News

Stepping up to a legacy - American Whiskey magazine

Becky Harris of Catoctin Creek

Maggie Kimberl at American Whiskey recently wrote a fantastic story on the brief and recent history of the hand sanitizer chaos that emerged during the COVID-19 crisis.  Many, many distilleries across the country, both big and small, immediately stepped up and provided much needed sanitizing alcohol to their communities, most pivoting in a manner of days and weeks.  Becky Harris found herself suddenly in a leadership role in ACSA to help navigate this confusing time, and stepped up to help people save lives--literally save lives.  We are so proud of her.  Maggie writes:

“Both individually and within my distillery we were suddenly being approached by people asking if we had alcohol,” Harris recalls. “Bleach was gone, Purell was off the shelves, and we had a ton of people asking if we had any they could get hold of. It was obvious that people were really desperate. We were getting tons of calls.” Harris reports the industry went from ‘can this be done?’, to doing it in a matter of days. She was asked by the executive committee at the ACSA if she could take the lead on the matter and she did.

You can read the entire story, here.

Chilled Magazine: Top 9 Virtual Distillery Tours

We are in fine company in this Chilled magazine article about the nine best virtual distillery tours:  Buffalo Trace, Lagavulin, Four Roses, and little ol' Catoctin Creek.  The article notes:

Capturing the experience of visiting a small distillery, Catoctin Creek has produced a video tour led by co-founder and distiller Scott Harris. As the fellow narrating the experience is also the one who not just makes, but also conceived of the whiskeys and other spirits in question (Catoctin Creek is known mostly for their rye whiskey, but they also have a gin and some brandies), he goes beyond what most virtual tours do in discussing his production process. Ironically, the smallest distillery on this list also produced what is arguably the best technical presentation of the bunch.

You can read the full story, here.

Join "the fellow" as he guides you on a virtual tour and tasting at the distillery. See how whiskey is made and enjoy some tasting notes and history about our small Virginia distillery.

Maxim: Best World Whiskey Day Bottles

#InThisTogether Infinity Barrel

First, Forbes did a fantastic and thorough article about our efforts to make lemons into lemonade with our release of the #InThisTogether Infinity Barrel benefit project.  Kate Dingwall writes:

Virginia's Catoctin Creek Distilling Company is making whiskey out of lemons, figuratively speaking. Due to the crisis many DC restaurants are suffering during the lockdown they can't afford to keep the barrels they'd purchased from Catoctin's barrel select program. These are some of the distillery's best hand-picked barrels, including an American Chardonnay oak cask, apple brandy cask and American Imperial Stout cask from Virginia's Stablecraft Brewery.

So Catoctin Creek owners Scott and Becky Harris are not only easing their burdens by taking back the barrels, but are blending them into an Infinity Barrel Rye Whisky dubbed aptly #InThisTogether. Not only is it a delicious blend, but all profits from this limited 80-proof release will go to charities (like the US Bartender Guild's Emergency Assistance Program) supporting struggling restaurants and bars.

You can read that full article, here.

Forbes: Two amazing articles in one day!

#InThisTogether Infinity Barrel

First, Forbes did a fantastic and thorough article about our efforts to make lemons into lemonade with our release of the #InThisTogether Infinity Barrel benefit project.  Kate Dingwall writes:

“We wanted to find partners who could help us get assistance to the people who are the heart and soul of all these restaurants, who are often undocumented, juggling multiple jobs, may be struggling with health effects from the virus themselves, and uncertain whether their workplaces will ever open again,” explains [Rebecca] Harris.

You can read that full article, here.

Catoctin Creek Whisky BottlesThen, we got word that we were one of only four craft distilleries featured in Forbes for World Whisky Day!  How insanely cool is that?!

“Virginia had 3,600 distilleries in 1810, making primarily unaged rye, but also brandies from local fruits,” says Becky. “Our inspiration dates back to before 1830, when distilleries had not started mass production and before standard regional identities for rye existed. Each of my rye farmers has a slightly different flavor that their terroir brings to the whisky, and my 100% rye mashbill uses grain from 3-4 sources, fermented together, pot-distilled and aged to create the finished products.”

The expressions of Catoctin Creek’s Roundstone Rye whisky are chosen from single barrels which reflect the flavor profile, character, and excellence chosen for each, a process that paid big when Wine Enthusiast awarded high scores to all five rye whiskies in the February/March 2020 issue.

You can read that full article, here.  Thank you, Forbes!!

Rye Dominion - Spotlight on Becky Harris - Tasting Panel

Tasting Panel April May 2020Tasting Panel focuses its attention on Becky Harris in this month's issue of Distillery Spotlight.  What a wonderful article and photos by Matt Jackson and Nick Klein:

[Rebecca] Harris became a trailblazer in the spirits world as one of the first female head distillers in modern U.S. history, yet she’s quick to point out that American distillation’s early success was largely due to the efforts of women. “In this region of the country, the tobacco industry [was] so demanding that women were the ones who took care of the brewing and distilling,” Harris explains. “It really wasn’t until the bigger stills came over from Europe that distillation became more industrial.”

You can read the full story, here, or the Tasting Panel site, here.

Whisky Advocate: Craft Distillers Struggle to Survive Amid COVID-19

In these difficult times (I am getting so tired of saying that), Whisky Advocate finds the bright spots.  This is a nice article highlighting the sanitizer production across the country, and the few states like Virginia that have allowed direct-to-consumer shipping.

A windfall came, however, when the Virginia ABC announced on April 6 that it would allow certain distilleries to ship directly to in-state customers. “That was a lifeline to our operations,” Harris says. “Once we wound down the sanitizer project, a number of people working on it transitioned into packing and shipping cases.” Thus far, it’s been “a real lifesaver” for Catoctin Creek and neighboring craft distilleries. “I talked to a number of other distilleries in Virginia, some of whom do less than 500 cases a year out of their tasting room,” Harris says. “Their sales had actually improved by 50% over the previous year.”

