News

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

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.

Happy February - Rabble Rouser Release and Other News & Events

Rabble Rouser 

Happy February!  Rabble Rouser Releases this month!!

Greetings to all our Catoctin Creek fans out there.  We have some great things in store for you this February!

On Monday, February 8th at 8am, we will release the Rabble Rouser Bottled in Bond Rye Whisky in our ONLINE STORE. Due to better planning and growing reserves, we are happy to report that we have more available to sell! For some of you, this may be the first time you've had a chance to purchase this extremely rare whisky. We will have 50 cases of whisky to release in the Virginia market, double what we released last year. Do not queue up at the distillery, we are CLOSED that day. You can simply buy the whisky from the online store, then choose to have it delivered or come pick it up at your leisure. Bottles are $99 for Rabble Rouser at 750ml.

VIP members may call us at 540-751-3294 to obtain a bottle 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 setup.

 

Scott & Becky named to the "Imbibe 75" for 2020

Imbibe 752020 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 of the pandemic.  We turned this situation around and released our #InThisTogether rye whisky, the proceeds of which were given to local restaurant charities. As a result, Imbibe magazine named our founders, Becky and Scott Harris, to their Imbibe 75 list for the year.  We're very grateful for this honor.

Wayne Curtis writes:

The Harrises opted to give back to the hospitality industry.  They sold the new blend through their website and at the distillery.  They had 100 cases and sold out in two hours.  After recouping their expenses, Catoctin Creek paid out $12,000 to four groups supporting the hospitality industry, including the Restaurant Workers' Community Foundation and the USBG's Bartender Emergency Assistance Program.

Read the entire article here.

 

Four cocktails from Art of the Cocktail

Art of the Cocktail continues in February - Only TWO classes left!

Catoctin Creek is underway with 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 are still online via Zoom. Each week, we 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 enjoy the class interactively just as if we were together in person.

This year, we're focusing on WACKY and WEIRD ingredients! Things you wouldn't normally make cocktails with, but can find around the pantry. So BUCKLE UP, baby! This is a lot of fun!

Here is the schedule of the series:

  • January 8 - Cocktails using jams and jellies (Must be jelly, 'cuz jam don't shake like that!)
  • January 15 - Cocktails using chili peppers (not the rock band)
  • January 22 - Cocktails using beans (yes, beans! The Musical Fruit!)
  • January 29 - Cocktails using salt (savory and not savory drinks!)
  • February 5 - Cocktails using vegetables (drink your vegetables! They're good for you!)
  • February 12 - Cocktails using store-bought candy (Don't tell my dentist!)

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, history, 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.

Pictured above, four gorgeous cocktails from our "Salt" class, photograph by Mike Aron Visuals.

Book Now | Read More

 

Events in February Events in February Events in February

Other Events in February

  • Be sure to join us at Thacher & Rye in Frederick on February 3rd for our whisky dinner with Avalon (social distancing and COVID procedures in place).
  • Or join Scott for a virtual tasting of the Roundstone Rye product line at Calvert and Woodley.  Ask him anything and learn a lot about the whisky you love so much!  February 4th.
  • On February 10th, Tracie Franklin, the former global brand ambassador for Glenfiddich, will be performing a Catoctin Creek tasting for Women Who Whiskey with Words (W5).  She's a doll!  Don't miss this.

Find out more and sign up for these great events at our Events pagehttps://catoctincreek.com/events

 

 

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 – Catoctin Cucumber Cooler

Catoctin Cucumber Cooler

This one is my personal favorite. I like to call it "Cool Hand Cuke". It came to us from John Shope, who started out as a bartender at the now closed Food Matters in Alexandria. Since then, John has become our Virginia Sales Manager, and is the third longest serving employee after Scott & Becky, the owners. It is a fantastically simple, yet wonderfully satisfying drink that brings memories of summer and refreshment.

