31-07-2014

Welcome to August! A note about 'craft' spirits.

There was a rather large flurry this week when The Daily Beast broke a story on how much of the craft whisky in the market today comes from a single mega-factory in Indiana.  Not usually ones to wade into controversy, we did receive a ton of questions, and if you're interested, you can read my statement on this controversy, here.

Suffice it to say that Catoctin Creek has always been a made-from-scratch brand, and always will be!  Why?  Because that's what we love to do:  making the finest craft organic spirits, from scratch, just for you!

 

Big news month! New bottling line and we're now in Massachusetts!

Bottling Line July was a great month for us!  We finally received our new bottling line, which will allow us to bottle a heck of a lot more (that's a scientific amount) of whisky, brandy and gin.  Why?  Because we are continuing to expand our markets, and our newest foray is into Massachusetts.  We see lots of opportunity in New England, and felt that now was the right time to enter the state.

Rest assured, dear Catoctin Creek fans, we will still continue the much beloved bottling workshops!  They are so much fun, and people enjoy them so much, that we'll continue to do them on a quasi-monthly basis.  Just stay tuned to our newsletters, and you'll always be in the know!

 

Come and learn about our super popular barrel-aged maple syrup!

Langdon WoodIf you've been to our tasting room, you've almost certainly sampled that divine barrel-aged maple syrup. Well, now you can come and meet the maker of this wonderful syrup, the wonderful Art Drauglis!

Art lives and works in DC, but will be with us one day to meet and greet with the customers, and answer questions about his wonderful maple syrup. He'll be in the tasting room on Sunday the 23rd of August, from 1-6pm. We'll have maple-syrup based cocktails and all syrup will be 10% off that day!

See you Sunday!!!

What: Meet the Maker - Art from Langdon Wood
Where: Catoctin Creek Distillery
120 W. Main St.
Purcellville, Virginia
When: Sunday, August 23, 2014
1:00pm - 6:00pm
Price:

Regular tasting room prices

10% off Langdon Wood Syrup bottles

 

August is Epicurience Month!

We have three AWESOME events lined up at the end of August for you!  Here they are:

Cork Wine Bottle

Grand Tasting at Morven Park

Click here to learn more and register!

At the very heart of Epicurience Virginia, the Grand Tasting is a culinary adventure like no other. This day-long edible showcase brings farm-to-table food, award-winning wines, notable chefs, live bands, and lots of other delicious diversions to the grounds of gorgeous Morven Park.  Guests of the Grand Tasting will experience a whirlwind of activity options in Leesburg’s picturesque garden estate, from chef demos and wine seminars and pop-up wine shops.  (Pssst! Catoctin will be there with a GORGEOUS specialty cocktail for the day!)

  • Sip! There’ll be a multitude of unique Virginia wines to sample from boutique producers and master winemakers.
  • Taste! From cheese makers to pie bakers, celebrated chefs to artisanal producers, the grand tasting tent will feature delectable samples of perfectly paired local cuisines.
  • Learn! Seminars will run throughout the day in the Education Tent, schooling visitors on all things Virginia wine – grape varietals, growing conditions, tasting notes, and more.
  • Watch! Some of the region’s best chefs will slice, dice, and showcase their talents in the Chef Demonstration Tent. Talented toques from 2013′s event included Chef Kazuhiro Okochi of KAZ Sushi Bistro and Chef Roberto Donna of Al Dente Ristorante demonstrating their kitchen prowess.
  • Shop! There’ll be glasses, bottles, and other wine swag for sale so tasters can take some Virginia wine home or share a bottle with friends and family on the lawn.

The Fab 40's at Oatlands

1940's Party at Oatlands

Click here to learn more and register!

$95 per person for Fabulous 1940s themed, tented party at Oatlands!  Featuring Doc Scantlin's Palmettos, cocktails by Catoctin Creek, wines by Fabbioli Cellars, and food by Magnolias at the Mill.  Ticket includes an evening of music and dancing, two drink tickets, and heavy hors d'oeuvres.  1940s style attire welcome, but not required.

Magnolia's

Catoctin Creek Cocktail Dinner at Magnolia's

Click here to learn more and register!

Please join Catoctin Creek as we invite you to a delicious four course dinner at Magnolia's at the Mill.  Our dinner will begin at 6:30pm at Catoctin Creek Distillery, as Scott and Becky, founders of the distillery, greet you with warm smiles and cool cocktails.  We'll tour the distillery and describe for you the magic behind the whisky business.  This sets the stage perfectly for the second part of the evening:  dinner!

After your private tour of the distillery, we'll walk together a short stroll to Magnolia's, where the table will be set for a delicious four course dinner, expertly paired with Catoctin Creek cocktails designed by Magnolia's.  Scott and Becky will join you for dinner, as we describe for you the intricacies of pairing cocktails with meals.  It will be a wonderful August evening!

