May 2010 Update

Another busy month for us at Catoctin Creek Distilling Company...

Bottling DayIn April, we were in bottling mode. Bottling was fun. We had a great team of volunteers who came in, and we rocked in one day what had been planned for two! It was a truly historic event, as we signed and shipped the very first bottles ever from our distillery. Plus, it was nice to meet up with some of our Facebook fans. We bottled over 90 cases of our first spirits for delivery to Virginia ABC in Richmond. As Scott was driving down I-95 with a pallet of spirits in his truck, it dawned on him he was fulfilling his lifelong dream to run liquor down I-95! Mind you, he was doing so driving 35 miles per hour with his hazard lights flashing! Must protect those spirits!

With the spirits delivered to Richmond, we now wait for the Virginia distribution machine to kick in so that the spirits are delivered to all of the stores we designated. Literally any day now, you should see Roundstone Rye on the shelves of your local ABC store. If you don't see it, ask for it! (Product # 27030). If you are a restaurant wishing to order all three spirits (including the Watershed Gin and Mosby's Spirit as well), you can use the ABC special order to ask for a mixed case (two of each spirit). You can find more information on buying our spirits here.

For those of you in Maryland and DC, we will be available there soon--we'll keep you posted on the web site.

In April, we also had our eco-ganic inspection. This went extremely well, and we are very proud to be nearly completed with what has been a very non-trivial process. Why eco-ganic? Being eco-ganic guarantees our spirits, and the ingredients that go into them, are free from synthetic chemical pesticides and fertilizers. The water we use is filtered for purity. We are independently inspected each year to ensure our compliance with these and other regulations governing the production of eco-ganic food. In short, the eco-ganic label guarantees you a high level of transparency and accountability in how we produce our spirits. It underscores our commitment to providing you the highest quality spirits and to protecting and restoring our environment.

In May, be sure to check out the Loudoun Farm Tour and Purcellville Heritage Day, on May 15-16. We'll be in full production mode that weekend, and we'll show you the complete process of making whisky from mashing through distillation. You can stick your nose in a barrel and take a whiff, and you can meet some mighty fine people that help us keep the distillery running. Mark your calendars for this fun and informative weekend!

As always, there is 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.

Remember, "Think Global, Drink LOCAL!"SM


Scott & Becky

April 2010 Update

March came in like a lion, and went out like a... well, not like a lamb! At least, not for us.

In early March, we received our first order for Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye. Virginia ABC ordered over one hundred cases of our rye whisky. Look for it in stores starting May 1. You can find a list of stores carrying our rye whisky here.

Watershed Gin and Mosby's Spirit, along with the Roundstone Rye, will be available in Maryland and DC sometime soon--we'll keep you posted on the web site.

In March, we started making our Watershed Gin. The process is simple: We start with twice distilled rye spirits as a base, and then we macerate a pillow-case sized bag of juniper and other herbs and spices, letting it steep in the spirit for 24 hours or more. Then, the gin is run back through the still one more time, to become a very smooth and totally delicious thrice-distilled Watershed Gin.

Becky and I enjoyed hosting our first Artisan Distilling Workshop. We had about twenty folks show up and spend their Saturday with us, learning about mashing, fermentation, distilling, and bottling. We ran a batch of rye whisky through the still, and even got to check out the pear wine and gin base in their pre-distilled forms. Becky and I had a lot of fun, and hope that everybody enjoyed the seminar as much as we enjoyed hosting it. For those of you interested, you can check out our summer workshop on July 24--you can sign up for it online.

Looking forward to April, we're proud to sponsor the Green Music Stage at the Valley Earthfest! This is a cool event "getting back to basics" and celebrating local and sustainable culture. If you are free on April 18th, you should come out and see us and say "Hi". We'll have a tent set up at the festival.

As always, there is 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.

Remember, "Think Global, Drink LOCAL!"SM


Scott & Becky

March 2010 Update

It seems like every time I sit down to write one of these newsletters, it always wants to start out as "It has been a busy month for us..." At the risk of sounding repetitive, indeed February has been a busy month!

Early this month, we introduced the first drops of rye spirit into the barrel, officially and almost magically changing it into rye whisky! Sure, it won't be ready to drink for a while--it must age for a time in that new charred oak barrel--but the instant raw spirit kisses wood, it is forevermore designated "whisky". We now have a couple barrels put away of what will become Roundstone Rye.  It's nice to have this first couple batches done and set aside. A bit of a milestone, really.