1 1/2 oz Catoctin Creek Watershed Gin
1 oz Freshly juiced cucumber
3/4 oz Fresh lemon juice
3/4 oz house made cucumber syrup
1 pinch Rosemary salt

Cucumber Syrup: Boil equal parts water and sugar with half of a peeled and sliced cucumber. Remove from heat, strain while still warm, pressing against the cucumbers to extract more juice and color. Allow to cool then refrigerate for up to two weeks.

Rosemary Salt: Simply chop fresh rosemary with kosher salt until rosemary blends with salt. Add rosemary to taste.

Glass: Rocks Glass (Also fantastic served up in a martini glass)
Garnish: Thin Slice of Cucumber and Rosemary Salt
Method: Mix all ingredients with ice, shake and serve

Courtesy John Shope.

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

Press Release: Catoctin Creek Distilling Company announces $1 million plant upgrade set for June 2021

Virginia distillery triples capacity with national expansion plans

PURCELLVILLE, Va. (January 11, 2021) - - - Catoctin Creek Distilling Co., The Virginia Rye Whisky℠, is excited to triple its capacity with a $1 million distillery production upgrade. Delayed due to COVID-19, expansion plans have been well underway for over a year and are set to be finalized in late June.

"As we continue to grow Catoctin Creek as a national brand, we must ensure we have enough whisky inventory to support future demand,” said co-founder and general manager Scott Harris. “This equipment expansion will guarantee our production capacity keeps up with sales for the next few years, at least."

Consistent with Catoctin Creek’s commitment to distilling pot stilled whiskies, Scott and wife/Catoctin Creek co-founder and chief distiller, Becky Harris, invested in a 2000L copper pot still from Specific Mechanical Systems in British Columbia, which will be a bittersweet replacement of their beloved 12-year old still, ‘Barney’. Additional new enhancements include a glycol cooling system; a new 2000L mash tank; six new 2000L fermenters; and concrete floors to replace the existing 100 year old floors.

Anyone interested in purchasing the existing 400L electrically powered Kothe pot still, ‘Barney’; 300-gallon electrically powered mash tank; or six 300-gallon fermenters, please contact Scott at (540) 751-8404.

Originally built in the second year of Prohibition, 1921, the historic Case Building located on Main Street in downtown Purcellville, Virginia has been home to Catoctin Creek since 2013. The Harris’ originally spent over $750,000 on the restoration and renovation project, turning the former Buick dealership into a Purcellville’s first legal distillery.

Click here to view 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 27 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.

Becky & Scott Harris named to Imbibe 75

Imbibe 752020 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 of the pandemic.  We turned this situation around and released our #InThisTogether rye whisky, the proceeds of which were given to local restaurant charities. As a result, Imbibe magazine named our founders, Becky and Scott Harris, to their Imbibe 75 list for the year.  We're very grateful for this honor.

Wayne Curtis writes:

The Harrises opted to give back to the hospitality industry.  They sold the new blend through their website and at the distillery.  They had 100 cases and sold out in two hours.  After recouping their expenses, Catoctin Creek paid out $12,000 to four groups supporting the hospitality industry, including the Restaurant Workers' Community Foundation and the USBG's Bartender Emergency Assistance Program.

Read the entire article here.

Press Release: Virginia's Most-Awarded Whisky Announces UK Launch

Catoctin Creek Distilling Company, home of the Virginia Rye Whisky, inaugurates #RyeJanuary for its UK launch in January 2021

PURCELLVILLE, Va. (January 4, 2021) - - - In Loudoun County, in the north of Virginia, lush plains and meandering rivers work their way down rolling hills from snow-peaked mountains to Purcellville where Catoctin Creek Distilling Company sits on Main Street. This is the home to Virginia’s most-awarded whisky that embodies the very essence of the birthplace of American whisky in 1607.

The craft distillery made a name for itself as the first legal distillery in Loudoun County to open since Prohibition and respects their incredible history by using pre-Prohibition methods to create their award winning Roundstone Rye. The whisky is available at ten retailers including Masters of Malt, The Whisky Exchange and Native Spirits priced from £37 (rrp).

