Catoctin Creek Distilling Company

Coordinates: 39°08′11.5″N 77°42′54″W / 39.136528°N 77.71500°W / 39.136528; -77.71500

The Catoctin Creek Distilling Company (/kəˈtɒktən/ kə-TOK-tən), which operates under the trade name of Catoctin Creek, is the first legal distillery in Loudoun County, Virginia since prohibition.[1] The distillery is a certified organic and kosher[2] microdistillery in Purcellville, Virginia that produces brandy, rye whiskey,[3] and gin from local fruit, organic grain and Virginia wine.[4]

Catoctin Creek Distilling Company, LLC
TypePrivate
IndustryManufacturing of distilled spirits
FoundedPurcellville, Virginia, 2009
FounderScott and Rebecca Harris
Headquarters
Purcellville, Virginia
,
United States
ProductsDistilled spirits
OwnerScott and Rebecca Harris
Number of employees
18
WebsiteOfficial website
Catoctin Creek Distillery, at the historic Case Building in Old Town Purcellville, Virginia

The distillery was founded in 2009 by Scott and Rebecca Harris[5] using an SBA 7(a) loan for start-up capital.[6] Initially, the company operated using custom-made 400 and 1200 liter Kothe hybrid pot-column stills.[7]

In the 2011 session of the Virginia General Assembly, the company sought approval to sell its spirits at the distillery. Virginia Senate Bill 1249 passed both the Senate and the House of Delegates and was then signed by Governor Bob McDonnell on March 26, 2011, allowing direct bottle-sales to the public from the distillery.[8] With the prior year's passage of 2010 House of Delegate Bill 952, the company now provides tastings at their distillery store, in a fashion similar to wineries within the state.[9]

In 2012, the distillery purchased the historic Case Building (built 1921) on Main Street in Purcellville, and renovated the building as the home of their new distillery. Renovations included structural repair to the roof, complete electrical upgrade, new plumbing systems, fire sprinklers, a new tasting room, extensive masonry repair, and a 41kWh solar array.[10][11][12]

In 2017, the distillery announced a new minority partner and investor, Constellation Brands of Victor, New York. In a company press release, Rebecca Harris, the co-founder and chief distiller, stated the reasoning behind the investment: "In order to expand our production and portfolio, we needed the right partner for the next level of growth. Constellation has a strong commitment to this category..."[13] Scott and Rebecca Harris, the co-founders, remain the majority owners and managers of the business.

In 2021, the company upgraded their production equipment, tripling their capacity, including a new mash cooker, fermenters, and a 2000 liter Specific Engineering hybrid pot-column still, replacing the older 400 liter pot still.[14]

COVID-19 pandemicEdit

During the COVID-19 pandemic and a subsequent shortage on sanitizing products in March 2020, Catoctin Creek shifted most of its production operations to provide free sanitizing alcohol to over 100 families, six police stations, two emergency services, two hospitals, one senior center, and the FAA in Leesburg, Virginia. Instead of laying people off, management brought regional sales staff in to help on the production line, while working with elected officials to distribute bottles to organizations in need.[15]

After producing, bottling and selling bulk hand sanitizer to first responders at the end of March, Catoctin Creek announced the release of their FDA approved 6 oz. hand sanitizer bottles to the general public in early April, which sold out in three weeks. Due to the lack of availability of raw materials to produce the sanitizer, their production of hand sanitizer ended in April 2020. In the end, Catoctin Creek made over 2,050 gallons of sanitizer available to the public, first responders, front-line workers and others in need. The craft distillery also raised and donated over $12,000 to local charities, including hospitality relief funds, clinics and food banks in Baltimore, Washington DC, and Virginia.[16] The distillery received a commendation from the Virginia Senate for their efforts during the pandemic, noting "through its decisive and selfless actions in the face of a historic public health emergency, Catoctin Creek Distilling Company has exemplified what makes the Commonwealth a wonderful place to live, work, and raise a family."[17]

Catoctin Creek is still producing and selling its award-winning rye whisky, gin and brandy on its online shop for curbside pickup or delivery.

Spirits producedEdit

 
In 2013, the production equipment, including pot stills and mash cooker at Catoctin Creek Distillery
 
The upgraded production equipment at Catoctin Creek Distillery in 2021

AwardsEdit

  • Roundstone Rye
    • Double Gold medal for Cask Proof, San Francisco World Spirits Competition, 2017[18]
    • Gold medal for Cask Proof, American Whiskey Masters, 2016[19]
    • Gold medal for Cask Proof, Wizards of Whisky Awards, 2016
    • Gold medal for 92 Proof, New York World Wine and Spirits Competition, 2015[20]
    • Gold medal for Cask Proof, Wizards of Whisky Awards, 2015[21]
    • Silver medal for 92 Proof, San Francisco World Spirits Competition, 2015[22]
    • Silver medal for 92 Proof, Wizards of Whisky Awards, 2015[23]
    • Gold medal for rye whiskey, Artisan Awards, 2014[24]
    • Gold medal for rye whiskey, The Fifty Best, 2014[25]
    • Bronze medal, San Francisco World Spirits Competition, 2013
    • Bronze medal, American Distilling Institute, 2013
    • Gold seal, Good Food Awards, 2013[26]
    • Gold medal for rye whiskey, The Fifty Best, 2012[27]
    • Silver medal and best in category for aged rye whiskey, American Distilling Institute, 2011[28]
    • Silver medal (87 - highly recommended) for rye whiskey, Beverage Testing Institute, 2011[29]
    • Silver medal for aged craft distillery less than two years (less than $40), New York International Spirits Competition, 2010[30]
  • Mosby's Spirit
    • Bronze medal and best in category for un-aged rye whiskey, American Distilling Institute, 2011[31]
    • Strong recommendation (87 - very good), American Whiskey, Ultimate Spirits Challenge, 2011[32]
    • Silver medal (85 - highly recommended) for unaged whiskey, Beverage Testing Institute, 2011[33]
    • Silver medal for unaged craft distillery (less than $40), New York International Spirits Competition, 2010[34]
    • Bronze medal for unaged whiskey, American Distilling Institute, 2010[35]
  • Watershed Gin
    • Gold medal (91 - exceptional) for gin, Beverage Testing Institute, 2011[36]
    • Silver medal for Gin, New York International Spirits Competition, 2011[37]
  • Regional Food and Beverage Producer - 2015 RAMMY Awards, Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) [38]
  • Virginia's Finest - Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services[39]
  • 2012 Small Business of the Year - Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce[40]
  • 2011 Entrepreneur of the Year and Rural Business of the Year - Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce[41]
  • Made in the South 2010 Awards - Garden and Gun magazine[42]

