Liquor.com feature story on 7 great Virginia Distillers, including 2 makers of Virginia Rye Whiskey, Silverback and Catoctin Creek.
Visit these Virginia distilleries for a real taste of history.
Written by Jarrett Dieterle
Virginia’s wine scene is getting a lot of attention these days, but the state’s distilleries shine bright, too. American whiskey was born on the shores of Virginia’s James River in 1620, after all, investing the commonwealth with a rich distilling heritage that is holding strong.
Today, there are more than 45 distilleries in the state making some of the country’s best gin, vodka, whiskey and moonshine. Visiting them all would take a season. These seven are an excellent way to start your journey through Virginian spirits.
Silverback - Come for the large silverback gorilla statue out front, then stay for the delicious spirits. Located along Virginia’s Route 151—dubbed Alcohol Alley for its five wineries, three breweries, cidery and distillery—this is one of the state’s hidden gems. The surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains make it one of the prettiest Virginia distilleries to visit.
Silverback’s Strange Monkey gin wins over the most skeptical drinker with its approachable character. Blackback honey rye marries amber rye with honey sourced from local farms. The tasting room, open Thursday to Monday, serves craft cocktails using local ingredients and the distillery’s full array of spirits.
Catoctin Creek - An hour outside of Washington, D.C., Catoctin Creek is part of the great rye rebirth in American distilling. Its flagship Roundstone, which the distillery calls a “pre-Prohibition” rye, is made of 100% organic rye. Its brandies, made with 100% local fruit, are also superb, including peach, apple and pear spirits––all great on their own or mixed into a cocktail. Tours and tastings take place Tuesday through Sunday in a brick-lined room featuring a formidable central bar that overlooks the warehouse where the distilling takes place.
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