This small-scale pre-Prohibition distillation method of using home-sized pot stills, local grain and family recipes, has benefited from the incorporation of modern knowledge and technology resulting in over one hundred awards and accolades for their Roundstone Rye available in three editions of 80 Proof, Distiller's Edition 92 Proof and Cask Proof.

Roundstone Rye has a delicious woody taste, with notes of caramel, rich butter toffee, with a hint of lemon in the nose. Ageing in new charred white oak casks gives the whisky the smooth woody note and a true grain character of a traditional American rye whisky. It is superb in Manhattans or your favourite rye whisky cocktails as well as superb for sipping.

Catoctin Creek Distilling Company is inviting those not taking part in Dry January to join them to celebrate the inaugural Rye January to mark the UK launch and their strong links to Prohibition. Throughout the month consumers are invited to a virtual Virginia via the Catoctin Creek website through specially filmed guided tastings, a potted history of Virginia, Rye, and the Prohibition, a virtual tour of the distillery or enjoying a sip while listening to a curated #RyeJanuary Spotify playlist.

A sip of Roundstone Rye is truly a sip of the essence of Virginia; it starts with local Virginia grain, always made from 100% rye, that is mashed and fermented on site then distilled in copper pot stills before being aged in new charred Virginia oak barrels soaking up the bucolic Virginia climate while it develops flavour from the barrel. The final ingredient, natural Virginia spring water, is used to proof the whisky before bottling and adds another key piece of terroir in the form of limestone and minerals in the water into the spirit. The result is a rye whisky that is authentically made using tradition and the finest agriculture that Virginia offers.

Catoctin Creek Distilling’s distribution footprint includes the following 27 markets in the United States: Arkansas, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming, and internationally in Finland, Germany, Mexico, Netherlands, Italy, Singapore, Spain and the United Kingdom.

About Catoctin Creek Distilling: Catoctin Creek Distilling Company, 120 West Main St., The Virginia Rye Whisky℠ was 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 27 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.

 

Editors Notes

UK Press Agents

Fourteen Ten®
Studio 2, 92 Lots Road, Chelsea, London, SW10 0QD
Tel: 020 7352 0101
Social: @fourteenten
Web: fourteenten.com

Fourteen Ten® is a registered trademark of Fourteen Ten Agency Ltd a company registered in England & Wales. Company Registration No. 10391624

High Resolution images

Download here

Three varieties of Roundstone Rye

Roundstone Rye 80 Proof

Catoctin Creek's most popular whisky. Delicious mixed, on the rocks, or neat.

Suggested retail price £37 per bottle. 40% ABV, 700 ml

Roundstone Rye Distiller's Edition 92 Proof

Only one in every ten barrels gets selected to be in the Roundstone Rye "92 Proof" whisky. This whisky is the culmination of several years of planning. "For a few years now, we've been putting whisky away for storage," remarked Becky Harris, Chief Distiller and President of Catoctin Creek Distilling Company. "We pulled some of the more interesting barrels from the back of the barn and decided to release these at a higher proof: a whisky specially curated for flavour, while still being remarkably smooth, as is our existing 80 proof Roundstone.”

Suggested retail price £55 per bottle. 46% ABV, 700 ml

Roundstone Rye Cask Proof

"The most awarded whisky and the best we make!” says Scott Harris, Founder and General Manager of Catoctin Creek. The cask proof version of the ever-popular Roundstone Rye is a very special expression. Released at approximately 58% ABV (it varies depending on the individual barrels), this is seriously strong whisky! Delicious, dark, complex and ridiculously smooth for the proof, Roundstone Rye Cask Proof is released only about twice per year. Cask proof releases are announced about a month in advance.

Suggested retail price £85 per bottle. 58% ABV, 700 ml

Availability in UK

Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye is available from: Masters of Malt, The Whisky Exchange, Native Spirits, Urban Drinks, Southport Whisky, The Little Whisky Shop , Spirit Specialist, Vinovero, Dram Good Drinks, Drink Specialist.

Web & Links

How To Say Catoctin

The name "Catoctin" is a regional name. Pronounced Ka-TOCK-tin, the name derives from the Indian tribal name "Kittocton" which, legend has it, meant "place of many deer". Catoctin describes a range of mountains and the eponymous creek which flows picturesquely past the distillery and into the Potomac River and Chesapeake Watershed.

