Jake Emen covers the topic:
Harris says that his company has directly spent $100,000 on export promotion trips to the EU in the years since. The result was that in 2018, Catoctin Creek expected a full quarter of its revenue to come from the European market. Right before the tariffs hit, he says another trip overseas netted a dozen handshake deals he was eager to finalize.
“Upon our return, when the tariffs went into effect, our distributor dropped us, and our sales in the U.K. never materialized,” Harris says. “That 25% revenue we expected from Europe was about 1%.”
Read the full story, here.
Some coverage of how trade wars hurt small businesses like ours, front page coverage from the Washington Post:
But weeks after the Harrises’ triumphant European tour, the White House unleashed a trade war with the European Union by slapping tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. The E.U. retaliated with tariffs that made some American goods, including bourbon and rye whiskey, more expensive to import.
Catoctin Creek’s orders from Europe dried up, and a potential British distributor lost interest. He “ghosted us like a bad girlfriend,” Scott Harris said from the distillery’s red-brick tasting room as a pair of shiny stills chugged away behind a plate-glass window. “He just stopped answering the phone.”
Read the full story, here.
On my recent visit to Louisville, Kentucky, I was invited to speak at the December meeting of the Bourbon Brotherhood. Lucky for me, Distillery Trail was there covering the meeting. They did a nice profile of our company, our products, and the history of rye whiskey in Virginia.
Husband and wife team Scott and Becky Harris started Catoctin Creek Distilling in 2009. In the late 2000s, Scott had what one might call a mid-life crisis as he approached 40. “You know if I was going to construct for myself, the perfect version of hell, it would be sitting in a windowless office under fluorescent light making PowerPoint charts for people that will never read them,” said Scott. “I started to day dream about making something. I kept going back to when I was a 15 year old kid and I worked in a winery. It was cool, in a winery, you press the grapes, you bottle it, you ferment it and you do all this stuff and at the end of the day, or at the end of a fermentation period you have something in your hand, you can present it to somebody, you pour it, you can taste it and you can say, ‘I made that.'”
You can read the full story and see the video, here.
We have begun seeing some of the sneak-preview reviews of our forthcoming Rabble Rouser Bottled In Bond Rye Whisky Release. Graham Averill, writing for Paste, gives us stunning marks on the new dram:
Rabble Rouser doesn’t need any fancy stamp to be great, though. It just is. The 100% rye is aged for four years and bottled at 100 proof. It pours a deep mahogany and has an incredibly enticing nose full of cherries and toasted marshmallows. There’s nothing but rye in the bottle, so you’ve got plenty of spice to contend with, with notes of pepper and ash, but also a hell of a lot of caramel, like from the center of your favorite candy bar. There’s some stone fruit in there, maybe some figs and something nutty, like cashews. A layer of heat underscores all of it so you realize you’re drinking a relatively high-proof rye.
You can read the full review, here.
We received some more press on the trade tariffs, this time from France's TF1 television station. Translating the summary of the article, to English, and the original French:
When Donald Trump's policy penalizes American companies
Donald Trump has upset the rules of world trade in recent months, like the customs duties of 25% introduced on some European products. This policy was very popular in the United States, initially. However, it is starting to have negative consequences for some American companies. A crankback that concerns even everyday consumers. This topic was broadcast in the news broadcast of 20H of 03/11/2018 presented by Anne-Claire Coudray on TF1. You will find in the program of the 20H news of November 3, 2018 reports on current political economic, international and cultural, analysis and rebound on the main topics of the day, topics in the regions and surveys on topics that concern the daily French.
Quand la politique de Donald Trump pénalise les entreprises américaines
Donald Trump a bouleversé les règles du commerce mondial ces derniers mois, à l'exemple des taxes douanières de 25% instaurées sur certains produits européens. Cette politique était très populaire aux États-Unis, au départ. Cependant, celle-ci commence à avoir des conséquences négatives sur certaines entreprises américaines. Un retour de manivelle qui concerne même les consommateurs quotidiens. Ce sujet a été diffusé dans le journal télévisé de 20H du 03/11/2018 présenté par Anne-Claire Coudray sur TF1. Vous retrouverez au programme du JT de 20H du 3 novembre 2018 des reportages sur l'actualité politique économique, internationale et culturelle, des analyses et rebonds sur les principaux thèmes du jour, des sujets en régions ainsi que des enquêtes sur les sujets qui concernent le quotidien des Français.
Watch the video, here.
We had a lovely event last month, The Battle of the Bartenders, where some of Loudoun County's top mixologists came together to sling cocktails and compete to see who had the best drinks. Proceeds went to support CORE (Children of Restaurant Employees), who support those in our industry in need. It was a great wild evening, and definitely for a great cause.
Our founder, Scott Harris, headed up to Frederick this week to chat with the guys at the Uncapped podcast. After nearly ten years in business, Scott reflects on how they got started, the financial, competitive, and legal environments then and now, and reviews some of the recent awards from the New York competition.
Catoctin Creek was named #3 in USA Today's "10 Best" awards, in the category of "Best Brandy".
While Catoctin Creek might be best known for its flagship rye whiskey, the Virginia distillery also makes the state’s first commercial grape brandy since the founding of the Commonwealth. This 1757 Virginia Brandy, made from locally grown wine grapes, is aged in French oak barrels for at least two years.
You can read the full article, here.
We were thrilled to meet Mark Gillespie, the personality behind WhiskyCast, a very popular national podcast on (you guessed it) whisky. Mark tasted, among other products in our line, our Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye Cask Proof. We think he liked it:
93 points. This rye whiskey from Virginia’s Catoctin Creek Distillery is often hard to find, but well worth the effort. The nose has soft spices and touches of toffee, vanilla, honey, and charred oak. The taste starts off with dark fruity notes of raisins and plums, followed by spicy notes of clove, allspice, and a hint of coriander while toffee, vanilla, and caramel notes add balance in the background. The finish is very long and rich with lingering spices and a hint of honey. This is cask-strength rye whiskey that doesn’t taste like it’s cask-strength! Excellent!
Read the full review, here.
Louisville Business First did a story on our launch into Kentucky last week. David Mann writes:
[Scott] and his wife, Becky Harris, started a rye whiskey distillery, Catoctin Creek Distillery, in Purcellville, Va., in 2009 — just before the spicy whiskey drink catapulted to a ubiquitous offering at bars and liquor stores everywhere.
The company's product hit shelves here recently — It's available at 8UP, Westport Whiskey and Wine, Total Wine & More, Taste Fine Wines and Bourbons and other places. The company uses Heidelberg Distributing Co. in Louisville.
You can read the full story, here.