 

Upcoming Events

There are a variety of great events planned for the month that should prove entertaining and educational:

  • August 15 - Buncearoo Concert - Come and see Callaghan, a beautiful artist from the UK.
  • August 16 - Guest Bartender Series - Josh McCabe from the Hamilton mixes it up with cool, seasonal fruit cocktails.
  • August 22 - Dinner at the Distillery - Another wonderful Wandering Chef dinner, with awesome cocktail pairings.
  • August 23 - Meet the Maker - Art Drauglis of Langdon Wood Maple Syrup is in our tasting room!
  • August 30 - Epicurience Grand Tasting - Catoctin will be pouring at Morven Park at this festival of food!
  • August 30 - 1940's Party at Oatlands - After the Morven Park event, join us for an evening of dancing and cocktails, 1940's style!
  • August 31 - Catoctin Dinner at Magnolia's - Chef Carp and the gang at Magnolia's have cooked up a lovely menu with cocktails too!

For the full list of events, check our events page.

 

 

Cocktail of the Month – Pêche de Mode

Peche de modeThis cocktail was our feature cocktail at Tales of the Cocktail 2014 in New Orleans.  Another creation of our wonderful brand ambassador, Chad Robinson, this is a new take on an old fashioned.

2 oz Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye 92-proof
1/2 barspoon molasses (about 1/2 teaspoon)
1/2 barspoon superfine sugar
4 dashes Fee Brothers peach bitters
Lemon peel for garnish

Add molasses and sugar to the bottom of a mixing glass. Add bitters and stir to start to incorporate the bitters, sugar and molasses. Add rye whiskey and stir until the sugar has completely dissolved. Fill the mixing glass with ice and stir until cold. Strain into a double old fashioned or rocks glass with a large cube of ice. Peel a strip of lemon and express the oils over the top of the cocktail and discard the lemon peel.

Courtesy Chad Robinson.

See this cocktail and over one hundred more on our cocktails page.

 

In Closing...

As always, there are lots of fun and information on our Facebook and Twitter pages, where you can stay up to date with the daily activities at the distillery. We do tours and tastings every day, so stop by and see us sometime!

Cheers!
Scott & Becky

31-07-2014

July 31, 2014, Purcellville, VA – Catoctin Creek is now available in Massachusetts through Blueprint Brands and the Craft Beer Guild and will soon be available at fine restaurants, bars, and retail stores throughout the state.

"We are thrilled to expand our distribution on the east coast of the United States.  Distribution in Massachusetts is a great next step in our efforts to grow our brand from its current mid-Atlantic region,"  said Scott Harris, founder of Catoctin Creek Distilling Company.  "We've had so much interest in our spirits in the New York region, that our distributor was anxious to get us into Massachusetts as well!"

"We are pleased to add Catoctin Creek to our portfolio of craft beer, spirits, and beverages," says Jay Frary, General Manager for Blueprint Brands, a division of L. Knife and Sons. "The handmade spirits from Catoctin Creek are well-recognized for their organic and boutique quality. They have done well in New York, and we were delighted to now take them into Massachusetts."

Currently, the following spirits will be available in Massachusetts:

  • Catoctin Creek Organic Roundstone Rye
  • Catoctin Creek Organic Roundstone Rye "92 Proof"
  • Catoctin Creek Organic Roundstone Rye "Cask Proof" (based on seasonal availability)
  • Catoctin Creek Organic Mosby's Spirit
  • Catoctin Creek Organic Watershed Gin

About Catoctin Creek Distilling Company:  Catoctin Creek Distilling Company (120 West Main Street, Purcellville, VA 20132; Phone: 540-751-8404; Twitter: @CatoctinCreek) is the first distillery in Loudoun County Virginia since before prohibition. Certified organic and kosher, and family owned and operated, Catoctin Creek produces premium spirits: rye whisky and gin from organic sources, brandy from Virginia wines, and seasonal brandy. Catoctin Creek prides itself on offering high-quality and organic spirits. For media-related inquiries, please contact Kyle Schmitz at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or for more information on Catoctin Creek Distilling Company please visit www.catoctincreek.com.

29-07-2014

New Transparency in Craft Production Revealed. 

A Note from Scott Harris, Founder of Catoctin Creek.

It is not usually my intention to post scandalous content to this newsletter.  We try to maintain a to each their own attitude in our business, and don't often wade into controversial topics.

However, we've been overrun with comments about the recent article in The Daily Beast entitled, "Your 'Craft' Rye Whiskey is Probably from a Factory Distillery in Indiana."  In the article, Eric Felten reveals to the public what was commonly known in the industry: that most whiskey in the USA being sold as craft is, in fact, nothing of the sort:  It is big whiskey, made by a company called MGP in Indiana, charading as a hand-made product.