The History of Rye, by Scott Harris

"When colonists came to America, the first permanent British settlement was Jamestown, Virginia in 1607. Immediately, during that time, colonists started making whisky from local grain, most famously (but not exclusively) by George Thorpe.

The style of distillation at this time was necessarily small scale... small home-sized pot stills using local grain and family recipes. Today, we would call this "craft" but back then, it was just one of the necessary items on the family homestead or farm. Ref: Every Home a Distillery So the whisky of that time, predominantly made from rye - the local grain - was influenced by region, terroir and local practices. Ref: The Practical Distiller (1804) by Samuel McHarry. As a town-person, you could take your horse to a local farm and buy jars of whisky. This was common across the state on the small farm and home scale in the 1700s. That is why we refer to Virginia as the birthplace of American whiskey (well before the dawn of bourbon). In fact, when people started distilling corn into bourbon in what is today Kentucky, that land was part of Virginia! Kentucky didn't become a state until 1792. So, we are cheeky to say it, but Virginia is also the birthplace of Bourbon! Elijah Craig was born and raised in Virginia.

Before the revolutionary war, the most common spirit consumed in the colonies was RUM. This was due to the high levels of trade between Great Britain, the Caribbean, and the colonies. (Sadly, enslaved people being part of this trade along with rum.) Everyone drank rum, and lots of it. But when the colonies rebelled against Great Britain, and won the revolution, King George III cut off his supply of sugar and rum from the Caribbean. No more rum. This led to a huge, and industrial-sized growth in the next ten years of rye whiskey. In places like Maryland and Pennsylvania, rye whiskey became big factory productions, and became the dominant spirit of the mid-Atlantic region, including Virginia. After the revolution, General George Washington, now retired from the presidency, established a distillery on his farm at Mount Vernon in Virginia, not far from Washington DC. Washington had been, ironically, responsible for quelling the whisky rebellion in western Pennsylvania, a rebellion caused by the new national government establishing a new liquor excise tax to pay for the debt caused by the revolutionary war. The rebellion was quelled, but Washington now had the distilling bug in his blood. He would found the largest commercial distillery during his lifetime, producing predominantly rye whisky.

As we passed into the 1800's, the cocktail was invented (1804 is the first documented recipe for a "whisky cocktail", later called the "old fashioned whisky cocktail" and later still, called simply the "old fashioned."). The 1800's saw a huge boom in cocktails and whisky consumption, dominated mostly by the elite bartenders in New York City - and again, the key whiskey ingredient in those Manhattans, Old Fashioneds, etc. was RYE whiskey, not bourbon. Rye was king on the east coast all the way until Prohibition.

And then Prohibition wiped it all out. 1920-1933 is a long time for industry to survive a total and complete ban on its existence. Before Prohibition, there were over 30 large factory distilleries in Pennsylvania alone. After Prohibition, there were none. And none until the first ones established around 2009! 76 years of nothing.

Until 2009, until Catoctin Creek Distillery - The Virginia Rye Whisky."

Southport Whisky Festival in UK

We were absolutely delighted last week to be included in the Southport Whisky Festival in the United Kingdom.  A small, online festival of very devoted whisky drinkers, Catoctin Creek was the only American whisky represented at the festival.  As such, we were a bit of a novelty.  Victor, the organizer of the festival, was kind enough to share the video recording, which you can watch here for more information.

If you'd like to get involved with the festival, or live in the UK and would like to order our products through Southport, check them out here:   https://www.southportwhisky.co.uk/

FDA rescinds fees charged to distilleries making hand sanitizer - NBC 4

Early in 2020, when the country was beset by the COVID-19 pandemic, craft distilleries all across the nation stepped up to fill the void in hand sanitizer, pivoting their businesses to produce WHO-formula sanitizer that was FDA approved. The ACSA worked closely with the FDA to ensure that all of these craft distillers could be quickly added as "drug producers" (their definition of someone making sanitizer), so that the public would be assured that the products being put out in this emergency period were safe and regulated.

