News

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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 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.

From NBC Nightly News:

In a small Virginia town, Becky and Scott Harris started a new enterprise...a mom- and-pop distillery!  And the business is flying high!  NBC's Wendy Jones reports.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

 

Here is a fun article in the Loudoun Times about how we started up this distillery. Story here.

Loudoun Times Article

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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

Sip & Paint

  MAR 28   Sip and Paint at the Distillery 6:00pm—8:00pm Want to learn to paint?  Already a gifted artist?  Just want an excuse to relax a little with some painting lessons and a refreshing cocktail? ...

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Last Dance with Mosby's Spirit

  APR 8   Last Dance with Mosby's Spirit Dinner at West End Wine Bar & Pub 7:00pm—9:00pm Join us for a "Last Dance with Mosby's Spirit" at the West End Wine Bar and Pub. In...

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Yoga at the Distillery

  APR 11   Yoga at the Distillery – Every 2nd Thursday 6:00pm—7:00pm Beginning in March, come join us at Catoctin Creek Distillery every second Thursday for a Yoga and Cocktails night! Come share our beautiful, peaceful...

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