News

Press Release: Catoctin Creek begins distribution to Canada with Evergreen Beverage

Virginia's most awarded whisky is now available in the province of Alberta

PURCELLVILLE, Va. (July 6, 2021) - - - Catoctin Creek Distilling Co., The Virginia Rye Whisky ℠, announces its new partnership with Evergreen Beverage Canada, a national wine, beer and spirits distribution company based in Toronto, Ontario. The full lineup of Catoctin Creek’s most popular expressions, Roundstone Rye 80 Proof, Roundstone Rye 92 Proof Distiller's Edition, and Roundstone Rye Cask Proof, are now available in the Alberta market, which services mail-order throughout much of Canada. All products are single barrel pot-stilled whiskies made from 100% rye. Special barrel selections and limited releases will also be available in the future.

“Canada has been a market that has been on our radar for quite some time,” said Catoctin Creek general manager and co-founder, Scott Harris. “As we begin to explore sales with our northern neighbor, we felt Alberta was a good market to start. The province has more progressive liquor regulations, and an eager market for American whiskey.”

The arrangement between Catoctin Creek and Evergreen Beverage is a new relationship for both companies. Barring any unforeseen problems with COVID-19, the Harris family, including Becky Harris, co-founder and chief distiller, will be making a trip to launch the brand in 2021 or early 2022, which will include visits to various retailers, bars and restaurants to introduce the brand to the market.

“We are delighted to bring Catoctin Creek into Canada, and though we are starting in the province of Alberta, the ultimate plan is for distribution across the entire country of Canada,” said President of Evergreen Beverage Canada, Trace Hanlon. “Catoctin is exactly the type of ‘true-craft’ brand that customers are eager to obtain in Canada. Handmade and of exceptional quality, we expect Catoctin to take the market by storm.”

About Catoctin Creek Distilling: At Catoctin Creek Distilling Company, 120 West Main St., True Craft is Inspired by Tradition.℠ Founded by Scott and Becky Harris in 2009, Catoctin Creek made a name for itself as the first legal distillery since prohibition in Purcellville, Virginia’s Loudoun County. The craft distillery is home to Virginia’s most-awarded whisky, Roundstone Rye, which has been presented gold medals across the globe and stands out through its old-world production methods. Catoctin Creek prides itself on sourcing rye whisky, gin, and seasonal brandy from local and organic grains and fruits, with spirits available in 47 states and 3 continents. The Harris’ intricate attention to detail results in high quality internationally-acclaimed products, including seasonal releases and private cask offerings, that recognize the true craft of Virginia spirits. For more information, call (540) 751-8404 or visit www.catoctincreek.com. Follow Catoctin Creek on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

About Evergreen Beverage Canada: About Evergreen Beverage Canada: Evergreen Beverage Canada Inc. is a licensed beverage alcohol agent in the province of Ontario and a licensed beverage alcohol distributor in Alberta. Since 2006 we have been representing local and imported producers of premium wines, beers, ready-to-drink, cider and spirits. For more information visit evergreenbev.ca or contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Visit Loudoun: Profile on Purcellville

Visit Loudoun did a wonderful video and article on our hometown, Purcellville!  Come and visit sometime and have a little whisky from our town distillery!

Settled in 1764 and named Purcellville in 1853 after prominent businessman Valentine Purcell, this bustling Blue Ridge piedmont settlement still has something of a frontier feel to it. The low-slung buildings of downtown, including a renovated grain mill turned restaurant and a former Buick dealership turned whiskey distillery, are reminiscent of a Western film set, while the handsome Victorian homes in the neighborhoods give it a Norman Rockwell charm. The W&OD Trail, built on the bed of the former Washington & Old Dominion railway line, ends in downtown, adjacent to the now restored Purcellville Train Station, bringing in cyclists from across the region.

You can read the entire article and plan your trip, here.

Catoctin Creek receives two golds and a silver from John Barleycorn Awards

Catoctin Creek continues to amass the awards, with two new gold medals and a silver medal from the John Barleycorn Awards.  Three spirits were reviewed and received awards:

GOLD - Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye 92 Proof "Distiller's Edition"

"Fudgy and full flavored with buttery notes of caramel corn and shortbread. Tons of caramel and toffee and a really nice Red Hots cinnamon note on the finish."

GOLD - Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye Cask Proof

"This is a sensational sipper. Aromas of caramel chews, dark raisin and sugared figs lead to a palate of bananas foster, vanilla, and dark cocoa with a drying finish that’s powdery with dried flowers and more cocoa."