We were also very pleased to obtain our Kosher certification from Star-K this month. Our first three products, Mosby's Spirit, Roundstone Rye, and Watershed Gin are all certified Kosher. We're still awaiting our other certification, but stay tuned for that hopefully in March.

February was a brutal month for snow in Virginia. We were walloped by two major snowstorms, dumping more snow on our region than we've had in over 100 years. Of course, whisky waits for no man (or woman), so we braved the weather to ensure that production continued, even as the winds and snow howled outside our door.

The foul weather did afford us a nice opportunity to get some artsy bottle shots in the creek. My son and I trudged through 24 inch snow drifts, and then stood in freezing cold water to get some photos of our new bottles. I think the results were worth the trouble.

If you're interested, get your Catoctin Creek branded merchandise by giving us a call. We're still getting our web store set up, but we now have branded collector shot glasses and Catoctin Creek t-shirts available. All major credit cards accepted!

And don't forget, there is 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.

Remember, "Think Global, Drink LOCAL!"SM


Scott & Becky

February 2010 Update

Production Begins!

January has been a whirlwind month for us at Catoctin Creek. During the last month, we finalized our equipment installation, received both our federal and state distillery permits, and began our production.  THAT was a busy month!

After receiving the equipment in late December last year, we finalized its installation. The electrical build out proved to be the largest part of our equipment installation, since both our still and our mash tank are electrically heated. Our local electricians, Purcellville Electric, did exceptional work, working alongside our Kothe representatives. We had our equipment up and running in a week! We cannot recommend either company more highly.

In late January, we also ventured down to Richmond to meet with the Virginia ABC review board. This is a necessary step in getting our products on the Virginia ABC retail shelves in 2010. We hope to hear from them in February, and rest assured, we will let you know when we do. Our starting lineup of products will include our Mosby's Spirit, a clear rye grain spirit (some call it a white whiskey) that is light and flavorful with the taste of rye grain, our Roundstone Rye, which is an aged rye whisky, and our Watershed Gin, which is wonderfully fresh and aromatic with 100% eco-ganic herbs and spices. In fact, all three spirits will be eco-ganic! Look for them in May 2010.

Once the equipment was hooked up, we began production immediately. We've already produced several gallons of our raw rye spirit, and more is being produced daily. We've posted a cool video on YouTube which shows our first production run. You can watch as we produce our first batch of rye mash, and then watch as we distill out our first spirits on the still. Very exciting and illustrative. Of course, always feel free to come by and see us in person too!

And don't forget, there is 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.

As I have now found myself saying each morning... "Time to make the whisky."


Scott & Becky

January 2010 Update


We hope everybody had a great Christmas and Hanukkah holiday season. During the break, we were waiting... waiting... waiting... for our equipment to arrive from Germany.

Liverpool Express in Norfolk on Dec. 26Right after Christmas, our container ship, the Liverpool Express, landed in Norfolk with our container of equipment from Germany. After a few days and a lot of phone calls, we got the container cleared through customs, and it arrived on our doorstep in early January! We're just finishing up hooking it all up and getting it ready for production runs.

Checking the equipmentAlmost at the same time, we received our Federal DSP (Distilled Spirits Plant) permit! This is huge because it means we are now legal! Yes, we are now federally approved distillers! We immediately turned around and filed our applications for label approval for our first line-up of products. Stay tuned for more information about that!

So, as we slide into the deep, dark cold days of winter, we're anticipating our meeting with Virginia ABC and getting onto the shelves (hopefully) in May. We'll also be getting those distributor relationships set up for Maryland and the District of Columbia. Lots and lots to do! And that doesn't even count for all the spirits we have to make between now and then! We have to put that equipment to work!

So, Happy New Year! Let's hope it's the best one ever for you and your family, and until spring, stay warm!

L'Chaim and Cheers!

Scott & Becky

November 2009 Update

Now that we're sliding into late autumn, heading toward winter, we are almost ready for production to start at the distillery.

