News

Southern Kitchen: Becky Harris proves whiskey is women's business

Ryan Hughley, writing for Southern Kitchen, does a wonderful story about Becky's journey through whisky as chief distiller for Catoctin Creek.  She writes:

So if you find yourself interested in whiskey, but you’re not a fan of its strong flavor, what’s a girl to do?

Harris recommends starting out with something easy like a whiskey ginger or a good whiskey sour. They are easy, approachable cocktails for those looking to give whiskey a shot (pun intended). Another tip, according to Harris? “If you’re not a spirits drinker, learn to taste spirits neat," she said. "It’s not something most people are comfortable with in the beginning because it’s too strong. The first sip is to acclimate your plate.”

You can read the full story, here.

American Whiskey Mazagine - Editor's Choice!

Huzzah! Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye Cask Proof was named the Editor's Choice, 9.0/8.9 points and the highest rated whiskey in the premier issue of American Whiskey magazine!  A highlight from the review by Rob Allanson:

9.0 Points.
Palate:
  Big sweetness, vanilla and toffee, caramel coated apples. Snickers bars in liquid form, peanut, caramel and milk chocolate. The savory edge of dusty books.
Comments:  Just what you want from a rye - spice punch, tannins and a dusty sweetness.

Get your copy of the magazine, here.  Read the review, here.

American Whiskey Magazine

American Whiskey Magazine

Becky Harris in Food & Wine Magazine

Becky HarrisFood and Wine recently wrote about "6 Women in Whiskey to Watch," including a profile of our own president and chief distiller, Becky Harris.  Becky's fresh approach to whisky is the underlying reason why we introduced Roundstone Rye nine years ago, to bring a new type of whisky to a lot of people who didn't consider themselves whisky drinkers.  Quoting Becky in the article, Ceil Miller Bouchet writes:

Harris encourages new whiskey drinkers – especially women, she says – to trust their taste and not the experts. “Your body chemistry and your individual experience is just as valid as everyone else’s,” she says. “When you like something, that is the one for you. Who cares what the others think?”

This thought follows from our way of thinking at Catoctin Creek:  If everybody is making and consuming the same thing... well, where's the fun in that?

You can read the full article, including profiles of the other women in the story, here.

Catoctin Creek in Better Homes & Gardens

Better Homes & Gardens A wonderful little call-out in the May 2018 issue of Better Homes and Gardens:

A spice-forward tribute to-and from-Virginia, the birthplace of American whiskey.

Absolutely could not have said it better myself!

Becky Harris, The Collaborator - Wine Enthusiast

Becky Harris, Chief DistillerFantastic article in Wine Enthusiast magazine about how Becky Harris, our president and chief distiller, loves to collaborate with local wineries and breweries.  This article, by Kara Newman, highlights our various beer collaborations to produce an interesting range of limited edition, hard-to-find single malt whiskies.  Also highlighted a several other great American distilleries pumping out some great single malt whiskey.

Ms. Newman writes:

To describe her thrifty approach to American single-malt production, Harris references a winemaker’s quip: “We don’t let the fruit hit the ground.” She’s determined not to let raw materials go to waste. “You try to make something out of it, try to salvage it.”

You can read the full article here.

Fodor's list of 11 cool boozy experiences

The equipment at Catoctin Creek

Pretty awesome when Fodor's names Catoctin Creek one of 11 cool boozy experiences, along with Maker's Mark, Bombay Sapphire, Jameson and other distilling heavyweights! We are super delighted to be included for our extremely fun--and always free--bottling workshops. Learn more on our web site or book your spot today.

Fill, seal, cap, and label spirits during monthly bottling workshops at Catoctin Creek Distillery, a Virginia craft producer which makes award-winning spirits in Purcellville, including Roundstone Rye Whiskey and Watershed Gin. Held on a Saturday morning from 10am to noon, the workshops are free, and also start with complementary coffee and doughnuts. After a brief lesson from co-owners Scott and Becky Harris, the volunteer workforce heads to the station of their choosing (not surprisingly, filling the bottles with the “whiskey cow” is always the most popular.) If you want to, follow an empty bottle through all the stations until you’ve capped and sealed it, then sign it and purchase it for yourself or as a gift.

You can book your spot in the bottling workshops, here. And you can read the full Fodor's story, here.

Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye receives outstanding 9.0 review in Paste Magazine

Roundstone Rye 80 Proof

Paste Magazine regularly reviews spirits and beers, and they recently picked up a bottle of Roundstone Rye 80 Proof, our flagship spirit.  Graham Averill writes:

In a world where much of the best whiskey is either made from one of the big-hitters in Kentucky, or sourced from a warehouse in Indiana, it’s refreshing to come across a bottle like Roundstone Rye. There are no shortcuts here. Just craftsmanship. And it shows.

You can read the full review here.

Catoctin scores big in Jim Murray's Whisky Bible 2018

Jim Murray Whisky Bible 2018

We were very pleased to feature so well in the latest edition of Jim Murray's Whisky Bible 2018.  Nearly the entire whisky lineup was featured, with some great commentary about the distillery in general:

Braddock Oak Single Barrel Rye Whisky - 90 pts - ... brilliant delivery of brittle rye and very warming spice ... it is heart-warming to see a distillery dedicated to making rye.

Catoctin Creek Cask Proof Roundstone Rye Whisky - 88 pts - ... the thick rye is matched equally by the oily feints and brooding spice. Chewy and profound.

Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye Single Barrel Whisky - 87 pts - ... The thing that has to be said about Catoctin is the amazing consistency (and close scoring) of their brands ... But, as with the others, no shortage of personality.

Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye Whisky [92 proof] - 88 pts - ... best delivery I have tasted yet from Catoctin where the big rye presences has been nailed ... the rye here really is deliciously on song!

You can order a copy of the Whisky Bible here.

10 Women in Distilling

Becky Harris

Becky was profiled briefly in Epicure and Culture's post on "10 Women in Distilling":

Becky Harris is the chief distiller and co-founder of Catoctin Creek Distilling, the first legal distillery in Loudoun County, Virginia since Prohibition. They make whisky from scratch, using 100% rye that is local and certified kosher. Becky’s background in Chemical and Process Engineering helps her run the whisky-making side of Catoctin Creek, a business which she started with her husband in 2009.

She says, “Many family-run distilleries have women taking care of the business side of the operations and men running the production side. We flipped those roles because our skills fit the opposite assignments”.

You can read the full story, including a cocktail from our pal, Paul Trahan Taylor, here.

We made the New York Times TOP TEN Young Rye Whiskeys!

NY Times StoryAbsolutely stunning!  It is like a dream come true!  

Eric Asimov, writing for the New York Times, does an amazingly in-depth story on the scarcity of old rye whiskey and the excellent choices available in the younger whiskeys of the category.  With over 1300 distilleries now producing in the US, the panel had plenty to judge.

I'm honored that two of the judges were the esteemed David Wondrich and Robert Simonson.  I cannot think of two gentlemen in the industry for whom I have more respect!  I've read (and re-read) their books.  I've met them at Tales in New Orleans.  I fan-boy on these guys, always asking for autographs... So, to have these two judging my spirits, well honestly, it's just humbling.

Notably, all judging was done in a blind panel.  There's no way to be influenced by preconceptions of the spirit or where it's produced, nor the beauty of the label.  It's just the juice.  How good is the juice?

From the story:

Indeed, many of the ryes we tasted didn’t have the assertive rye personality that I’ve come to love. ... The Woodford rye was 53 percent rye, potentially very similar to bourbon. Some of the other ryes in our tasting were 100 percent rye, or very close.

Other ryes reminded us of rum, or tasted overwhelmingly of bananas or were odd in some other way. These tended to come from the craft distillers, who, like craft brewers in the early days of the beer revolution, have yet to achieve precision and reliability in their work.

“It’s like catching this category in the 10th grade,” David [Wondrich] said. “Some have already matured into their adult personas, some are still kids, and others are in transition, not as assured as you want, still hesitant.”

Speaking on the few craft brands in the list, Asimov continues:

Two other craft ryes made our list, the warm, spicy Few from Evanston, Ill., at No. 7 and the fruity, slightly sweet Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye from Purcellville, Va., at No. 9.

You can read the full story, here. I hope you will!

