Summer 2016 PA Distillery Tour #15- Red Brick Craft Distillery, Philadelphia, Pa

Summer 2016 PA Distillery Tour #15- Red Brick Craft Distillery, Philadelphia, Pa

  I had the good fortune to meet Zachary Cohen and Brian Forrest in March of last year at the American Whiskey Convention at Citizens Bank Park. They had not bottled any spirits as of yet, but they had been hard at work for more than 6 months getting Red Brick Craft Distillery up and running in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. Zach worked with Deer Creek Malt House to prepare an educational display for the event that showed the amount of grain that went into a shot and a bottle of whiskey. Even without spirits to pour at the event, he certainly made an impression. He feels strongly about supporting local farmers and grain producers, so we had plenty to talk about. Zach leased the property on Martha Street in Kensington in October of 2014. What once...

Summer 2016 Pa Distillery Tour #14- Midstate Distillery, Harrisburg, Pa

Summer 2016 Pa Distillery Tour #14- Midstate Distillery, Harrisburg, Pa

This past winter, when I drove out to Harrisburg for the 100th Pennsylvania Farm Show, I passed a brand new distillery that was just opening its doors to the public.  Midstate Distillery opened on January 9th, 2016 to coordinate with the first day of the grand event.  It’s been 2 years in the making, but they are now a part of the rapidly growing Pennsylvania distilling scene. Brian Myers and Dan Healy are part owners and brothers-in-law. They bought the building, which used to be the Smith Paint building, to house the first distillery in Harrisburg since Prohibition. Brian’s manufacturing and business experience and Dan’s chemistry background pair well. They were enthusiastic home-brewers, but found after visiting distilleries in Colorado, that their...

Summer 2016 Pa Distillery Tour #13- Disobedient Spirits, Homer City, Pa

Summer 2016 Pa Distillery Tour #13- Disobedient Spirits, Homer City, Pa

 “Disobey Responsibly.” Driving through western Pennsylvania gives you a feel for why distilleries still have an emotional connection to the Whiskey Rebellion. It’s rural. It can feel bit isolated from the big cities and the towns have a strong loyalty to their local businesses. Disobedient Spirits is located in the small town of Homer City, Pennsylvania. Driving into the town, you can’t help but notice its national pride in the local military because every telephone pole boasts a different image of an American veteran soldier from the area. The downtown of Homer City is quiet, but the distillery is not. Immediately on entering the distillery through the vestibule, the large tasting room opens up to your right. There are large plate glass windows that face the...

Summer 2016 Pa Distillery Tour #12- McLaughlin Distillery, Sewickley, Pa

Summer 2016 Pa Distillery Tour #12- McLaughlin Distillery, Sewickley, Pa

Everyone has a flavor experience that they will never forget. I have tasted many whiskeys, and have had many memorable tasting experiences. But I can assure you , that none of those experiences was quite like the one I had at McLaughlin Distillery in Sewickley, Pa. McLaughlin Distillery is tucked into the woods just outside of Pittsburgh, Pa. It is far enough off the beaten path that there is a sign at the base of the driveway that reads, “Welcome. Yes, This is it!” The distillery is up a gravel driveway away from the road and looks more like a cozy home than an industrially zoned facility. As it turns out, the entire building was gutted, stripped clean and rebuilt by hand. The man responsible for everything from the reconstruction of the building itself to the...

Summer 2016 PA Distillery Tour #11- Ridge Runner Distillery, Chalk Hill, Pa

Summer 2016 PA Distillery Tour #11- Ridge Runner Distillery, Chalk Hill, Pa

About an hour and a half southeast of Pittsburgh is the small town of Chalkhill, Pa, home to Ridge Runner Distillery. The Laurel Highlands of southwestern Pennsylvania was the seat of the Whiskey Rebellion. Ridge Runner Distillery not only shares property with Christian W. Clay Winery, they share family ties. Christian Klay, distiller at Ridge Runner, was raised working the winery. His mother, Sharon, is a proud and energetic woman that built up her farm (Fayette Springs Farm) and vineyard around her passion for the property and the land that she fell in love with. She boasts 14,000 vines and when she does source grapes, they are only from within the state. Even after going away to college to study political science and computer science, it seems that Christian’s...