Fast forward to just before New Year's Eve 2020, when these same craft distillers begin receiving emails from the FDA stating that they owe the FDA $14,060 due February 11th, 2021, for the privilege of working with the FDA last year. What's more, these fees never existed when the distilleries registered with the FDA.  They were applied retroactively.  Many of these distilleries donated or sold their sanitizer at cost, and a surprise $14,000 bill would put many of them out of business.  Worse still, the fees doubled if the distilleries let their registration continue to January 1, 2021.

Truly, no good deed goes unpunished.

Becky Harris, Catoctin Creek's chief distiller and current president of the American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA), along with Margie Lehrman, CEO of the association, got on the phone with congress and officials at the Department of Health and Human Services. All day, during New Year's Eve, Becky and the organization are frantically speaking with HHS, explaining the unfairness of this surprise, retroactive fee.

In a story that doesn't often happen, the HHS agreed, and ordered the FDA to rescind the fees, bringing every craft distiller across the nation a very happy new year.

Drew Wilder reports from NBC 4 Washington:

Happy New Year from Catoctin Creek - January News

Portfolio Tasting 

Happy New Year!

We made it!  2021 is in the rear view mirror!  Thank goodness!  Here's hoping your 2021 will be better than last year, and we'll all stay healthy and warm.

 

A Brief History of Virginia Rye Whisky - by Scott Harris

Taking a little time to reflect on history this past few weeks.  We thought you might enjoy our perspective on rye whisky and why we do what we do.

When colonists came to America, the first permanent British settlement was Jamestown, Virginia in 1607.  (Over 400 years ago!)  Immediately, during that time, colonists started making whisky from local grain, most famously (but not exclusively) by George Thorpe.

The style of distillation at this time was necessarily small scale... small home-sized pot stills using local grain and family recipes.  Today, we would call this "craft" but back then, it was just one of the necessary chores of the family homestead or farm.  [Ref: Every Home a Distillery by Sarah Hand Meacham] 

Rye in a field at sunset. Image licensed from Getty Images.The whisky of that time, predominantly made from rye–the local grain–was influenced by region, terroir and local practices.  [Ref:  The Practical Distiller (1804) by Samuel McHarry]  As a towns-person, you could take your horse to a local farm and buy jars of whisky.  This was common across the state on the small farm and homestead in the 1700s.  That is why we refer to Virginia as the birthplace of American whiskey (well before the dawn of bourbon).  In fact, when people started distilling corn mash into bourbon in what is today Kentucky, that land was part of Virginia!  Kentucky didn't become a state until 1792.  So, it may be scandalous to say it, but Virginia is also the birthplace of bourbon!  (Elijah Craig was born and raised in Virginia.)

Before the revolutionary war, the most common spirit consumed in the colonies was rum.  This was due to the high levels of trade between Great Britain, the Caribbean, and the colonies.  Sadly, enslaved African people were part of this trade, along with rum, and were crucial to its production.

Everyone in the colonies drank rum, and lots of it. Men drank it; women drank it; children drank it. But it was more than just a drink. Rum was also used for medicines, tinctures, bitters, solvent, mouthwash and many other uses.

When the colonies rebelled against Great Britain and won the revolution, King George III was pissed. He cut off his supply of sugar and rum from the Caribbean.  No more rum. This led to a huge, and industrial-sized growth in the next ten years of rye whiskey production.  In places like Maryland​ and Pennsylvania, rye whiskey became big factory productions, and rye became the dominant spirit of the mid-Atlantic region, including Virginia. 

After the revolution, General George Washington, now retired from the presidency, established a distillery on his farm at Mount Vernon in Virginia, not far from Washington DC.  Washington had been, ironically, responsible for quelling the whisky rebellion in western Pennsylvania, a rebellion caused by the new national government establishing a new liquor excise tax to pay for the debt caused by the revolutionary war.  The rebellion was quelled, but Washington now had the distilling bug in his blood.  He would found the largest commercial distillery during his lifetime, producing predominantly rye whisky.