SILVER - Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye 80 Proof

"This whiskey is beautifully proofed to showcase juicy and light flavors of cereal grains and honey. Delicate and elegant, this is nice work."

You can read about all the winners, here.

John Barleycorn Awards 2021 John Barleycorn Awards 2021 John Barleycorn Awards 2021

Forbes: Ragnarök Rye collaboration with GWAR

Ragnarok Rye

Very cool to get coverage in Forbes this week on our collaboration with GWAR.  Claudia Alarcón writes:

In the latest, and perhaps the coolest partnership between a distillery and a celebrity, Virginia’s Catoctin Creek and outrageous metal band GWAR will finally release their infamous Ragnarök Rye on May 28. The award-winning distillery known for its rye whisky, was set to launch the collaboration this past February, but according to a press release, “the monster metal rock band drank it... all of it.”

You can read the full article, here.

Press Release: At last! Catoctin Creek Distilling Company and GWAR are ready to rock & roll with Ragnarök Rye on May 28

GWAR visits Catoctin Creek once again

Virginia distillery and American heavy metal rock band will release up to 200 cases of intergalactic sipping whisky with collectable bottle toppers nationwide

PURCELLVILLE, Va. (May 5, 2021) - - - Catoctin Creek Distilling Co., The Virginia Rye Whisky ℠, WAS excited to partner with GWAR to release their infamous Ragnarök Rye this past February... but then the monster metal rock band drank it... all of it.

“We knew working with GWAR on this whisky would be troublesome, but we didn’t realize it would be this troublesome," said Catoctin Creek founder and general manager, Scott Harris. "Usually, we have the production process under control, but this time the band members drank everything we distilled, and then demanded we create bottle toppers using rare metal ore sourced from the fillings of trolls,” continues Harris. “I knew our original schedule was shot. I mean, it's really cool to have rare metal in our bottle design, but it was hard rounding up all those trolls."

Aged in charred new white oak, then sugar maple and cherrywood, each bottle of Catoctin Creek’s 92-proof intergalactic rye whisky comes with a cast-metal collectable bottle topper featuring each of the five members of GWAR: Blóthar the Berserker; Balsac the Jaws of Death; Jizmak da Gusha; Beefcake the Mighty; and Pustulus Maximus.

Thrilled with the release, lead singer Blóthar the Berserker offered his enthusiastic endorsement, “If whisky is liquid sunshine, this rye is a scorching alien sun.”

Recently GWAR linked up with whiskey and spirits connoisseur Fred Minnick for an exclusive virtual tasting and review of the Ragnarök Rye. From the review, Minnick states, “Well done. This is a great edition to the rye whiskey scene. I think that this is one of the best tastes I’ve had from Catoctin Creek... it is very good.” Check out his full review here.

Up to 200 cases of Ragnarök Rye (92 proof/46% ABV) $99/750mL will be available throughout Catoctin Creek’s national distribution footprint beginning Friday, May 28, with more on the way soon. It will also be on sale in the distillery’s online store for curbside pickup or direct shipping in Virginia only. Pre-sale orders can be purchased through Seelbachs.com. Catoctin Creek Rye Society™ members may contact the distillery to obtain a bottle any time before the release date. For more information, video content, or merchandise, visit Gwar.net and CatoctinCreek.com/Ragnarok.

Click here for high-resolution photos.

About Catoctin Creek Distilling: At Catoctin Creek Distilling Company, 120 West Main St., True Craft is Inspired by Tradition.℠ Founded by Scott and Becky Harris in 2009, Catoctin Creek made a name for itself as the first legal distillery since prohibition in Purcellville, Virginia’s Loudoun County. The craft distillery is home to Virginia’s most-awarded whisky, Roundstone Rye, which has been presented gold medals across the globe and stands out through its old-world production methods. Catoctin Creek prides itself on sourcing rye whisky, gin, and seasonal brandy from local and organic grains and fruits, with spirits available in 29 states and 3 continents. The Harris’ intricate attention to detail results in high quality internationally-acclaimed products, including seasonal releases and private cask offerings, that recognize the true craft of Virginia spirits. For more information, call (540) 751-8404 or visit www.catoctincreek.com. Follow Catoctin Creek on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

About GWAR: The story of GWAR is carved across the history of this barren and hopeless planet, but GWAR themselves are not of this world. Their story begins in the deepest reaches of outer space. Long ago, the beings who would become the rock band GWAR were part of an elite fighting force, the Scumdogs of the Universe. For eons, they served as thralls to a supreme being known only as the Master. But one by one, each future member of the band earned a glaring reputation for being an intergalactic screw-up. And so, they were banished, sent away on a fool’s errand to conquer planet Earth. Once here, GWAR shaped the face of the globe, destroying and rebuilding the natural world, and giving rise to all human history. For more information, visit GWAR.net.

