May 23, 2014 |
When distiller Sean Tracy and brewer Andrew Knechel cosigned for a lease on a warehouse in Bucks County, it was supposed to make starting their respective businesses easier. Instead, the arrangement ended up taking them into a maze of bureaucracy that nearly derailed both projects. The key to unlocking the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board licenses needed for the side-by-side craft brewery and distillery? Construction of a 4-foot-high wall. Sean Tracy first had the idea for Hewn Spirits about two years ago. He runs Bucks County TimberCraft, a construction firm that refits old barns into high-end homes, and as he ran across dense beams of rare and ancient woods - white oak, American chestnut, hickory, ash - he realized they'd be perfect for aging liquor.
April 29, 2014 |
In an old garage in downtown Camden, James Yoakum stirs a barrel of malted barley and yeast with a wooden paddle as country music hums in the background. "When the bubbles stop furiously racing to the surface, that's when it's done," he says. It will be at least three weeks before that happens, but Yoakum is patient; he has learned to be. For almost a year, the Kentucky-born South Philadelphian has been ready to make whiskey and rum at Cooper River Distillers, Camden's first distillery and the second craft distillery in New Jersey.
August 12, 2013 |
Their bond was formed 35 years ago in a fraternity house on the University of Pennsylvania campus, where the Phi Sigma Kappa creed pledges a brotherhood committed to "faith and purpose. " Today, Herman Mihalich and John Cooper's purpose is to deliver a quality stiff drink. As novice craft distillers of Dad's Hat rye whiskey, they are also reviving a lost art in Pennsylvania, a state heralded on their company's keystone-shaped bottle label as the birthplace of the brown liquid that lost a devoted following during Prohibition.
December 16, 2012
'We're the distillery of unseen things," says Meredith Grelli. And she isn't kidding. First came the "Monongahela rye" that Wigle, her family's new craft distillery in Pittsburgh, debuted earlier this year to reclaim Pennsylvania's colonial heritage as a rye center (with Dad's Hat in Bristol also joining the push). Now comes Wigle's Ginever, a take on the proto-gin popularized by the 18th-century Dutch that, in contrast to the crisper English style made with neutral spirits, uses fuller-bodied grain whiskey as its base.
July 16, 2012 |
There is serious Pennsylvania pride in play as new craft distillers suddenly bid to reclaim the state's historical place as America's rye whiskey mecca. But there is also family history in Dad's Hat Rye, a whiskey meant to evoke the taste of Herman Mihalich's grandfather favorite drink — and a staple in the family's tavern in Monessen, Pa., where Mihalich lived as a child upstairs. The year-old Mountain Laurel Spirits distillery he's created with old college chum and partner, John Cooper, is state of the art, despite the historic setting in a rehabbed woolen mill in downtown Bristol, which opens to the public this weekend for Saturday tours, tastings, and sales.
March 12, 2012 |
PITTSBURGH - A new state law allows small whiskey distilleries to give samples to visitors and sell bottles directly to the public, and that's big news for Wigle Whiskey. The distillery, which opened Friday, is named after Philip Wigle, who burned down the home of a federal tax collector in the 1790s and helped lead the Whiskey Rebellion, a test of George Washington's presidency. The rebels objected to one of the first federal taxes - on distilled spirits. "We were Kentucky before Kentucky," said Eric Meyer, one of an extended clan that's trying to bring back a once-flourishing Pennsylvania tradition.
January 5, 2012 |
Chef Mark Berenato's first solo restaurant - a rustic, balconied BYOB in Haddonfield's Shoppes at 116 - carries the name da Soli , Italian for "on my own. " There seems to be a sly undercurrent there. Until last year, Berenato was chef at Tre Famiglia , a half-mile away up Haddon Avenue, and the breakup was not pretty. (Tre Famiglia actually hung a banner on its facade to disavow any connection between the restaurants.) At da Soli (116 Kings Highway East, Haddonfield, 856-429-2399)
June 12, 2011 |
MOUNT VERNON, Va. - "Distillery is a business I am entirely unacquainted with," wrote George Washington to James Anderson, his Scottish-born plantation manager at Mount Vernon, "but from your knowledge of it and from the confidence you have in the profit to be derived from the establishment, I am disposed to enter upon one. " As if Washington didn't have enough to do, with being the first president, a soldier, statesman, surveyor, farmer, and goodness...
September 30, 2010
REGIONAL DISTILLERIES They aren't brewing moonshine, but professional distillers in and around Philadelphia are crafting a variety of products. Here's a sampling. Dogfish Head Brewing & Eats 320 Rehoboth Ave. Rehoboth Beach, Del. 302-226-5771 Products: Restaurant and distillery making Jin gin, Blue Hen Vodka (plus a variety of flavored vodkas) and Brown Honey Rum, Wit Spiced Rhum and White Light Rum. Philadelphia Distilling 12285 McNulty Road, No. 105 215-671-0346 Products: Bluecoat American Dry Gin, Vieux Carre Absinthe Supérieure and Penn 1681 Rye Vodka.
January 18, 2009
With Robert Burns Day fast approaching, and visions of haggis tributes bagpiping in my head, I can't help but crave a fine new bottle of single-malt whiskey. The possibilities are endless, depending upon the budget, and there are favorites - Caol Ila 12 and Bruichladdich 15 - that I hope to replenish. Surprisingly, though, the most memorable single-malt I've tasted in recent months doesn't come from Scotland at all. It comes from Japan: the 12-year-old Yamazaki from a distillery owned by Suntory.