[MGP] products are well-made, but hardly what one thinks of as artisanal. And yet, much of the whiskey now being sold as the hand-crafted product of micro-distilleries actually comes from this one Indiana factory.

Upstart spirits companies selling juice they didn’t distill rarely advertise the fact. But there are ways to tell: whiskey aged longer than a distillery has been in business is one of the telltale signs that the “distiller” is actually just bottling someone else’s product. ... So how do you open a distillery one year and have 5- or 15-year-old whiskey to sell the next? Not by making it.

You can read the full article from The Daily Beast, here.  Now, we rarely wade into these debates, but I will say three things:

(1) We prefer transparency.  There are a number of producers like High West and Smooth Ambler who have openly stated on their products that they are sourcing whiskey, curating a rare set of barrels, and in some cases blending them to make something finer.  Transparency is good, and I applaud those companies and enjoy their products. 

(2) Lying hurts consumers and producers.  Whiskey brands that pretend to be craft, but simply bottle the big-boy juice have been deceptive, and it abuses the public trust and denigrates those of us who are doing things by hand.

(3) Catoctin makes our own whiskey.  We work very hard to make our own whisky from scratch.  You can know that each and every bottle of Catoctin Creek has been handmade by Becky Harris and Greg Moore.  Don't believe us?  Come and visit any day of the week and see for yourself.  As I like to say, "I didn't give up a perfectly good day job, with excellent pay and benefits, to BOTTLE whisky."  I wanted to MAKE whisky, and make whisky is what we do.

It was very nice to have The Daily Beast give us, and a few notable others, a shout-out as true producers.  We really appreciate that:

Which isn’t to say that no one succeeds in actually making their own craft-distilled whiskey. In addition to Leopold Bros. in Colorado, there are distillers such as Few in Evanston, Illinois, Catoctin Creek in Virginia, and Hudson Whiskey in New York state making good young rye from scratch.

So, next time you reach for that bottle of craft whisky, turn it around.  Look at the back.  Does it say "DISTILLED BY XXXX"?  If it does, rest assured that those guys MADE your whiskey.  If it says "CRAFTED/HANDMADE/BOTTLED/PRODUCED BY"... well, you're most likely buying the same Indiana juice sold all over the USA.  It may be good, but I wouldn't pay more for it thinking it is craft.

--Scott

28-07-2014

Distillery expands bottling capacity ten-fold to allow future growth and new opportunities.

Bottling LineJuly 28, 2014, Purcellville, VA – Catoctin Creek Distilling Company has installed a new semi-automated bottling line.  The system, manufactured by Liquid Packaging Solutions of LaPorte, Indiana, is 100% American-made and will allow the distillery to greatly increase their bottling capacity.

"This is a big improvement in our overall production process," said Becky Harris, President, Distiller, and Chief of Production.  "While we have spare production capacity in our potstills and fermenters, our bottling capacity was quickly becoming an issue.  It was literally the bottleneck in our process."

The new bottling system will allow the distillery to bottle approximately 10,000 or more bottles per month, a dramatic increase over current production.  Further, the distillery will now have the capacity to offer bottling services to local beverage producers (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic).

The award-winning distillery has become known for its community volunteer bottling days, and while the new equipment will allow the distillery to bottle the majority of their products more quickly, they still plan to host bottling workshops on a quasi-monthly basis.

Bottling Line

"Since we started five years ago, the bottling workshops have been a fun way to connect with customers and to provide a hands-on experience for our fans," said Scott Harris, Founder of the distillery. "For that reason, we will continue to do them.  The workshops are so much fun, and we get a lot of positive feedback from people when we do them."

The bottling line should be fully operational by the end of the month.  Look for the new bottling line to be included on tours starting this weekend.

About Catoctin Creek Distilling Company:  Catoctin Creek Distilling Company (120 West Main Street, Purcellville, VA 20132; Phone: 202-827-4595; Twitter: @CatoctinCreek) is the first distillery in Loudoun County Virginia since before prohibition. Certified organic and kosher, and family owned and operated, Catoctin Creek produces premium spirits: rye whisky and gin from organic sources, brandy from Virginia wines, and seasonal brandy. Catoctin Creek prides itself on offering high-quality and organic spirits. For media-related inquiries, please contact Kyle Schmitz at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or for more information on Catoctin Creek Distilling Company, please visit www.catoctincreek.com.

30-06-2014

Fireworks

Welcome to July!  Happy Birthday, America!

And WHAT could be more American than hand-crafted whisky?  We go together like Mom and apple pie! (And both Mom and apple pie could use a slug or two of Roundstone Rye from time to time-- am I right?)

