Summer 2016 PA Distillery Tour #5- Mountain View Distillery in Stroudsburg,Pa

Summer 2016 PA Distillery Tour #5- Mountain View Distillery in Stroudsburg,Pa

Just south of route 80 in central eastern Pennsylvania is the small town of Stroudsburg.  This beautiful village, nestled between the Delaware Water Gap and the Pocono Mountains, is the perfect place for a vineyard and a cozy place for a distillery. Mountain View Distillery is a perfect tourist destination for a summer afternoon and I enjoyed every minute of my visit. Mountain View Distillery is owned by Linda and Randy Rice. The both left their jobs back at the beginning of the new millennium to follow their dream of starting a vineyard. (Linda is an ex-pharmaceutical sales rep and Randy was a teacher.) They moved onto their property in Stroudsburg in early 2002, began planting in 2003, and finally opened to the public in 2009. Since then, their ambitions have...

Summer 2016 PA Distillery Tour #4- Manatawny Still Works in Pottstown, Pa

Summer 2016 PA Distillery Tour #4- Manatawny Still Works in Pottstown, Pa

North of Philadelphia is suburban Montgomery County, which is the third most populous county in the state after Philadelphia and Allegheny Counties.  Though Montgomery County wasn’t established until 1784 from lands once belonging to Philadelphia County, many of its towns and much of its history go back much further than that.  Pottstown, originally Pottsgrove, was laid out in the early 1750’s and grew into an industrial borough along the Schuylkill River specializing in steel, iron, agriculture and milling.  The land the town was built upon was land deeded to William Penn, but, before that, it was land that was occupied and utilized by the Lenape Indians.  The Manatawny Creek, which runs through Pottstown, means “the place where we meet to drink” in Lenape. ...

Summer 2016 PA Distillery Tour #3- Triple Sun Spirits in Emmaus, Pa

Summer 2016 PA Distillery Tour #3- Triple Sun Spirits in Emmaus, Pa

Some micro-distilleries are more micro than others. Triple Sun Spirits in Emmaus is a recent addition to the Pennsylvania distilling scene that opened on April 22nd. The owner, Kristofer Kwant, a local Lehigh valley resident, found his passion for distilling after many years of home-brewing. He traveled throughout the US to learn more about the process of distillation from others in the field, but his travels to the Caribbean crafted his passion for rum. I was lucky enough to catch Kris in the afternoon before he opened his tasting room to the public. The tour he gave was beautifully informative and he made no effort to dumb anything down, which I found refreshing. The tours are free! His distillery is small and tidy and located right near the railroad tracks in...

“What’s the Point of Micro-Distilleries Anyway?”

“What’s the Point of Micro-Distilleries Anyway?”

A young man asked me, “What’s the point of micro-distilleries, anyway?”  The question shocked me, but I had to take a moment to process what the question implied. The expansion in distilling isn’t like the beer boom of the 90’s because the little guys aren’t in it to compete with the big producers.  Small distillers don’t reject the quality or taste of the spirits produced by large distillers.  They admire it.  In many cases, small distilleries unabashedly purchase spirits from the larger producers to bottle and sell as sourced product under their own label to their customers while their own distilled product ages.  I can’t help but be reminded of the time period after Prohibition when companies had to start over with very little product at all.  This is the time...

Summer 2016 PA Distillery Tour #2- County Seat Spirits in Allentown, Pa

Summer 2016 PA Distillery Tour #2- County Seat Spirits in Allentown, Pa

It was a beautiful day to drive into Allentown, Pennsylvania last Saturday.  The owners of County Seat Spirits, Anthony Brichta and John Howe, were busy entertaining their visitors and I popped in to say “Hello.” I was amazed at how much energy there was in the industrial building that is the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center.  Upon entering, you can hear the buzz from Hijinx Brewing Co. on the right and the Colony Meadery on the left.  I couldn’t help but pop my head into both to see those bustling tasting rooms where dozens of people were chatting and sipping samples.  I made my way up and to the left through the building’s hallway to find County Seat’s tasting room full of ladies in matching t-shirts drinking cocktails.  John Howe greeted me with a smile and...