Kothe K-900 Still under construction in Eislingen, GermanyDurfo Enolmaster Bottling MachineMore and more equipment arrives each week. Our Durfo Enolmaster bottling machine arrived in the United States, but we are still working to free her out of customs in Atlanta. And our Kothe K-900 still is expected to arrive from Eislingen, Germany, in December along with all of our fermentation, storage and filtering equipment.

In November, we achieved the 500 members milestone in our Facebook fan page. As a result, we awarded a first run bottle to David Gadsby, our 500th member. The Catoctin Creek Facebook Page continues to be a fun place to find out the latest on the business, to interact, and to share information about the love of spirits in Loudoun County and the Washington Metro area.

During November, we've also received word from the Federal Tax and Trade Bureau that our distillery license should be approved in the next few weeks! This is great news, as we are on the verge of becoming the first federally licensed distillery in northern Virginia since before Prohibition! It also means that we did a pretty good job in submitting our gargantuan federal DSP application packet.

Looking to December and January, we expect to install the final shipment of equipment arriving from Germany, and we're hoping to begin our first production run before the year is over.

Until then...

L'Chaim and Cheers!

Scott & Becky

October 2009 Update

The month of October has come and gone, and lot has happened in the meantime!

In October, we finalized our lease and took possession of 37251-C E. Richardson Lane, Unit 200. This is a modest space in an out of the way industrial park. We would have preferred an idyllic country setting, but we'll just have to wait for that. Our current space suits us very nicely in the meantime. It is conveniently located in Purcellville, Virginia, in the heart of DC's Wine Country. The Town of Purcellville staff have been very helpful in getting us zoned, permitted and off the ground. And the ample 2065 square feet of open space will be perfect for installing our equipment.

ZeichnungIn fact, equipment continues to come in. We nabbed some nice office furniture at the Loudoun ReStore, a thrift shop which benefits Habitat for Humanity. All of our office and cleaning supplies are now in place (the common stuff that every distilled spirits plant needs, like mops, hoses, brooms, squeegees, and wireless routers). We're still waiting for the still, of course, but Kothe shared with us a technical drawing of our still, and I hope to soon post some photos of the actual still being made.

October was a big publicity month for us. Honestly, it took us rather by surprise! First, our story of getting SBA financing got picked up by the online edition of the Wall Street Journal. That was really HUGE for us. Heck, they even included a photo! Then, quickly after that, all of those business plan contests concluded. In both the Sage MyBizCounts contest, and in the Loudoun SBDC contest, we received third place for our business plan. We were very pleased with this, and hope it foreshadows our being the third best spirit producer in the U.S.A. next year. (We'll settle for third anytime!)

As we look to November and December, we anticipate receiving our still and other equipment from Kothe in Germany, our bottling machine from Durfo in Italy, and the remainder of odds-and-ends before we start actual production. We also look forward to getting both our Virginia ABC license and our Federal license in that time frame. God willing, we'll be making spirits by January!

Until then, feel free to come by and see us, or visit us online at the Catoctin Creek Facebook Page. (If you haven't joined, become a fan today!)


Scott & Becky

September 2009 Update

We continue to be very busy as we move into the set up phase of our business. In September, we finally got approval for our SBA loan and closed on a lease. We now have a home! Our new location will be 37251 Richardson Lane, Unit 200, in Purcellville, Virginia. This positions us conveniently in the heart of Loudoun County, central to all the wineries and vineyards in DC's Wine Country. Our new facility is perfectly sized for our business, with lots of room to put equipment and barrels.

And speaking of barrels, our three barrels arrived from Bourdeaux this month. We immediately set to cleaning them, delighted with the rich smell of red wine inside the barrel. We will use these for finishing off brandy once we start production. The character of the wine should add delicate elements of flavor into the brandy we produce.

Of course, with all those barrels, we're going to need something to lug them around. So we also purchased a used (new to us) forklift. This 2002 Nissan forklift, for which we're currently accepting name suggestions, is showing her age a little, but her scars are mostly from her days working in the DAP caulk factory. She's a hard working lass (or is she a lad?), and will do perfectly for moving around pallets of grape, grain and spirits. We'll also need her when it comes to getting that Kothe still off the truck.

For those of you tracking the business plan contests, both the Loudoun SBDC and the Sage MyBizCounts contests are now closed. I guess the judges are busy making their decisions. We hope to hear something in October. We're as anxious as you are to learn the results.