Cocktail makingAs the country passed into the 1800's, the cocktail was invented (1804 is the first documented recipe for a "whisky cocktail", later called the "old fashioned whisky cocktail" and later still, called simply the "old fashioned.").  The 1800's saw a huge boom in cocktails and whisky consumption, dominated mostly by the professional bartenders in New York City – and again, the key whiskey ingredient in those Manhattans, Old Fashioneds, etc. was rye whiskey, not bourbon.  Rye was king on the east coast. If you were in the “frontier” (western states like Ohio, Kentucky, Missouri), bourbon was likely your whiskey of choice. If you were in New Orleans, you probably enjoyed mostly cognac. [Ref: Imbibe! by David Wondrich] This regional division in spirits remained the case until Prohibition.

And then Prohibition wiped it all out.  1920-1933. Thirteen years. This is a long time for any industry to survive a total and complete ban on its existence.  Some distillers survived by producing prescription whiskey, but many closed forever. For example, before Prohibition, there were over 30 large factory distilleries in Pennsylvania alone.  After Prohibition, there were none.  And none until the first ones re-established in the early 2000s!  67+ years of nothing.

Back to Virginia  – So it is this love of rye whisky, the history, the terroir, the spirit, that we celebrate with our Catoctin Creek rye whisky.  What does it mean to be The Virginia Rye Whisky?  It means we start in Virginia – our home – with local grain, always made from 100% rye, that is mashed and fermented on site, and – this is absolutely essential – distilled in copper pot stills, and then aged in Virginia and other white oak barrels, soaking up the bucolic Virginia climate while it develops flavor from the barrel.  The final ingredient, natural Virginia spring water, is used to proof the whisky before bottling, adding another key piece of terroir (limestone and minerals in the water impart flavor) into the spirit.  The result is a rye whisky that is authentically made using tradition and the finest agriculture that Virginia offers. 

Catoctin Creek – The Virginia Rye Whisky™

 

Tasting Room operations in 2021

As a reminder, we are still operating under the Phase III restrictions of COVID-19, and God willing, we will continue to do so.  For the safety of our guests and the safety of our employees, we continue to do the following:

  • Everyone masked up at all times, unless seated enjoying your cocktails
  • 50% capacity indoors with social spacing
  • Outside tables available - bring a lap blanket!
  • Sanitizing of surfaces after every patron, or every hour, whichever is less
  • Contactless payment at the register
  • Direct to consumer shipping and online pickup - catoctincreekstore.com

Please be courteous of your fellow diners and our staff and wear your mask.  It's all we ask!

 

Port City Collaboration

 

 

NEW RELEASES - "Colossal X" Malt Whisky & Colossal V finished cask proof rye - collaborations with Port City Brewing Company

Keep your eyes peeled for the next in our American Malt Whisky series - the "Colossal X."  Releasing on January 11th at 8am in our online store.  This malt whisky was made from their very popular Colossal ale from our friends at Port City Brewing Company in Alexandria, Virginia.  Here's how they describe this annually released ale:

[Port City’s Colossal beer] is a rich, full-bodied ale that pours a dark mahogany accentuated by ruby highlights.  Flavors of treacle, plum pudding, and dried fruit are complemented by a subtle dry hop presence.

In celebration of Port City's tenth anniversary in 2021, we will be co-releasing this malt whisky with their release of the Colossal X anniversary beer!  You can get both, if you like, and see how wonderfully the distillation process captures the heart and soul of this rich English-style ale.  These bottles are extremely limited, about 600 bottles available from this limited run.

IN ADDITION, we are also releasing a version of our Cask Proof Rye Whisky aged in their Colossal V beer barrels.  So you can have this collaboration TWO WAYS:  cask proof rye or as a malt whiskey made from their ale.  Both are fantastic.

Releasing on January 11th at 8am in our online store.

 

 

Roundstone Rye 92 Proof "Distiller's Edition"

Wine Enthusiast Magazine - Best 30 Whiskeys of 2020!!

