Photo: DJ Glisson II

Distilling in the DMV: A Guide to Local Distilleries

It’s almost that time of year: the leaves start to change color, the days get shorter and people break out their sweaters for the first time in months. The glorious season that is autumn is returning. If you’re like us, you’ve been avoiding as many outdoor activities in the sweltering heat as possible. The good news is cooler days are soon to come, which means it’s time to venture outdoors and check out one of the many distilleries throughout the DMV.

If you’re a spirits lover or just looking to change up your usual brewery or winery outing, our list below has a distillery for everyone. From Green Hat Gin at New Columbia Distillers to Cigar Blend Bourbon at Jos. A. Magnus & Co., the options are endless. Whether you’re in the mood to visit a bustling, urban distillery like Founding Spirits or the scenic countryside at Springfield Manor, check out what the DC area and beyond has to offer. So pick a spot, kick back and relax this fall with a refreshing drink.

Catoctin Creek1Catoctin Creek Distilling Company
120 W. Main St. Purcellville, VA
540-751-8404 |
Approaching a decade in business, Catoctin Creek Distilling Company was founded by husband and wife duo Becky and Scott Harris in historic downtown Purcellville, Virginia. As the first legal distillery since prohibition in Virginia’s Loudoun County, Catoctin Creek honors the agrarian character of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the heritage of Virginia distilling. The Harris’ source local and organic ingredients to craft a variety of small-batch spirits, including their flagship Roundstone Rye, which holds distinction as Virginia’s most awarded whisky. For more information, including tasting and tours, visit Catoctin Creek online.

Copper Fox1Copper Fox Distillery
901 Capitol Landing Rd. Williamsburg, VA
540-987-8554 |
Copper Fox Distillery was founded by Rick Wasmund in 2005 with the idea of making whisky differently. At Copper Fox, they start from scratch – floor-malting locally grown barley, flavoring the grain with a variety of fruitwood smoke, then aging and finishing with a progressive series of hand toasted wood chips in used bourbon barrels. Visit them at one, or both of their unique locations and experience the whisky making process first hand. Their Sperryville distillery is housed in a rustic converted cider mill in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains just seven miles from the Thornton River Gap entrance to Shenandoah National Park. Or visit their newest location and experience the transformation of the former Lord Paget motel complex in Virginia’s Historic Triangle, located one-half mile from the Colonial Williamsburg Visitor Center. They invite you to tour, taste and experience the flavor journey that never ends.

Dida's Distillery1Dida’s Distillery & Rappahannock Cellars
14437 Hume Rd. Huntly, VA
540-635-9398 |
Gold-medal winning spirits made 100 percent from grape, Dida’s distill their vodka, brandy and gin from their Virginia wines, made at their Virginia farm winery and distillery – Rappahannock Cellars and Dida’s Distillery. Rated “Virginia Brandy Distillery of the Year” by the New York Intl. Spirits Competition, they’re located seven miles south of Front Royal on Route 522, a short one-hour drive from DC/NoVA. Come experience their world-class wines, spirits and craft cocktails all in the same building. Plan a day trip to visit other nearby wineries, distilleries, breweries, the Skyline Drive and other local attractions.

Dragon Distillery1Dragon Distillery
1341 Hughes Ford Rd. Suite 108, Frederick, MD
888-678-3724 |
Visit Frederick, Maryland to experience the unique distillery that is Dragon Distillery. With a large product portfolio, there is certainly something for everyone, including several flagships like Basilisk Bourbon, Dragon Dog Rye, Fannie Tutt Lemon Meringue Moonshine and Canned Cocktails. Dragon is Frederick’s first and largest distillery and records a number of other firsts, including Maryland’s first distillery/brewery collaboration (with Flying Dog Brewery) and Maryland’s first canned cocktails. There is ample free parking and Dragon Distillery can be found directly across from Frederick’s Airport.

Falls Church DistillersFalls Church Distillers
442 S. Washington St. Suite A, Falls Church, VA
703-858-9186 |
You strive to live life to the fullest and demand satisfaction from all you experience, you yearn to breathe everything deeply into your soul and appreciate the resulting sensations – this is how the Paluzzi family lives and how they distill their spirits. Their spirits are meant to be sipped, with each drop lingering on the pallet for a fully enjoyable sensation. Falls Church Distillers is an award-winning distillery located in the Virginia suburbs just outside of the nation’s capital. As a uniquely licensed distillery, you are invited to stay awhile, enjoy a wonderful meal, plentiful and varied libations and all in the craft environment that is a small batch distillery.