Don't forget, you can sign up for our Catoctin Creek Facebook Page. (If you haven't joined, become a fan today!)

Finally, it looks as though we'll have the still in November, provided the cargo ship doesn't get hijacked by pirates outside of Hamburg. Stay tuned...


Scott & Becky

June 2009 Update

Wow! Over 100 members in our Facebook page in our first month! I'm very excited. If you haven't joined the Facebook page, please join us at

Just to let you all know, we've been working with the local wineries and local farms to get nailed down on sources for grapes, wine and grain. Things are moving along very well! We are hoping to order our beautiful Kothe 400 liter still this month and start installing it in the autumn. Then, we can begin producing our first drops of liquor before the end of the year! Targeting to hit the shelves in 2010.

Our sincere thanks to all of you who joined the Facebook group and have been voting for us on the MyBizCounts contest. Please continue to vote! The contestants are now locked in, and voting continues through July. If we win, we get $20,000 big ones to help purchase our still! So, please keep voting for us every day!

THANKS! and spread the word!

Scott & Becky

July 2009 Update

Things certainly have been happening at Catoctin Creek! In July, we were still in the planning stages of our business, but very busy!

We met with lots of local wineries in the Loudoun County (Tarara, Corcoran, Fabbioli, and Zephania just to name a few).  We've been discussing getting grapes and wine from the 2009 harvest, so we can start making brandies and grappas.  We're also looking long and hard for good eco-ganic suppliers of grain--which is no easy task in Virginia!

In our business plan contest, we drummed up over 430 new fans to the Catoctin Creek Facebook Page.  (If you haven't joined, become a fan today!)  Facebook has been very instrumental in helping us secure over 3600 honestly obtained votes in our MyBizCounts contest.  Recall that if we win this contest, we get $20,000 to start our business!  Despite some very irregular voting from two of the other entries, we feel good with our solid and honestly obtained third-place finish.  The next phase of the contest has us providing a summary business plan and an essay describing how we'd use the money.  We feel fairly confident in that arena, so we still are very optimistic of a win!  Thank you to all of you out there who voted us along!!

Kothe Standard StillAfter finally getting through with our CPAs, we now have a good handle on our financial situation.  We are finally ready to ROCK AND ROLL!  We will be ordering our custom-made 400 liter still from Kothe in the next few days!  This still is the centerpiece of our entire business, and the one piece of equipment we were unwilling to skimp on--especially since they last upwords of thirty years!

The still will be a beautiful copper and stainless steel 400 liter still from Kothe's standard line.  It is heated by a water bath using 3-phase electric power.  Above the pot kettle is a three-plate variable column for controlling the reflux of the distillation, plus a doppeldephlegmator, which is a Kothe-patented aparatus for introducing additional reflux to help refine the spirit.

We're so excited to finally get the still on order.  We're pressing very hard to get things in place and ready so we could get at least a few drops flowing before the year is over.  This will take a sizeable amount of work, and an even more sizeable amount of luck!  But it's good to know that we are now well on our way!


Scott & Becky

Latest News

Whiskey Vault has fun and reviews Cask Proof rye

I think they enjoyed it.  Have fun with this!  Thanks for the review, guys! {youtube}bxHIjWwPRPg{/youtube}

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Scott Harris talks GWAR collaboration on Distill & Disrupt

Check out Scott Harris talking on episode 4 of the Distill and Disrupt podcast.  Here he is talking about the GWAR collaboration and how we came to bottle whisky for the heavy metal band.  Listen on Spotify, here.

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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

Dinner at the Distillery, with cocktails and more!

  OCT 15   Dinner at the Distillery 7:00pm—9:30pm Dinner will be a four-course affair, using seasonal produce and local suppliers, prepared by Chef Justin Garrison, who is widely known for his simple, yet eclectic food combinations...

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Catoctin Creek Bottling Workshop

  OCT 16   Bottling Workshop 10:00am—12:00pm WORKSHOPS ARE BACK!  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...

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Maple Finished Cask Proof Release Day

  OCT 18 Release Day!  Maple Finished Cask Proof Roundstone Rye 8:00am On Monday, October 18 at 8am, we will release the Maple Finished Roundstone Rye Cask Proof in our ONLINE STORE and tasting room. ...

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