— Scott

Catoctin Creek in Wine Enthusiast Magazine

Wine EnthusiastNice to get a shout-out in Wine Enthusiast magazine this month!  There's a nice feature on what to do for a day or more in Washington, DC.  Here's our bit:

Escape the city for an afternoon in the Virginia countryside.  Start with esoteric, barrel-aged beers like Ortolan Bunting (aged in Armagnac casks) or G/I/A/A IPA (matured in mezcal barrels) at Adroit Theory Brewery.  For lunch nosh on local Angus beef burgers and hand-cut fries at Market Burger Fries & Shakes.  Afterward, head to Catoctin Creek Distilling Company (above), where affable owners Scott and Becky Harris will give you a tour and tasting of their award-winning Roundstone Rye, Watershed Gin and pear brandy.

To read the full story, click here.

Catoctin named in 12 Best in Architectural Digest

Tasting Room at Catoctin Creek

Architectural Digest did an article on the 12 coolest craft distilleries and we were included!  

The first craft distillery built in Virginia’s Loudoun County since the pre-Prohibition era sits in the historic Case Building space (a onetime Buick dealership) on Main Street in the town of Purcellville, an hour west of Washington, D.C. Its industrial-chic tasting room, designed by W. A. Brown & Associates, is lit by 56 Edison bulbs and lots of natural light from the original 1920s windows. It’s the perfect place to taste the brand’s handcrafted rye whiskey, which is faithful to the ingredients and methods commonly used in the region during Prohibition.

Read the full story, here.

Catoctin Creek in Inc Magazine

Inc Magazine 

Inc magazine does a feature on craft distillers, and Catoctin Creek featured in the #3 spot of the 26 distilleries profiled. Coeli Carr writes:

Making distilled spirits is an ancient process, and for 21st-century craft distillers--currently there are about 1,000 of them in the U.S., according to the American Distilling Institute--everything old is new again. And profitable. ADI's annual survey estimates that craft sales moved about 2.4 million cases in 2015, about 40 percent more than the previous year. From 2011 through 2015, segment revenue grew more than 40 percent annually.

Read the full story, here.

The Spirits Business, Top Female Distillers: Becky Harris

Becky Harris

Becky enjoyed more press coverage this week, getting featured in The Spirits Business infographic on top female distillers:

Becky Harris founded the first distillery in Loudoun County, Virginia, since Prohibition with her husband Scott in 2009. Becky’s experience in manufacturing control, as well as her Chemical Engineering degree, made her a natural fit for the role of chief distiller, while Scott, a computer engineer, manages the business. Previously, Becky worked at companies such as Amoco, YDK America, and CIBA, specialising in industrial processes and production systems. At Catocin, a certified kosher distillery, the couple creates a range of whiskeys, ryes, gins and brandies.

Read the full story, here.

Southern Living: 50 People Who Are Changing the South in 2015

Scott and BeckyNothing makes a Monday quite so fine as being named by Southern Living as one of the 50 people changing the South in 2015! Booyah! (Question is, do Becky and I count as one or two people?!) 

This is a magazine that my mother has read since I was a baby, and now, what an honor to be included in it!

We surveyed the region to find the movers-and-shakers who are shaping the South with community-minded ideas and projects. From groundbreaking chefs to designers with a voice, these are the people you’ll want to keep an eye on this year. 

In the middle of Virginia’s wine country, Becky and Scott Harris are making what may be the most Southern of spirits. While many craft spirits claim the title of “handmade,” Catoctin walks the walk with its line of whiskeys, gins, and brandies that are made start-to-finish in [Loudoun] County using locally sourced fruits and rye. Other materials, such as boxes and services, also come from the area, and the team gives back to the land by donating its spent rye mash for cattle farmers to use as livestock feed. Expanding its regional reach, Catoctin creates specialty products for top bartenders and hotels in the Virginia and D.C. area.

Read the full story, here.

Women and Whiskey: Becky on NPR's Morning Edition

Becky at the distilleryThank you Allison Aubrey for working Becky Harris into your story on women in whiskey:

Well, now history is coming full circle. There's a vanguard of new female distillers, blenders and tasters.

From Becky Harris, co-founder of Catoctin Creek distillery in Virginia, to Meredity Grelli of Wigle Whiskey in Pittsburgh, these women are finding success as grain-to-bottle distillers.

Harris says the demand for her eco-ganic, rye whiskey is so strong, she's selling every drop she can produce.

Listen or read the full story, here.