Fred Minnick: This Whiskey Brand Threatened to Kill Me

It's not every day that we commit high crimes and felonies.  But on April 28th, we did just that, to one of the most influential whiskey personalities in the industry today.  Probably not good policy, but in practice, I think it worked out pretty well this time, all things considered.  Here's our interview with Fred Minnick, with the members of GWAR, reviewing Ragnarök Rye:

Read more about Ragnarök Rye, here and here.

Catoctin Creek wins two golds and one silver in London

DBSB 2021 Gold DBSB 2021 Gold DBSB 2021 Silver

Catoctin Creek's flagship line of rye whisky - Roundstone Rye - has received numerous medals at the London-based The Drinks Business & The Spirits Business Spring 2021 Blind Tasting.

"Roundstone Rye Distiller’s Edition 92 Proof received a Gold in this flight, enjoyed for its “luxurious texture” and “slight resinous quality on the palate”. Roundstone Rye Cask Proof also secured a Gold medal with its “great balance”. Roundstone Rye 80 Proof was awarded a Silver medal.

“You can see why it’s such a popular category at the moment,” said Dixon. “It offers something unique. There’s lots of buzz around rye, and lots of producers are experimenting with it.”

You can read the full article, here.

Chilled Magazine Profiles Becky Harris

Becky Harris"Women are taking the stage of spirits by storm, and Rebecca Harris of Catoctin Creek Distilling is one of many bold women leading the way."  So says, the folks at Chilled.

Is there any one person or event that you feel made an impact in your path to becoming a master distiller?

I would say that the people in the distilling industry have been incredibly welcoming. Early in our distilling business I met Dave Pickerell at Mount Vernon, and he had a lovely way of sharing knowledge in a collegial fashion. Although we never consulted with him, I was incredibly influenced by his joy in what he did, as well as his passion for talking about the craft of distilling and engaging everyone in that creation process.

You can read the full interview, here.

Maple Cask Finished Rye Whiskey Reviewed

Cask Proof

Bevvy reviewed our Maple Cask Finished Rye.  I think they liked it!  Eric Twardzik writes:

Catoctin Creek Maple Cask Finished Rye is an extraordinary whiskey. Maple can sometimes feel like a gimmick in the whiskey world, but that is not the case here. The sweet, round flavors of maple syrup seem to twist around every inch of this woody, spicy, and delightfully aggressive whiskey, resulting in a dram that’s at once incredibly dry and oaky yet round and sweet.

★★★★

You can read the full review, including tasting notes, here.

The strangest thing happened one day...

Scott & Becky at the potstillWhat would you do if you walked into your home 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.

Barney the purple stillThe 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!

Scott short signature

Happy March - Old Tom Gin and Other News & Events

Old Tom Gin 

Happy March!  Old Tom Gin releases this month!!

On Monday, March 22nd, at 8am, we will release our next offering of the Watershed Gin barrel rested in pear brandy barrels, our "Old Tom" style gin. This one is perfect for those classic era cocktails like the Martinez, Ramos Gin Fizz, and the French 75. This is a once a year release. This will go for sale in our ONLINE STORE, so no waiting in line! Bottles are $50.89. More details about the product are in the original press release from 2015, below.

Rye Society™ members may contact us at 540-751-3294 to obtain their bottles anytime before the release date.

And a little bit about GWAR...

And keep an eye out.  GWAR is still coming.   We just don't have a firm date yet!  We'll let you know when we do, and, yes, VIP members will be able to pre-order once we have it set up.

 

Distilling Equipment

Expanding our Production - a Tripling of Functional Capacity!