Wine Enthusiast has culled their list of the Top 100 spirits of 2020 to produce their 30 Best Whiskeys of 2020 list.  Boy, oh boy!  It's great to be included on that list:

Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye Whiskey Distillers Edition; $51, 94 points. This single-barrel rye is suitable for sipping or a dessert pairing. Look for bold sugar-cookie aromas and confectionary richness on the palate: vanilla, cocoa, hazelnut, maple sugar and mocha. The moderately long finish is marked by lemon peel and nutmeg. —K.N.

Read the full story, here.


 

Art of the Cocktail returns in January!

Monkey Gland 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.

This year, we're focusing on WACKY and WEIRD ingredients! Things you wouldn't normally make cocktails with, but can find around the pantry. So BUCKLE UP, baby! This is going to be fun!

Here is the schedule of the series:

  • January 8 - Cocktails using jams and jellies (Must be jelly, 'cuz jam don't shake like that!)
  • January 15 - Cocktails using chili peppers (not the rock band)
  • January 22 - Cocktails using beans (yes, beans! The Musical Fruit!)
  • January 29 - Cocktails using salt (savory and not savory drinks!)
  • February 5 - Cocktails using vegetables (drink your vegetables! They're good for you!)
  • February 12 - Cocktails using store-bought candy (Don't tell my dentist!)

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, history, 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

 

 

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 – Chad's Port Punch

Chad Robinson making Punch

Our beloved ambassador, Chad Robinson, came up with this cocktail for a private party for the RAMMY nominations in DC years ago.  Easily batched and poured for the masses, it is reminiscent of a sangria or a grog.  This is a whopper of a punch, so best to save it for once we're all vaccinated, and we need to throw a REALLY BIG CELEBRATION in 2021!

6 oranges
12 lemons
20 oz of superfine sugar
2 bottles of Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye
1 bottles of Catoctin Creek 1757 Virginia Brandy
2 bottles of good port

Peel the lemons and 2 of the oranges and set them aside for juicing later. Muddle the peels with the sugar in your punch bowl and let it sit for at least 1 hour until the citrus oils mix with the sugar. This is called oleo saccharum.
Juice your lemons and 3 of your oranges. Mix the juice with the oleo saccharum, making sure the sugar is fully dissolved in the juice. Once the sugar is fully dissolved, add the port, rye and brandy. Add a large quantity of ice to the punch to keep it cool while you're serving it. Slice the remaining oranges into wheels and use the orange wheels to garnish your punch bowl.

Serves at least 30-40 people.  (Save this for your after COVID party!)

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

My Whiskey Den 2020 Craft Rye of the Year

The good folks of My Whiskey Den have named Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye Cask Proof their 2020 Craft Rye Whiskey of the Year!  Huzzah!!  Benjamin reviews the Cask Proof:

This one knocked it out of the park for me.  As good as the others were, this one was a step – a STEP – better.

Check out starting at minute 4:30 for the rye category awards, or around 11:15 for our specific mention...

The 30 Best Whiskeys of 2020: Wine Enthusiast

Roundstone Rye 92 Proof "Distiller's Edition"

Wine Enthusiast has culled their list of the Top 100 spirits of 2020 to produce their 30 Best Whiskeys of 2020 list.  Boy, oh boy!  It's great to be included on that list:

Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye Whiskey Distillers Edition; $51, 94 points. This single-barrel rye is suitable for sipping or a dessert pairing. Look for bold sugar-cookie aromas and confectionary richness on the palate: vanilla, cocoa, hazelnut, maple sugar and mocha. The moderately long finish is marked by lemon peel and nutmeg. —K.N.

Read the full story, here.

American Whiskey Magazine: Catoctin Creek partners with GWAR to release Ragnarök Rye

Becky and Scott Harris with GWAR's Berserker Blothar

American Whiskey magazine covered our press release announcing our partnership with GWAR, the intergalactic metal band based in Richmond. 