Major Coverage in the Washington Post

Becky gives a tour of Catoctin Creek distilleryWe were overjoyed (over the moon, in fact) at Lavanya Ramanathan's very in depth story on visiting Catoctin Creek.  She really went into depth in her story, covering not only how the spirits are made, but the whole vibe of coming out to Purcellville for a day trip, including even a stop at Market Burger for lunch.  Such a wonderful story!  Here is an excerpt:

Here we see how rye is made: not in giant, impersonal vats somewhere in Indiana, but a few dozen miles from home. Scott explains that the first step to rye, in fact, is making something not unlike a hefeweizen — a primordial stew teeming with grains that must ferment to become alcohol. The distillation happens later, in a fancy copper still, which separates the alcohol from the grainy pulp, known as mash, with heat that turns it to gas. Upon cooling, the gas is returned to its liquid form, which is now that brash stuff known as white whiskey. To become the Roundstone rye that has won the company kudos, it goes into oak barrels to age for at least two years.

Read the entire article, here.

Market Watch - Women behind the still

Market Watch did an interesting piece on a number of women who work at several distilleries across the world, including our own beloved Becky Harris.  Amber Drea writes:

After staying home with her kids for 10 years, the former chemical engineer decided to take on distilling duties, while Scott managed the marketing and sales side. “I’ve always been interested in making things,” Harris explains. It also helped that she had a science background. “This business was Scott’s dream job, so he chose well when we got married 20 years ago,” she jokes.

Read the entire article, here.

Garden and Gun Magazine - Made in the South Awards

Garden and Gun MagazineGarden and Gun is a really cool magazine. Think Southern Living for the hipster generation. Honestly, when I first heard of it, I was intrigued by the name/  Upon closer inspection, I found more and more cool articles within its pages.  I couldn't put it down.

In the December 2010/January 2011 issue, Catoctin Creek was named as a winner in their Made in the South awards. As the cover states, "20 craftsmen, entrepreneurs, and artists who are making things right"! Heck, yeah!

Thanks to Donovan Webster and Haskell Harris (no relation), who wrote the article and supervised the competition.

Read the online G&G story, or our excerpt below from the magazine:

Catoctin Creek Organic Spirits, Purcellville, VA.  After years of plotting his escape from life as a software engineer, Scott Harris finally made his dream of distilling handmade spirits in the country happen.  Almost two years later, business is booming at he and his wife Becky's distillery in the Blue Ridge Mountains, now producing organic gin, rye, and a white whiskey called Mosby's Spirit (named for rogue Confederate colonel John S. Mosby).  The distillery sits on the north fork of Catoctin Creek, the first legal distillery in Loudoun County since Prohibition.  Try the gin with tonic and cucumber, the rye neat, and Mosby's Spirit with sweet tea.

Latest News

Southern Kitchen: Becky Harris proves wh…

Ryan Hughley, writing for Southern Kitchen, does a wonderful story about Becky's journey through whisky as chief distiller for Catoctin Creek.  She writes: So if you find yourself interested in whiskey...

Read more

American Whiskey Mazagine - Editor's Cho…

Huzzah! Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye Cask Proof was named the Editor's Choice, 9.0/8.9 points and the highest rated whiskey in the premier issue of American Whiskey magazine!  A highlight from...

Read more

Becky Harris in Food & Wine Magazine

Food and Wine recently wrote about "6 Women in Whiskey to Watch," including a profile of our own president and chief distiller, Becky Harris.  Becky's fresh approach to whisky is...

Read more

Contact Us

Catoctin Creek Distillery

Catoctin Creek Distillery
120 W Main St
Purcellville, VA 20132

Tel (540) 751-8404


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Latest Events

Dinner at the Distillery, with cocktails and more!

  DEC 14   Dinner at the Distillery 7:00pm—9:30pm Dinner will be a four-course affair, using seasonal produce and local suppliers, prepared by Chefs Wes Rosati and Maria Aros of The Wandering Chef. Enjoy a private...

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Catoctin Creek Bottling Workshop (13)

  DEC 15   Bottling Workshop 10:00am—12:00pm Catoctin Creek Distilling Company will conduct one of our famous Bottling Workshops!  Here's your chance to volunteer and learn how to bottle, cap, seal, and label Roundstone Rye. Get...

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Whimsy and Wonder New Years Eve

  DEC 31   Whimsy and Wonder New Years Eve 5:00pm—8:45pm Join us this New Years Eve for a very special event: The distillery will be decorated in an ethereal 19th century setting, inspired by Wonderland, Neverland...

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