In our efforts to keep up with demand, we are midway through a $1 million dollar production plan expansion! We've been so grateful that the world is responding so well to our beautiful Virginia rye whisky, that we need to be able to make more!  For those of you who are interested in this stuff, here's what we have planned and is already underway:

  • Replacing our 100 year old floors with new industrial concrete floors - DONE!
  • Replacing our 300 gallon electric mash tank with a new 530 gallon steam-powered mash tank! - UNDER CONSTRUCTION
  • Adding a new grain handling system, which includes an auger to fill the mash tank. - UNDER CONSTRUCTION
  • Replacing our beloved Barney, our 100 gallon electric pot still with a new 530 gallon steam-powered pot still.  (We'll be keeping Ron, our 300 gallon pot still, shown on the left above.) - UNDER CONSTRUCTION
  • Replacing our six 300 gallon fermenters with six new 530 gallon jacketed fermenters. - UNDER CONSTRUCTION
  • Adding a new "stillage" tank, which collects the spent mash for the farmers. - UNDER CONSTRUCTION
  • Adding a new massive 40T glycol system, which will greatly reduce our water usage! - ORDERED

If you know anybody who is looking to buy really good quality used equipment, please contact us!  It will be sad to get rid of the old equipment that we started with, but we simply don't have room to keep it all. I'm sure they'll go to a good home and make some new distillers very happy.

Also, we're taking suggestions for names for the new equipment!

 

Washington Post Covers Art of the Cocktail Zoom Classes

Emma Evans for the Washington PostWe 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 Hahn writes:

The collegial spirit is key: While Harris goes over the ins-and-outs of four cocktails each week, the classes, which include a lot of couples, have taken on a higher purpose. “I’ve been getting a lot of feedback like, ‘It’s so nice to have some little thing we can do on Friday night. It’s become like a date night for us,’” Harris says. “That was my hope. It’s almost like the classes are just sort of a framework for what ultimately turns into just drinking together and having a little bit of a social hour.”

You can read the full story, here.  Register for the class and read more, here.

Photo credit: Emma Evans for the Washington Post, and used with permission.

 

Catoctin Creek Apple Brandy featured in the New York Times

Apple Brandy from Catoctin CreekJulia 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 hard cider, which it procures from Blue Bee Cider company, in Richmond, Va., in the kind of collaboration often found among craft producers. The Harrises send some of the finished brandy back to Blue Bee, where it is mixed with the cidery’s own fortified apple wine and ginger eau de vie into a spicy dessert cider called Firecracker.

This year’s batch is made from Winesap, Pippin, Arkansas Black and other heritage apple breeds that are good for brandy, she said, because they have almost no sweetness, but share a strong, concentrated apple taste that carries all the way through distillation. The kind of big, sweet apples that have been bred for eating, like Red and Golden Delicious, are far too sugary and watery. “You want a lot of flavor for the flesh that’s there,” she said.

You can read the full story, here.

 

Art of the Cocktail - New Season starts March 12!

As featured in the Washington Post

Catoctin Creek is pleased to present, our SEVENTH year of this six-part educational series on the art of the cocktail.

We must still hunker down, as this pandemic isn't over yet.  Thus, the classes will still be online via Zoom.  Each week, we will send out a shopping list of items for you to pick up, plus the course materials.  Then, every Friday night, get yourself comfortably placed behind your bar, with your computer on and ready to go, and we will enjoy the class interactively just as if we were together in person.

In this series, I will be focusing on various cocktails from books I'm enjoying.  These are not cocktail recipe books, per se, but actual books on either history or some other topic, which have a prodigious amount of cocktails inside.  Think of this season's class as a cocktail-infused book club.  If you want to get the books and review them beforehand, that's fine, but this is not required.  We'll mostly be making drinks and having fun, so don't sweat the details too much here!

But if you do get the books, please reach out and support your local independent bookstore if at all possible.  They're little guys, like us, and appreciate your business.  They'll also mail your books to you, so you don't have to travel far.  Here are a couple we recommend:

Here is the schedule for the series:

  • March 12Behind Bars, High Class Cocktails Inspired by Lowlife Gangsters by Shawn McManus, Vincent Pollard, Paul Sloman
  • March 19 - Give Me Liberty and Give Me a Drink! by C. Jarrett Dieterle
  • March 26Spirits, Sugar, Water, Bitters by Derek Brown with Robert Yule
  • April 2Mint Juleps with Teddy Roosevelt, The Complete History of Presidential Drinking by Mark Will-Weber
  • April 9 - A Drinkable Feast, A Cocktail Companion to 1920s Paris by Philip Greene
  • April 16 - Shaking Up Prohibition in New Orleans, Authentic Vintage Cocktails from A to Z by Olive Leonhardt and Hilda Phelps Hammond 

Ingredients will be easy to obtain, and the lessons will be fun as ever.  This will be via Zoom, so I still expect lots of interaction and questions and good times.  It's a drinks class, after all!  As I mention in many of my classes, this class will be equal parts, cocktail how-to, education, and fun.

