Carrie Allan and Jason Wilson wrote a sweeping piece in Washington Post Food about how Prohibition almost killed off rye whiskey completely. Luckily, in the past few years, we've seen a remarkable resurgence, but there's still a long way to go to get back to the glory days before Prohibition.
In July, a partisan crowd gathered at Tales of the Cocktail, the annual trade conference in New Orleans, for a debate titled “The Greatest Whisk(e)y Category Is . . . .” Organized by Derek Brown, owner of several D.C. bars and the spirits adviser for the National Archives, the argument pitted peat-loving sister against limestone- loving brother, brand rep against brand rep, whisky against whiskey.
Southern Efficiency’s J.P. Fetherston, arguing for the supremacy of bourbon, ramped up supporters with jingoistic appeals to their patriotism. Andy Nelson of Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery waved a picket sign as his brother Charlie advocated the superiority of Tennessee whiskey. Georgie Bell, brand ambassador for Mortlach single-malt Scotch, held out for the peaty classic.
After a vote taken by noise levels (a crowd whose morning has been spent tasting spirits is not one to hold back), Chad Robinson, who as global ambassador for Catoctin Creek Distilling had made the case for rye whiskey, stood triumphant.
The article goes on to discuss the various distilleries across the country re-introducing rye whiskey to the American public, and a couple of the styles in the production of the spirit. This is a great read, so be sure to check out the full story, here.
We have a nice profile of the distillery at The Dominion Collective. Joe Fitzpatrick does a pretty comprehensive piece, for example, this quote on why we chose to be eco-ganic:
For us, eco-ganic really is the starting point of historical accuracy. One hundred years ago, they didn’t have herbicides, fungicides, or insecticides. It was eco-ganic production; they just didn’t call it that. We felt that eco-ganic was more historically accurate with the way the spirit would taste, and it helps support sustainable farming and, generally speaking, gives smaller farmers that are seeking a high-value means of income for their crops. So we like the whole circle of life, crunchy granola kind of message too. But when it comes down to it, we like the taste, and the taste of the eco-ganic grain is super clean and doesn’t have any of the residues or off notes you would taste in a spirit that has been treated with these chemicals.
Read the full story, here.
The fabulous Jake Emen does a great story breaking down the types of brandy found worldwide. A wonderful Brandy 101 for beginners:
"The only times I really hear brandy referenced, it's the most generic, cliché image of a stuffy old white man in a smoking jacket with a snifter by a fireplace drinking some unpronounceable French brandy," says Chad Robinson, an all-around brandy enthusiast, and brand ambassador for Catoctin Creek, a Virginia distillery which produces a range of brandies, in addition to whiskey and gin. Yes, brandy can be enjoyed in that form and fashion. But no, that's not all there is to it.
Read the full story, here.
Washingtonian recently ran a story on the greatest small towns near Washington, DC. Our happy hamlet of Purcellville made the cut, and I'd like to think that Catoctin Creek had a little something to do with that! From the story:
In 2009, before microbreweries set up tanks, Catoctin Creek Distilling Company opened in the historic downtown. You can try whiskey flights for $10; be sure to sample Mosby's Spirit, a white rye. Down the street, Magnolias at the Mill serves tasty burgers, steaks, and sandwiches in a converted 1905 mill.
You can read the Purcellville story, here, and check out the other towns that made the list, here.
Tara Morgan of Boise Weekly, along with a panel of tasters, reviewed three small batch gins, and Watershed Gin was one of them:
Distilled in the foothills of Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains, Catoctin Creek is crafted from eco-ganic rye and wheat. It has a fair amount of heat on the nose, with spicy notes of cardamom and cinnamon followed by a waft of juniper and mild hint of chlorine. With a full body and a substantial boozy bite, tasters claimed this gin "will put hair on your chest."
Read the entire story, here.
Thanks to Nevin Martell for the callout on gins in Modern Luxury DC magazine! He's picked up all the gins in the local area and described a little tasting note on each:
Juniper takes center stage, though cinnamon, coriander and anise seed are all strong co-stars. Simply swirled with Schweppes tonic and a lemon slice, it's refreshment incarnate.
Read the full article, here.
We were delighted to receive a review in the recent issue of Wine Enthusiast for Roundstone Rye. The bottle reviewed was submitted over 2 years ago, so we almost forgot completely about it. Since then, the whisky has gotten older and more complex, having the benefit of aging in our off-premise barn/rickhouse. The newest bottles being sold today... well, we just keep getting better!
89 - Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye (USA; Catoctin Creek Distilling, Purcellville, VA). This single-barrel whiskey is made from 100% rye and aged for less than two years. In the glass, it has an orange-amber hue and aroma that melds oak, malt and vanilla. On the palate, vanilla leads, with oakiness winding into a baking-spice finish. A good match for Manhattans.