We're very happy to have summer fully upon us.  We have so many events planned this month, it's almost hard to keep up!  Have a look below and join us at the distillery soon!

Great Reviews in June for Roundstone Rye and Mosby's Spirit

In June, we received two FANTASTIC reviews from Whisky Bible and Whisky Advocate, two of the world's leading authorities on all things whisky.

Jim Murray's Whisky Bible 2014 (10th Anniversary Edition), reviewed Roundstone Rye Cask Proof (batch B12E1), and scored it an 88.5!  The review, as these tend to be, was all over the place, like a big happy golden retriever puppy:  The rye is chaotic, unexpected, youthful, crazy, and yet, still totally loveable:

"A truly huge rye... Through a combination of sheer delicious belligerence and chutzpah has your taste buds swooning. Great fun!"

Lew Bryson, in the summer 2014 issue of Whisky Advocate, (re-)reviews Mosby's Spirit, our beautiful unaged rye spirit, and gives it a score of 82:

"The second craft rye I'm revisiting. Mosby's is still 100% organic rye and unaged, but the nose is more fun: some green pear and melon esters in there with the grassy rye spice. It's nicely smooth on the tongue, delivers exactly what the nose promised, plus a shot of fresh-cracked black pepper...and a much longer finish these days. Greatly improved; a good white whisky."

Dinner at Catoctin Creek

DessertHave you seen this dinner for a while now, and thought about coming?  Now's the time to join us!  Everyone who's ever come has an amazing time and is delighted with the dinner and cocktail pairings.  Here is the menu to tempt you further (yes, there will also be cocktails!):

Summer Roll of 5 Spice Roasted Duck and Shrimp,
Rice Noodle and Summer Vegetable Salad, Sweet Soy and Ginger Gastrique
~
Our Panzanella Salad with Fresh Baked Foccacia:
Red Onions, Arugula, Roasted Red Peppers, Local Tomatoes and Basil Puree
~
Cajun Rubbed Pork Tenderloin
Wild Rice Pilaf with Lothar’s Andouille Sausage and Fresh Corn, Slow Roasted Pork Belly in Fennel Chutney Glaze
~
Rustic Tart of Roasted Local Peaches,
With Ricotta and Lemon, Cinnamon-Vanilla Chantilly Cream

Find out more at http://catoctincreekdistilling.com/events/820-catoctin-cocktail-dinner.

Guest Bartender Series - Donato Alvarez from Sixth Engine

Donato AlvarezIn July, we welcome Donato Alvarez of Sixth Engine to our tasting room.  We are now in our seventh month of this Second Saturday tradition.  Each month, we invite one guest bartender from around the area to join us for a day to highlight three special cocktails using Catoctin Creek spirits. Tastings that day will include these wonderful creations for the regular price of $10 per flight, and Donato will be available most of the day for people to meet him, ask him questions, and generally have a great time!

What: Guest Bartender Series - Donato Alvarez
Where: Catoctin Creek Distillery
120 W. Main St.
Purcellville, Virginia
When: Saturday, July 12, 2014
12:00pm - 4:00pm-ish
Price: $10 for a flight of three cocktail tastings

 

Upcoming Events

There are a variety of great events planned for the month that should prove entertaining and educational:

  • July 12 - Guest Bartender - We welcome Donato Alvarez from Sixth Engine to our tasting room!
  • July 14 - Sip & Sew - Local artisans team up, or "sewing under the influence!"
  • July 18 - Loudoun Chamber Mixer - Meet fellow businesses while sipping a cocktail and enjoying light snacks in our tasting room.
  • July 18 - Buncearoo Concert - We present Taylor Carson!  Live!
  • July 25 - Dinner at the Distillery - Our ever popular monthly dinner!  Join us!

For the full list of events, check our events page.

Cocktail of the Month – Rye Tye

Rye TyeThis was the feature cocktail by Catoctin Creek at the RAMMYS 2014.  We were honored to have been named finalists in the Best Producer category, and to celebrate, Chad Robinson created a specialty cocktail just for the event.  Think Mai Tai but with rye!   You'd never guess there wasn't rum in this drink!

1 oz Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye
1 oz Catoctin Creek Mosby's Spirit
¾ oz lime juice
½ oz Pierre Ferrand dry Curaçao
¼ oz Fee Brothers Orgeat syrup
¼ part rich simple syrup (2 parts sugar, 1 part water)
Mint and lime garnish

Shake ingredients together and strain into an ice filled glass.  Garnish with lime and a sprig of mint.

Courtesy Chad Robinson.

See this cocktail and over one hundred more on our cocktails page.

In Closing...

As always, there are lots of fun and information on our Facebook and Twitter pages, where you can stay up to date with the daily activities at the distillery. We do tours and tastings every day, so stop by and see us sometime!

Cheers!
Scott & Becky

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