Tickets are ONLY $10 per person for the lessons, which leaves you room to purchase the ingredients.  You can purchase our spirits in our online store.

Book Now | Read More

GET IN ON THE FUN!

Zoom image of 30 people having fun in the cocktail class

 

 

Online Shop

Buy Your Spirits ONLINE for Delivery or Curbside Pickup

Virginia residents may buy your whisky, gin and brandy online!  The Virginia ABC now allows direct-to-consumer shipping!  We are now taking orders in our Online Shop.

       ORDER NOW  -  https://catoctincreekstore.com

If you are outside of Virginia, you may also order for online shipping, here.

You can also place curbside orders using the online shop, or simply call in your order at 540-751-3294.

 

 

 

Cocktail of the Month – Bad Moon Rising

Bad Moon Rising

2 oz Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye Whisky
¾ oz Pomegranate Rosemary Syrup
1 oz Lemon Juice
3 oz Ginger Beer

Shake whisky, lemon juice and syrup with ice. Add crushed ice to glass. Fine strain cocktail into glass, top with ginger beer and fresh ice.

Recipe and photo courtesy A Bar Above, @abarabove on Twitter.

See this cocktail and hundreds more on our cocktails page.

 

WhiskyCast

Proudly supporting WhiskyCast

Catoctin Creek is proud to be one of the sponsors of WhiskyCast, and if you’re not familiar with Whisky’s longest-running podcast series, we encourage you to check it out. Each week, Mark Gillespie brings you the latest whisky news from all over the world, along with in-depth interviews, tasting notes, and much more. You can listen to WhiskyCast on most podcast apps, smart speakers, and at WhiskyCast.com.

 

 

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!

Cheers!
Scott & Becky

Washington Post coverage of the Art of the Cocktail

Emma Evans for the Washington Post

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 Hahn writes:

The collegial spirit is key: While Harris goes over the ins-and-outs of four cocktails each week, the classes, which include a lot of couples, have taken on a higher purpose. “I’ve been getting a lot of feedback like, ‘It’s so nice to have some little thing we can do on Friday night. It’s become like a date night for us,’” Harris says. “That was my hope. It’s almost like the classes are just sort of a framework for what ultimately turns into just drinking together and having a little bit of a social hour.”

You can read the full story, here.  Register for the class and read more, here.

Photo credit: Emma Evans for the Washington Post, and used with permission.

GET IN ON THE FUN!

Zoom image of 30 people having fun in the cocktail class

Latest News

Catoctin Creek - Best of Virginia 2022

Once again, Catoctin Creek has been awarded #1 BEST OF VIRGINIA for Distillery in Northern Virginia in Virginia Living magazine! Nestled* on the banks of its namesake creek, Catoctin opening in 2009 as the first legal distillery in Loudoun County since...

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American Whiskey: Profile on Catoctin Creek

Maggie Kimberl of American Whiskey magazine recently caught up with Becky Harris for an update on the distillery: MK: Catoctin Creek whiskeys have garnered some major accolades over the years. What are you most proud of? RH: This is a really challenging...

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The Spirits Business: Ten female-founded spirits brands

Nice to see Becky included in The Spirits Business roundup of ten female-founded spirits brands on International Women's Day. Becky Harris co-founded Catoctin Creek Distilling Company in Virginia with her husband Scott in 2009. Based in Loudoun County in the north...

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Contact Us

Catoctin Creek Distillery

Catoctin Creek Distillery
120 W Main St
Purcellville, VA 20132

Tel +1-540-751-8404

catoctincreek.com

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Latest Events

GWAR Ragnarök Rye Release

  JUN 27   GWAR Ragnarök Rye Release 8:00am Eons ago the members of the intergalactic shock rock band known as GWAR descended on this world as passengers on a flaming comet that would bring about...

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Catoctin Creek Bottling Workshop

  JUL 16   Bottling Workshop 10:00am—12:00pm 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 Roundstone Rye. Get...

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The Art of the Cocktail - The Online Class with John Shope

  Every Fri Art of the Cocktail Class – 2022 Summer Series 7:00pm—9:00pm AS FEATURED IN THE WASHINGTON POST!  Starting July 22, and for six weeks every Friday, John Shope, our Virginia Sales Manager, will...

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