Founding Spirits1Founding Spirits
600 Massachusetts Ave. NW, DC
202-798-6007 |
Founding Spirits is an award-winning distillery located in the heart of the nation’s capital. Enjoy a special sneak peek into their small-batch distilling process every Saturday with tours and tastes which include behind-the-scenes of the distillery itself along with tastes of their spirits. As Founding Spirits distillery is located within Farmers & Distillers restaurant, they encourage you to stay for a meal in the main dining room before or after your tour.

Jos A Magnus1Jos. A. Magnus & Co.
2052 West Virginia Ave. NE, DC
202-450-3518 |
In 1892, Joseph Alexander Magnus set out to create the world’s greatest whiskeys, gins and other spirits through the founding of Jos. A. Magnus & Co., and in doing so, became one of the most successful pre-prohibition spirits producers in the nation. Joseph Magnus silenced his stills when Prohibition came knocking until a bottle of 122-year-old bourbon was discovered by Joseph’s great grandson. The journey then began to bring back “remarkable spirits for remarkable people.” Proudly re-established in 2015 in DC, Jos. A. Magnus & Co. produces award winning bourbon, gin and vodka and has garnered the nation’s top awards including 2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition double gold medals for Joseph Magnus Cigar Blend Bourbon and Murray Hill Club Blended Bourbon, 2018 American Distilling Institute Gold Medal for Joseph Magnus Cigar Blend Bourbon and 2018 World’s Best Navy by World Gin Awards for Vigilant Navy Strength Gin.

KO Distilling1KO Distilling
10381 Central Park Dr. Suite 105, Manassas, VA
571-292-1115 |
Located in the historic City of Manassas, Virginia, KO Distilling operates a 30-foot tall continuous column still and a 550-gallon pot-and-column still to produce an award-winning portfolio of whiskey, bourbon and gin. Visitors can tour KO Distilling’s state-of-the-art distilling plant and barrel room, enjoy spirit tastings in their beautiful copper and oak themed tasting room and purchase bottles for offsite consumption. Their flagships include Bare Knuckle Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Bare Knuckle Straight Wheat Whiskey, Bare Knuckle Straight Rye Whiskey, Bare Knuckle American Whiskey, Battle Standard 142 Navy Strength Gin, Battle Standard 142 Standard Strength Gin and Battle Standard 142 Barrel Finished Gin. Looking to host an event? You can also rent KO Distilling’s Banquet Hall for your next get-together. Come on by, it’s worth the visit.

MISCellaneous1MISCellaneous Distillery
114 South Main St. Mount Airy, MD
240-394-6472 |
MISCellaneous Distillery is an artisan distillery located on Main Street in historic downtown Mount Airy, Maryland. Their bottles are filled with only the best, using ingredients grown on local farms, milled on stone mills from the 1800s and using techniques that invite conversation. Their flagships include Risky Rum, Dew Point Rum, Popi’s Finest Rum, Restless Rye Whisky, Diametric Rye Whisky, Gertrude’s 100% Rye Whisky, Virtuous Vodka and Gregarious Gin and have won numerous awards including for the 2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition where their Risky Rum was awarded gold, Dew Point Rum was awarded silver and their Restless Rye Whisky was awarded bronze. In lieu of charging for tours and tastings, they ask for a $5 donation that they pass along to a nonprofit partner. They also work with a new partner each quarter, raising funds and awareness of the important work of these organizations. Come by and taste what MISCellaneous is all about.

MurLarkey1MurLarkey Distilled Spirits
7961 Gainsford Ct. Bristow, VA
571-284-7961 |
Starting with a meager 23-gallon copper still and a dream, second generation Irish-American cousins Tom Murray and Mike Larkin set out to create a legacy when they established MurLarkey. Distilled in traditional, small-batch, artisan fashion, their spirits are recognized and certified by the American Distilling Institute. Today, MurLarkey produces vodka, gin, aged whiskey and eight types of 100 percent all-natural infused flavored whiskeys including banana, orange, lemon, cinnamon, coffee, cocoa, honey and Three Tea. Based in Prince William Country, they also have locations in DC, Baltimore and Northern Virginia. They also invite spirit lovers to come take a tour of their distillery, sample their spirits and learn about the distilling process.

New Columbia Distillers bottles1New Columbia Distillers
1832 Fenwick St. NE, DC

202-733-1710 |
New Columbia Distillers invites you to kick back and relax with a handmade cocktail while listening to vinyl in their working industrial atmosphere. They encourage a friendly and relaxed atmosphere where you can enjoy any number of their flagship offerings including 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. New Columbia have also won numerous awards for their spirits including a gold medal (SF World Spirits Competition) for their Spring/Summer Gin, a silver medal (Intl Review of Spirits) for their Green Hat Gin, a silver medal (American Craft Spirits Assn.) for their Fall/Winter Gin and a Best of Category (American Distilling Inst.) for their Navy Strength Gin. There is no charge for tastings or tours.