You can read the entire story, here.

American Whiskey Mazagine reviews Rabble Rouser

Hooray! Another great review from American Whiskey magazine.  Catoctin Creek Rabble Rouser was recommended, 8.6/8.9 points by Peggy Noe Stevens and Susan Reigler, and again the highest rated whiskey in the issue!  A highlight from the review by Susan Reigler:

8.9 Points.
Nose:
  Rye grass partners with floral notes.  The woods after a spring rain with wildflowers underfoot.  Subtle for 100 proof.
Palate: Sweet spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and allspice.  Then the flowers blossom.  This is all balanced with vanilla and rye spice.
Finish: Very long, though the flowers fade and the spice is persistent.
Comments:  Unexpectedly, water brings out morerye rather than the fruit.  But this doesn't do enough to upset the balance.

Get your copy of the magazine, here.

American Whiskey Magazine

American Whiskey Magazine

Business Insider names Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye 92 Proof in Top 10

According to two renowned whisky experts, Heather Greene of Milam and Green and author of "Whiskey Distilled: A Populust Guide to the Water of Life," and Susan Reigler, world-renowned bourbon expert and former president of the Bourbon Women Association, our Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye 92 Proof "Distiller's Edition" rates in their Top 10!  Even better, we pulled in at #2 on the list!!  Here's an excerpt from the review:

Another distillery that Reigler recommends for rye is Catoctin Creek, located in Virginia.

"Rye is generally a bit spicier and more herbal than bourbon," Reigler explained. "Think of the scent of rye grass or caraway seeds. They have a peppery character, and some also have a lot of caramel."

 You can read the full review, here.

The New Yorker: A Whiskey Maker's Exploration of Craft - Part 1

Featured on The New Yorker, produced for Autograph Collection Hotels, follow along as Becky Harris, founder and head distiller of Catoctin Creek Distillery, travels to 2 Autograph Collection Hotels to gather inspiration from each boutique hotel’s dedication to craft. At her first stop, Schloss Lieser in Germany, she explores the hotel’s rich history and vision, the adjacent vineyards of the famous Moselle valley, and the unique flavors of the region.  View the full video, here.

Part two, Becky in Chattanooga, is here.

Rabble Rouser featured in Maxim

Rabble Rouser

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 releases from Virginia distillery Catoctin Creek have qualified as BIB, but this was the first one explicitly marketed as such. It’s a 100 percent rye whiskey that is spicy, earthy, and fruity.

You can read the full article, here.

Becky Harris in American Whiskey Magazine

Becky Harris

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, how did you go about deciding on your product range?

We were inspired by the history of spirits in the region, and specifically in Virginia. If you visit the distillery at Mount Vernon you can get an excellent sense of the deep roots of the business here. We ultimately decided that we wanted to focus on rye whisky, it was a crucial piece of whisky history in this country, as well as being under-represented in the marketplace. We had a vision of making rye, 100 per cent rye, from grain to bottle, with a focus on local content and small batch, pot still production.

Our first whisky, the Catoctin Creek 80 proof Roundstone Rye, has always been made from organic, or organically raised rye grain and has a spicy and fruity flavor profile with a kiss of mint. This is a youthful rye, aged in 30 gallon barrels to create a profile balanced between the influence of the oak and the grain spirit itself.

You can read the full interview, here.

Becky in Rachel Ray's magazine

Becky Harris, Chief Distiller, Catoctin Creek

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 Distillery in 2009, they became the owners of [Loudoun] County, Virginia's first legal distillery since prohibition, making Becky the county's first female chief distiller in almost a century. Prior to opening the distillery, Becky worked as a chemical engineer at companies, including Amoco and YDK America. Opening the distillery was her husband's idea, and though Becky wasn't a big whisky drinker before opening the distillery, she applied her science background to the distilling and production processes to create high-quality spirits that have earned great acclaim.

You can read the full article, here.

Latest News

Washington Post coverage of the Art of the Cocktail

We were elated to see the Washington Post write a story on our Art of the Cocktail classes! More than just being an instructional drink-making class, Scott's purpose is more to build a sense of community and social gathering.  Fritz...

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NY Times: America’s First Moonshine, Applejack, Returns in Sleeker Style

Julia Moskin does a pretty darn comprehensive review on the state of applejack (aka apple brandy) in the New York Times.  Check it out: As most small-scale applejack makers do, Catoctin Creek starts the process not with fresh apples but with...

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Becky & Scott Harris named to Imbibe 75

2020 was a difficult year; nobody will argue that point.  For us at Catoctin Creek, we had several restaurants return their barrel select rye whisky because they didn't know if they would be able to continue business in the face...

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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

The Art of the Cocktail - The Online Class with Scott Harris

  MAR/APR Fri. Art of the Cocktail Class – 3rd time's a charm, ONLINE! 7:00pm—9:00pm AS FEATURED IN THE WASHINGTON POST!  In this series, I will be focusing on various cocktails from books I'm enjoying. ...

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Old Tom Gin Release Day

  MAR 22 Release Day!  Old Tom Gin 8:00am On Monday, March 22nd at 8am, we will release the Old Tom Gin in our ONLINE STORE.  We will have 30 cases of whisky to release...

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I'm Every Woman Virtual Tasting

  MAR 27 I'm Every Woman Virtual Tasting 7:30pm—10:00pm Come celebrate Women's History Month by making history with an extraordinary tasting of women owned spirits by Moe Peacock. This is not a women only...

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