May Greetings from Catoctin Creek - The strangest thing happened today...

Happy May! 

The most unusual things happen sometimes!

Scott & Becky at the potstillWhat would you do if you walked into your house one day, and everything you own had turned purple?

Well, this happened to us.  But let me start at the beginning...

Way back in 2010, when we were first starting the distillery, we had a single copper potstill.  One particular day, we were distilling pear wine into brandy.  As the day went, it was rather unremarkable.  The wine was boiled, the cuts made, and the day's bounty of brandy was collected and readied for the barrel.  As usual, at the end of the day, we dumped the spent wine and washed down the still with the hose.  With the potstill still steaming, we turned off the lights, locked the doors, set the alarm, and went home.

The purple potstillThe next morning, as we arrived early to work, we entered the distillery and turned on the lights. Our beloved (and very expensive!) potstill had turned purple!  And not just a hint of lavender or pastel purple, but a bright shining amethyst purple.  I'm talking King Henry VIII royal robe purple!  It was beautiful!  But....  what on earth?!

I immediately started combing the Internet looking for answers, and finally stumbled upon a site where a Scottish chemist had the answer.  Apparently, pear wine has trace amounts of a chemical called cyanuric acid.  This acid, in contact with copper under conditions of low pH (which wine definitely is), causes copper to turn bright purple!  Lo and behold, we had our answer!  

We thought it was cool to have a purple potstill, but sadly, over the next few days, it tarnished and dulled to resemble the color of gray concrete, not exactly beautiful.  So we polished it only to see the purple return.  Eventually, its patina moved into the more typical copper brown of an old penny.  But you can still see traces of cyan and magenta in the sheen if you look at it right.  And the funny thing is, to this day, every time we polish the still (which we do rarely these days), that purple returns bright and shiny.

So we have a potstill that insists on being purple, and hence we named him... Barney.

Sláinte and Cheers!



Spring DinnerSpring Dinner at the Distillery

Join us May 10th for a spring-themed cocktail pairing dinner. We will feature a four course menu plus an amuse boushe from Justin Thyme Culinary. The theme for the night will be the Pacific Rim, so expect lots of great courses and cocktails that borrow elements from the Pacific Rim. Price is $99 not including tax and gratuity.  Find out more and book your tickets, here.



Upcoming Events

We have some great events in May. Here is the full list of events planned at the distillery and in the area this month.  Many events are free, so be sure to join us for something fun:

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


Cocktail of the Month – It's the Little Things

It's the little things

Some kudos from @fractionsofzero on Instagram:

No long winded post for this one. Just an amazing fresh made botanical sour with delicious gin created by a talented Bar Manager from a wonderful Brand.

2 parts Watershed Gin
1 part butterfly pea tea syrup
1 part lemon juice
⅛th part cassis
Lemon twist
2 dashes lavender bitters, to top

Combine all ingredients in a shaker of ice, strain over new ice in a Nick and Nora glass.

Recipe courtesy Denise Petty. Photograph courtesy @fractionsofzero.

See this cocktail and hundreds more on our cocktails page.


In Closing...

As always, there are lots of fun and information on our Instagram, Facebook and Twitter pages, where you can stay up to date with the daily activities at the distillery. We are open every Tuesday through Sunday for tastings and bottle purchases, so stop by and see us sometime!

Scott & Becky

Latest News

Rabble Rouser featured in Maxim

Maxim did a story on some of the best Bottled In Bond whiskies available, and our Rabble Rouser was selected (among some very fine company, if we do say so)! Previous whiskey...

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Becky Harris in American Whiskey Magazin…

American Whiskey magazine does an interview with Becky Harris, our president and chief distiller, about starting up a distillery and what's on the horizon. Focusing more now on the spirit itself...

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Becky in Rachel Ray's magazine

Kelsie Schrader, writing for Rachel Ray Every Day magazine, covers 10 female pioneers in the spirits industry and gets Becky in her article: When Becky and Scott Harris founded Catoctin Creek...

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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

Lighting of the Vines

  NOV 22   Lighting of the Vines at Bluemont Vineyards 6:30pm—9:30pm Be the first to experience the Bluemont Vineyard views in a new light as we illuminate over 10,000 vines decorated with holiday lights...

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  NOV 29   BLACK FRIDAY SALE! 20% OFF ALL SPIRITS IN STORE 1:00pm—7:00pm One Day Only! The Virginia ABC is offering a promotion—20% off all spirits—for any spirits products purchased in our tasting room! That...

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Holiday Dinner at the Distillery

  DEC 13   Holiday Dinner at the Distillery 7:00pm—9:00pm Join us December 13th for our annual holiday-themed dinner. We will feature a four course menu plus an amuse boushe from Justin Thyme Culinary. The theme for the...

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