Springfield Manor1Springfield Manor Winery Distillery Brewery
11836 Auburn Rd. Thurmont, MD
301-271-0099 |
Springfield Manor is a 135-acre estate with a convenient route 15 location that backs up to Cunningham Falls for great hiking and recreation. This country inn hosts weddings and seated events for 300 guests, overnight stays and much more. Completing the scenery are lavender fields and crops of corn for crafting farm-to-glass bourbon and rye. When you’re done taking in the natural beauty, visit their restored barn tasting room for intimate indoor and terrace seating. Their flagships include six seasonal craft beers, 12 awarded wines, they’ve been voted Frederick County’s best distillery and are a San Francisco double gold winner for their lavender gin, lavender vodka, straight bourbon, Maryland rye, rum and brandy. Come to taste, stay to enjoy wine, beer, spirit tastings, live music and food.

Virago black background1_650Virago Spirits
1727 Rhoadmiller St. Richmond, VA
804-355-8746 |
Visit the Virago Spirits distillery store in Richmond, Virginia for a taste of craft cocktails and experimental offerings. They specialize in classically inspired, creatively interpreted spirits, focusing on rum, gin, brandy and herbal liqueurs. Their tour features a direct-fire, 2,500-liter Charentais-style alembic still – one of only a few operating in the United States. They also blend a deep respect for time-honored, traditional production techniques with New World creativity, ingenuity and innovation. On a tour, you’ll sample Virago’s signature Four-Port Rum with wonderful, complex and bold notes of vanilla and spice, leading to cascading waves of fig, dried coconut and crème brûlée, culminating in a pleasantly lingering, smoky finish. Virago is open to the public on Thursdays from 3-7 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays 3-9 p.m., and Sunday 12-5 p.m.

Virginia Distillery Co.Virginia Distillery Co.
299 Eades Ln. Lovingston, VA
434-285-2900 |
Virginia Distillery Company is an American single malt whisky distillery located in Central Virginia. Courage & Conviction, their American single malt whisky product, is currently being produced onsite using malted barley from the U.S. and water from Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. The target release date is spring 2020. While it ages, enjoy their Virginia-Highland Whisky series, made from 100 percent malted barley. Virginia Distillery Company marries single malt whisky made onsite in Virginia with aged malt whisky from Scotland. A focus on cask finishing adds depth and complexity. Their visitors center is open for tours and tastings daily. The Virginia Whisky Experience Tour takes you behind the scenes to learn how whisky is made from start to finish.

A. Smith Bowman Distillery: Fredericksburg, Virginia;

Belle Isle Moonshine: Richmond, Virginia;

Belmont Farm Distillery: Culpeper, Virginia;

Blackwater Distilling: Stevensville, Maryland;

Bloomery Plantation Distillery: Charles Town, West Virginia;

Blue Dyer Distilling Co.: Waldorf, Maryland;

Cirrus Vodka: Richmond, Virginia;

Cotton & Reed: Northeast DC;

District Distilling Co.: Northwest DC;

Don Ciccio & Figli: Northwest DC;

Faulkner Branch Cidery & Distilling Co.: Federalsburg, Maryland;

Filibuster Distillery: Maurertown, Virginia;

George Washington’s Distillery and Gristmill: Mount Vernon, Virginia;

Gray Wolf Craft Distilling: Saint Michaels, Maryland;

James River Distillery: Richmond, Virginia;

Lost Ark Distilling: Columbia, Maryland;

Lyon Distilling Company: Saint Michaels, Maryland;

McClintock Distilling: Frederick, Maryland;

Mt. Defiance Cidery & Distillery: Middleburg, Virginia;

Old Line Spirits: Baltimore, Maryland;

One Eight Distilling: Northeast DC;

Patapsco Distilling Company: Sykesville, Maryland;

Ragged Branch: Charlottesville, Virginia;

Reservoir Distilling: Richmond, Virginia;

Sagamore Spirit Distillery: Baltimore, Maryland;

Silverback Distillery: Afton, Virginia;

Skipjack Distilleries: Annapolis, Maryland;

Spirit Lab Distilling: Charlottesville, Virginia;

Tenth Ward Distilling Company: Frederick, Maryland;

Twin Valley Distillers: Rockville, Maryland;

Vitae Spirits Distillery: Charlottesville, Virginia;

White Tiger Distillery: Forest Hill, Maryland;

Woods Mill Distillery: Faber, Virginia;