As the story goes, members of the intergalactic shock rock band known as GWAR descended on this world as passengers on a flaming comet that would bring about the destruction of most life on Earth. The asteroid ploughed into the continent of Antarctica with devastating force, melting the ice, setting much of the world ablaze, and leaving a massive crater filled with the purest Antarctic water and a strangely intoxicating ichor that flowed from the veins of the immortal GWAR. Legend recorded these events as the tale of Ragnarök, the end of days. But like all endings, it was also a beginning. Now, this blood of the gods, harvested from the great caldera, has been distilled and bottled by Catoctin Creek as Ragnarök Rye.

Read the full story, here.

Press Release: Catoctin Creek partners with GWAR to release Ragnarök Rye February 2021

Ragnarok Rye

Virginia distillery teams up with American heavy metal rock band for special rye whisky

PURCELLVILLE, Va. (December 4, 2020) - - - Catoctin Creek Distilling Co., The Virginia Rye Whisky℠, is excited to partner with monster metal rock band GWAR for the SICKEST rye whisky release of 2021. Launching in February, Catoctin Creek Ragnarök Rye is a 92-proof rye whisky aged in charred new white oak, then sugar maple and cherrywood.

Truly, there is nothing else in the vast universe like the rock band GWAR, and in tribute to the band's originality as the most elaborate and transgressive theatrical production in heavy metal history, Scott and Becky Harris of Catoctin Creek have made sure there is nothing else like Ragnarök Rye.

“Don’t get me wrong, this is an exciting release, but we were quite surprised when GWAR showed up at our distillery,” said founder and general manager, Scott Harris. “Purcellville is a quiet town, so to have these intergalactic visitors was—honestly—a little stressful. We had to constantly keep an eye on them to keep them from breaking stuff, and they even tried to eat our dog, Otto. The only way we could get them to leave was to agree to bottle their whisky for them.”

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 the destruction of most life on Earth. The asteroid plowed into the continent of Antarctica with devastating force, melting the ice, setting much of the world ablaze, and leaving a massive crater filled with the purest Antarctic water and a strangely intoxicating ichor that flowed from the veins of the immortal GWAR. Legend recorded these events as the tale of Ragnarök, the end of days. But like all endings, it was also a beginning. Now, this blood of the gods, harvested from the great caldera, has been distilled and bottled by Catoctin Creek as Ragnarök Rye.

“Ahh, such a powerful spirit,” said The Berserker Blothar of GWAR. “A delicious sacrament to drink in preparation for battle, and it’ll get you really, really crazy.”

The mad scientists at Catoctin Creek conducted experiments on aging the blood of GWAR in barrels made from the different types of wood scorched by the comet's blast. They used the rarest of grains and watered their mash bill with the melted Antarctic ice to create a 92 strength rye whisky, pot stilled and then aged in charred new white oak. Members of GWAR then hurled the whiskey barrels into the orbit of the moon, causing contraction to take place as the barrels spun under the influence of the deathly coldness of space and the life-giving heat of the sun. The end result was Ragnarök Rye, an exquisite beverage graced with notes of cherrywood and sugar maple to produce subtle flavors unheard of in a traditional rye whisky.

Catoctin Creek Distilling Co. Ragnarök Rye Whisky (92 Proof/46% ABV) $99/750mL

Catoctin Creek Distilling’s distribution footprint includes the following 27 markets in the United States: Arkansas, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming, and internationally in Finland, Germany, Mexico, Netherlands, Italy, Singapore, Spain and the United Kingdom.

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 27 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 http://GWAR.net.

GWAR Visits Catoctin Creek

Ludacris tries Catoctin Creek Cask Proof Maple Cask

Fred Minnick got Ludacris a bunch of samples, and had a really neat interview with him on The Fred Minnick Show.  Check it out around 16:20 when Ludacris takes a sip of our Cask Proof rye.

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

buyvirginiarye.com


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Latest Events

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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Fall Dinner at the Distillery - Chef Tarver King

  SEP 2   Dinner at the Distillery with Chef Tarver King 7:00pm—9:30pm BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND!  In March, this dinner sold out in a few days! Join us for our fall dinner at the distillery with...

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