsburg, VA; 757-903-2076
9 River Lane, Sperryville, VA 22740; 540-987-8554; www.copperfox.biz
Flagships: Wasmund’s Single Malt Whisky, Copper Fox Rye Whisky, Vir Gin, and Limited Edition “Blue Top” Whiskies.
Awards: Wasmund’s Single Malt Whisky 94.5 points, Jim Murray’s 2015 Whisky Bible and named best Virginia distilled spirit by Playboy 2015. Copper Fox Rye Whisky BTI Gold Medal 94 points and 2016 Virginia Living “Best of Virginia” award.
What to Expect: Visit our newest location and experience how founder and Master Distiller Rick Wasmund is transforming the former Lord Paget motel complex in Virginia’s Historic Triangle. At Copper Fox we dedicate ourselves to making great American spirits through a combination of innovation and tradition. We start from scratch, floor malting our locally grown barley, then dry and flavor the grain with apple and cherry wood smoke and age with hand toasted wood chips in used bourbon barrels.
Hours: Free tours are offered on the half hour: Mon. -Sat. 10a.m.-6p.m., Sun. 1-6p.m. Tastings and products are available for purchase at both of our locations. Seasonal cocktails available in Williamsburg. We will be closed on 11/24, 12/25 and 1/1/2017.
10381 Central Park Dr., Suite 105, Manassas, VA; 571-292-1115; www.kodistilling.com
Flagships: Battle Standard 142 Gins (Navy Strength, Standard Strength, Barrel Finished), Virginia Moon White Whiskey, and Bare Knuckle American Wheat Whiskey, a wheat whiskey aged for 1 year. Small batch rye whiskey and bourbon aging in barrels on-site.
Awards: 2016 MicroLiquor Awards Competition — Battle Standard 142 Gin (Barrel Finished): Gold Medal. 2016 New York World Wine & Spirits Competition — Battle Standard 142 Gin (Barrel Finished): Silver Medal. 2016 Beverage Testing Institute (BTI) — Virginia Moon White Whiskey: Silver Medal (89 score). 2016 American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA) Competition — Virginia Moon White Whiskey: Silver Medal. 2015 New York International Spirits Competition — Moonshine Distillery of the Year. 2015-2016 Five Bronze Medals
What to Expect: Located in the historic City of Manassas, our 12,000 sq ft facility has a state-of-the-art distilling plant featuring a 550-gallon copper pot still, 4,000 sq ft for oak barrel storage and a top-notch copper and oak-themed 2,500 sq ft visitors center for guided tours, tastings, product sales and special events.
Hours: We are open to the public: Thurs 1-6 p.m.; Fri 1-7 p.m.; Sat 12-7 p.m.; and Sun 1-6 p.m. Also available by appointment. Come on by, it’ll be worth the visit!
Mt. Defiance Cidery & Distillery
207 W. Washington St., Middleburg, VA; 540-687-8100; www.mtdefiance.com
Flagships: Mt. Defiance rum (white, amber and dark), Absinthe, Apple Brandy, and Liqueurs (cassis, amaretto, and almond).
What to Expect: Located in lovely Middleburg, Virginia, Mt. Defiance Distillery focuses on the revival of classic spirits that have their roots in both Colonial America and Europe. Visitors can sample and purchase hard cider and spirits, including flights of rum cocktails (weekends only) and absinthe prepared in the traditional fashion using our six-spout absinthe fountain. We also sell a full line of absinthe accouterments; spoons, glasses, carafes and fountains.
Hours: 12 p.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday – Sunday, closed Mondays.
New Columbia Distillers
1832 Fenwick St. NE, DC; 202-733-1710; www.greenhatgin.com
Flagships: Green Hat Gin, Green Hat Spring/Summer Gin, Green Hat Fall/Winter Gin (“Ginavit”), Green Hat Navy Strength Gin, New Columbia Summer Cup, Capitoline White, Rose and Dry Vermouths.
Awards: Gold Medal (SF World Spirits Competition) for Spring/Summer Gin; Silver Medal (Intl Review of Spirits) for Green Hat Gin; Silver Medal (American Craft Spirits Assn) for Fall/Winter Gin; Best of Category (American Distilling Inst.) Navy Strength Gin.
What to Expect: A working industrial vibe with vinyl playing and handmade cocktails on offer. No charge for tastings or tours. Friendly and relaxed.
Hours: Saturdays 1 – 4 p.m.
Springfield Manor Winery & Distillery
11836 Auburn Rd., Thurmont, MD; 301-271-0099; www.springfieldmanor.com
Flagships: Springfield Manor Brandy, Patriot Rum, Grappa, Lavender Gin, Bourbon, Maryland rye whiskey, Caramel corn whiskey
What to Expect: Beautiful family operated 135 acre historic estate. Our Country Inn hosts weddings, events, overnight stays and much more! Winery and Distillery located in restored bank barn. Our beautiful Bavarian Still crafts spirits onsite and our tasting room features beautiful terraces, intimate indoor seating and a large rustic chic event space for up to 150 guests. Come visit today!
Hours: Come join us Thursday through Sunday from noon to 6 p.m., with additional hours for special events.
One Eight Distilling
1135 Okie St. NE, DC; 202-636-ONE8; www.oneeightdistilling.com
Flagships: Rock Creek Rye and White Whiskeys, Ivy City Gin and Ivy City Barreled Gin, District Made Vodka and the Untitled series of small batch spirits.
What to Expect: Representing the nation’s capital with sophisticated, hand-crafted spirits served from an industrial-chic tasting room. The winner of multiple medals, One Eight Distilling is the only distillery in DC making vodka from grain to glass and the first to distill and bottle a whiskey in DC since Prohibition. The distillery is also available to rent for private functions and events.
Hours: Open to the public for tours and tastings on Saturdays from 1-8 p.m. and by private appointment.
Twin Valley Distillers
711 E Gude Dr., Rockville, MD; 240-421-1115; www.twinvalleydistillers.com
Flagships: Seneca Bay white rum, Seneca Bay rum (aged), Norbeck vodka, Twin Valley distillers bourbon, Twin valley corn whiskey (gluten free) and Twin Valley distillers clear whiskey.
What to Expect: In two words…MARYLAND AUTHENTIC. We are truly YOUR local distillery. Founder Edgardo Zuniga, after living in Montgomery County for over 10 years felt compelled “to keep the business in his local area.” Using the culinary “farm to table” concept, Twin Valley Distillers partners with local businesses and farmers in sourcing all grain and raw products within a 50 mile radius. Grains are recycled back to local farms for animal feed. Our mission is to restore Maryland’s liquor making legacy one bottle at a time. To date, we have produced the first bourbon to be made from start to finish in Maryland. If high quality, fine taste and exclusive spirits are what you seek, then we have the answer in our products!!
Hours: Hours for tasting are Thursday and Friday 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday noon to 5 p.m. We also offer private classes on the production and distillation of alcohol and on opening and operating a micro distillery.