You can read the full review, here, or click the image at right.
EX-IM Bank (The Export-Import Bank of the United States) is a government-supported bank that provides lending for US companies doing exports. Normally, an organization like this is mostly ignored by the general public, but for small businesses like ours, it is a crucial tool for encouraging US exports. In particular, the bank makes low cost insurance policies to guarantee invoices from foreign suppliers. This is important because it is usually necessary to extend credit terms to our foreign suppliers, but we cannot bear the risk if one of those suppliers fails to pay us for our goods. EX-IM fills in the gap with a low-cost insurance policy that allows us to extend terms, and vets for us the foreign company for credit-worthiness.
The EX-IM Bank is one of the organizations that could be de-funded by a lackluster, do-nothing congress. Luckily for Catoctin Creek, our senators from Virginia are helping to fight the good fight:
“At a time when U.S. exporters and manufacturers are already suffering from substantial economic uncertainty in Europe, they should not be subjected to additional uncertainty manufactured by Washington. The Export-Import Bank supports hundreds of thousands of American jobs tied to exports and helps businesses across Virginia export hundreds of millions of dollars in goods and services each year,” said Sens. Warner and Kaine. “The Export-Import Bank levels the playing field for U.S. exporters – many of them small businesses – by matching the financing that other governments provide to their exporters, and it does so at no cost to the taxpayer. In fact, over the last two decades, the Ex-Im Bank has actually helped reduce the deficit by generating nearly $7 billion more than it costs to operate.”
The Senators noted, “The Bank has operated for more than 80 years and has been reauthorized 16 times with bipartisan support under 13 different Presidents, Republican and Democrat. Congressional leadership should be ashamed for allowing this important job-creating tool to expire for the first time in its history.”
Read the full story, here, and be sure to voice your support with your local congress and senators.
We got some lovely coverage in the news regarding our RAMMY award last night. Seems a man in a kilt always makes a good impression. Writing for the Washington Post, Becky Krystal writes:
The black-tie event brought out its share of dresses long and short, tuxes and, oh, yeah, that tie-dyed suit we spotted behind the Atlas Brew Works table. And kilts! We spied multiple examples of this traditional Scottish apparel, including the one worn by Scott Harris, whose Catoctin Creek distillery, run with his wife, Becky, collected the award for regional food and beverage producer of the year.
Meredith Bethune, writing for Eater DC, also enjoyed the kilted men:
It seemed like anyone who wore a kilt automatically won this year. Scott Harris of Catoctin Creek said he spent a good chunk of money on one during a trip to Scotland, so he wears it whenever possible. Harris was the first to accept an award in Scottish gear, followed by Mark Benson from Bar Pilar and Neil Blackwood from Mintwood Place. Sue Palka of FOX 5 DC told the crowd, "I’m so buying my husband a kilt! I love ‘em!"
Here are some of the Washington DC area news outlets covering the 2015 RAMMY awards last night:
Last weekend, we were invited back to appear on Foodie and the Beast on Federal News Radio. Nycci and David had the finalists in the Beverage Producers category (ourselves, DC Brau, New Columbia, and Early Mountain Vineyards) on the show to talk about the RAMMYs and what it meant to each of us to be nominated for the award.
We slung the cocktail shaker to pour our signature cocktail for the gala, The Devil and His Wife. It was a great show! You can hear the show on their site, here, or download the podcast, here.
It took us a while to find this, but whiskey blogger "...tire-bouchon" reviewed our first bottling for Single Cask Nation, our Catoctin Creek 2 year old whisky, back in June, 2014. This was a very special dram, the first American whiskey ever bottled by Single Cask Nation, and we're very glad that the reviewer loved it!
Like I expected it is a very interesting whiskey. It would definitely pair amazingly well with Turkish coffee and might replace my beloved Metaxa there. I also can see that it would go well with mellow, not so spicy cigars for a long after dinner conversation or with eggy desserts like Mexican flan or creme caramel. It is a whisky you don't want to rush for sure. It's thick, bold, full of flavors and needs your attention and time... Looks like this bottle will keep company to me quite a long time. By the way remember that this whiskey is only two years old. Kind of mind blowing if you think about it...
You can read the entire review, here.
Always nice that when a magazine is covering the Washington DC area, that we get a special mention! A great little call out for Catoctin Creek from DuJour in their Summer 2015 issue!
To enjoy Loudoun County, Virginia's thriving wine and liquor scene, look no further than Purcellville distillery Catoctin Creek, founded by chemical engineer Becky Harris and her project-manager husband, Scott Harris. "Scott likes to say that 20 years of government contracting taught him a great love of drinking," jokes Becky.
Learn more about DuJour, here.