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Making bespoke Virginia bitters - Telling a Story with Flavor

Bespoke Bitters

Eric Kozlik is the founder of Modern Bar Cart, a company which seems to attack the fine art of drinking from all directions:  podcasting, blogging, recipes, and they even make bitters.  Erik's latest episode focuses on the process that led up to our first set of bespoke bitters:

One of our very first retail partners – almost half a decade ago – was Catoctin Creek Distilling Co., based out of beautiful Purcellville, Virginia. They were one of the first craft distilleries in the region, and when tasting room manager Denise Petty and brand rep John Shope asked me to work with them to develop a bitters flavor to pair with their award winning Roundstone Rye, to say I was excited would be a vast understatement.

Read the entire story, here, and listen to the podcast, here.

You can buy the bitters in our distillery tasting room or online at Modern Bar Cart.

Governor of Virginia touts international expansions

The Governor of Virginia put out a press release announcing our successful new relationship in Germany this year:

"Virginia distilleries provide a growing market for our Commonwealth’s agricultural products, and we are proud to support companies like Catoctin Creek and Reservoir as they pursue export opportunities and forge important relationships around the world,” said Governor Northam. “Foreign trade and investment are key to strengthening and diversifying our economy, and these two international partnerships are a perfect example Virginia’s commitment to helping businesses of all sizes explore new sales channels and compete both at home and abroad.”

You can read the entire press release, here.

Catoctin Creek in Best of Nova

Northern Virginia

Northern Virginia magazine included us in their Best of Nova feature again this year!  What an honor!  Stefanie Gans writes:

Catoctin Creek created the modern era of distilleries in George Washington’s playground. The husband-and-wife team—she’s the master distiller—set up shop in downtown Purcellville with a tasting room to showcase their award-winning spirits, like the flagship Roundstone Rye.

You can read the full story, here.

The Austin Whiskey Vault reviews Maple Cask Rye

Enjoy this fun video from the guys at the Austin Whiskey Vault!  They hit the nail on the head in several of their points about our rye:

  • 100% rye
  • Blue Ridge Mountains
  • 100% potstilled
  • Not cloying or sweet - just great flavor coming from the maple
  • 100% fun!

Whiskey Wash reviews Rabble Rouser

Rabble Rouser

The Whiskey Wash reviews Rabble Rouser.  I think they love it, giving it a 4.5 out of 5 stars.  Cindy Capparelli writes:

4.5 of 5 stars. Catoctin Creek’s Roundstone Rye has received multiple accolades. Think of the Rabble Rouser as its wilder cousin. “For the Roundstone, we want high level of reflux, so all the plates on the column are engaged. With the Rabble Rouser, the plates are disengaged, which captures a much rougher spirit, but with more of those fruity and nutty flavors. Then it spends longer in the barrel.”

You can read the entire story, here.

The 10 Best Bottled-in-Bond-Whiskies: Hiconsumption

Rabble Rouser

Hiconsumption gives us a little history about bottled-in-bond whiskey and what makes it special.  Then, he highlights the 10 best, and our Rabble Rouser is first on the list!  Sean Tirman writes:

With a name that harkens back to Old West barroom brawls and bootlegging, Catoctin Creek’s Rabble Rouser Bottled-in-Bond Rye is a much smoother and gentler drink than its name might suggest. As perfect in classic cocktails as it is on its own, this whiskey has a deep caramel color, both spice and sweetness on the tongue, and a finish that tapers off smoothly without lingering for too long. If you can find it, it should cost around $99 a bottle.

You can read the entire story, here.

Bit by a Fox podcast

Bit by a Fox

If you ever want to hear the deep origin story of Catoctin Creek, this podcast is the best we've heard yet.  Prairie Rose was enormously gracious in listening to my mid-life crisis story:

As I said in the podcast, "I wanted to do something made by hand. ...  Well, I'd love to make whisky!"

You can listen to the full podcast here, or download the MP3 here.

Catoctin Creek review on Bourbon & Banter

Bourbon & Banter

Lee Stang, writing for Bourbon & Banter, does revisits the distillery after an eight year hiatus.  Though he was not originally a fan, he seems to be now:

As I said at the beginning, I had tasted the Roundstone Rye about 8 years ago and was not a fan. This time around however was totally different. More rich and complex for an 80 proof rye. Remembering our talk about the 4 rye strain mash bill I asked if that is what they were using 7 or 8 years ago and Scott replied no, they had used a rye grain from Kansas and that was all they used. Over the years it appears that the taste profile has changed.

You can read the full story, here.

More painful tariff coverage in Barron's

Jake Emen covers the topic:

Harris says that his company has directly spent $100,000 on export promotion trips to the EU in the years since. The result was that in 2018, Catoctin Creek expected a full quarter of its revenue to come from the European market. Right before the tariffs hit, he says another trip overseas netted a dozen handshake deals he was eager to finalize.

“Upon our return, when the tariffs went into effect, our distributor dropped us, and our sales in the U.K. never materialized,” Harris says. “That 25% revenue we expected from Europe was about 1%.”

Read the full story, here.

Washington Post : Whiskey Sour

Some coverage of how trade wars hurt small businesses like ours, front page coverage from the Washington Post:

But weeks after the Harrises’ triumphant European tour, the White House unleashed a trade war with the European Union by slapping tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. The E.U. retaliated with tariffs that made some American goods, including bourbon and rye whiskey, more expensive to import.

Catoctin Creek’s orders from Europe dried up, and a potential British distributor lost interest. He “ghosted us like a bad girlfriend,” Scott Harris said from the distillery’s red-brick tasting room as a pair of shiny stills chugged away behind a plate-glass window. “He just stopped answering the phone.”

Read the full story, here.

Latest News

Daily Beast - What Music Embodies Rye Wh…

Photograph by Atlantic Records, used under license, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=45577655. The Daily Beast asked rye distillers around the country to tell us what their spirits taste like by comparing them to...

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Rabble Rouser featured in Maxim

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...

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Becky Harris in American Whiskey Magazin…

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...

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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

Catoctin Creek Bottling Workshop

  SEP 7   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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Spirited History: A Tasting of History & Whiskeys at Aldie Mill

  SEP 14   Dinner and Whiskey at Historic Aldie Mill 6:30pm—10:00pm NOW IN OUR NINTH YEAR!! Join us for a unique and intimate evening with old friends and new as we taste five exquisite whiskeys paired...

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Autumn Dinner at the Distillery

  SEP 20   Autumn Dinner at the Distillery 7:00pm—9:00pm Join us September 20th for our autumn-themed dinner. We will feature a four course menu plus an amuse boushe from Justin Thyme Culinary. The theme for the night...

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