DistributionEdit

Catoctin Creek is distributed in the United States in the following states:

Catoctin Creek is distributed internationally in:

  • Europe
  • Mexico
  • Singapore

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "First legal distillery in Loudoun to open since prohibition", Rachel Leon, Loudoun Times Mirror, May 5, 2010.
  2. ^ "Pure of Spirit: Catoctin Creek gives birth to organic, kosher liquor", Tasting Table website, posted May 11, 2010.
  3. ^ "Spirits: Craft whiskey distillers are over a barrel", Jason Wilson, Washington Post, May 19, 2010. p. 2.
  4. ^ "Wildcatting at Catoctin Creek Distillery", Proof66.com website, posted May 28, 2010.
  5. ^ "Meet the Makers" Archived 2011-07-07 at the Wayback Machine, Matt Colglazier, American Craft Spirits, September 20, 2010
  6. ^ "Sour Year for SBA Loans Ends in Uptick", Emily Maltby, Wall Street Journal, October 2, 2009
  7. ^ "NBC Nightly News: A Start Up ... with a twist!", NBC Nightly News, June 2, 2010.
  8. ^ Virginia 2011 "Senate Bill 1249" Archived 2012-10-18 at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ Virginia 2010 "House of Delegates Bill 952".
  10. ^ WTOP.com "Local distillery drinks in the sun"
  11. ^ Northern Virginia Magazine "Greenprints".
  12. ^ Leesburg Today, "Mid-July Opening Slated for Catoctin Creek's New Purcellville Distillery" Archived 2013-06-22 at the Wayback Machine, June 20, 2013.
  13. ^ "Press Release: Constellation Brands Invests in Virginia's Catoctin Creek Distillery", January 5, 2017
  14. ^ "Loudoun Now: Catoctin Creek Triples Capacity", Loudoun Now, August 12, 2021.
  15. ^ ""Blue Ridge Leader, April 30, 2020", April 30, 2020
  16. ^ ""Blue Ridge Leader, April 30, 2020", April 30, 2020
  17. ^ "Virginia's Legislative Information System, 2020 Senate Resolution No. 519", August 19, 2020
  18. ^ "San Francisco World Spirits Competition, 2017" Archived 2016-06-27 at the Wayback Machine, October 1, 2017
  19. ^ "The Spirits Business, August 2016", August 2, 2016
  20. ^ ""NY World Wine and Spirits Competition, 2015", September 11, 2015
  21. ^ "Wizards of Whisky Awards, 2015", January 30, 2015
  22. ^ "San Francisco World Spirits Competition, 2015" Archived 2016-06-27 at the Wayback Machine, March 30, 2015
  23. ^ "Wizards of Whisky Awards, 2015", January 30, 2015
  24. ^ "Artisan Awards, Rye Whiskey, 2014", October 20, 2014
  25. ^ "The Fifty Best, Rye Whiskey, 2014", September 21, 2014
  26. ^ "The Good Food Awards Finalists, 2013" Archived 2012-12-07 at the Wayback Machine, December 4, 2012
  27. ^ "The Fifty Best, Rye Whiskey, 2012", September 21, 2012
  28. ^ "American Distilling Institute Whiskey Competition, 2011", April 8, 2011
  29. ^ "Beverage Testing Institute, 2011", February 24, 2011
  30. ^ "New York International Spirits Competition, 2010", November 22, 2010
  31. ^ "American Distilling Institute Whiskey Competition, 2011", April 8, 2011
  32. ^ "Ultimate Spirits Challenge 2011" Archived 2011-03-19 at the Wayback Machine, March 16, 2011
  33. ^ "Beverage Testing Institute, 2011", February 24, 2011
  34. ^ "New York International Spirits Competition, 2010", November 22, 2010
  35. ^ "ADI 2010 Artisanal Whiskey Competition" Archived 2010-08-11 at the Wayback Machine, Drinking The World, posted May 7, 2010
  36. ^ "Beverage Testing Institute, 2011", July 27, 2011
  37. ^ "New York International Spirits Competition, 2011", November 28, 2011
  38. ^ "2015 RAMMY Award Winners", June 7, 2015
  39. ^ "Virginia's Finest Program" Archived 2013-06-16 at archive.today, May 13, 2013
  40. ^ "Chamber Honors Loudoun Small Businesses", Loudoun Times Mirror, November 12, 2012
  41. ^ "Catoctin Creek Wins Twice at Chamber Small Business Awards Ceremony" Archived 2012-09-05 at archive.today, Leesburg Today, November 3, 2011
  42. ^ "Made in the South Awards 2010" Archived 2010-12-16 at the Wayback Machine, Garden and Gun magazine, December 2010/January 2011 issue