Potential in Pennsylvania

Potential in Pennsylvania

Picture a seed in your mind. It’s small. Even sitting in the palm of your hand, it doesn’t seem like much. But for all its unassuming nature, make no mistake, that seed holds powerful potential. Grind it, smash it, plant it, grow it, soak it. The seed is a food. It can multiply itself when planted and grown. A seed can be ground into flour. Its versatility has literally changed mankind from hunter-gatherer to farmer through its cultivation. In our modern times, its importance gets lost amongst high tech gadgets, ultra-capacity food distribution and light speed communication. Just for a moment, I want to reset and refocus our attention back on the humble seed and its unlimited potential. It is not just a food stuff, it is an economic powerhouse. The creation of...

The 2nd Annual American Whiskey Convention!

The 2nd Annual American Whiskey Convention!

“By Whiskey Lovers, For Whiskey Lovers” The 2nd Annual American Whiskey Convention is a Grand Tasting at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, PA on March 24th   Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Feb 7, 2017 — Pennsylvania is the birthplace of American Whiskey. As the first days of spring arrive, Philadelphia will host the largest all-American whiskey event in the country! Philadelphia’s whiskey aficionados will have access to a grand tasting with over 150 bourbons, ryes, wheat and malt whiskeys from some of the finest distilleries in the country. The 2nd Annual American Whiskey Convention takes place on Friday, March 24th in the Hall of Fame Club of Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pa. “We’ve created an event to highlight America’s whiskey renaissance and...

The Pennsylvania Spirits Convention on March 23, 2017!

The Pennsylvania Spirits Convention on March 23, 2017!

The Pennsylvania Spirits revolution is in full swing. Pennsylvania is coming into its own again as a distilling state producing world renowned spirits. Combine that with some of the best bartenders in the country making their own signature cocktails from these PA spirits and you have the Pennsylvania Spirits Convention. The Pennsylvania Spirits Convention is the first and largest event of its kind.  It pays respect not only to Pennsylvania’s legendary distilling past, but also to its future.  Every spirit at the event is made in Pennsylvania. Guests will be amazed at the quality and selection that is arising from the Pennsylvania talented distillers. This grand event comes to Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park on March 23rd. It will be host over 110 craft spirits,...

Philadelphia Distilling- Before the Big Move

Philadelphia Distilling- Before the Big Move

Though many Philadelphians are aware of this, Philadelphia Distilling is moving.  They have been happily nestled in an industrial park on McNulty Rd. in the Byberry neighborhood of Philadelphia since 2005, and now they will be moving their base of operations to a more central location- the Fillmore.  This newly opened music venue is very visible from I-95. The new headquarters will have a tasting room, event space, retail shop, an 80-seat restaurant, 80-seat outdoor patio and cocktail bar.  My interest is not yet in the new location yet, because the roots of the distillery’s history are in Byberry…and the business is still located there…for the time being. I stopped by their McNulty Rd. location last month to pay some respect to the first Pennsylvania distillery...

Visit to CJ Spirits in Kane, Pa

Visit to CJ Spirits in Kane, Pa

Sometimes the long drive between two Pennsylvania distilleries can take you on an unexpected route. I wound my way through northwest Pennsylvania between Conneaut Lake and Kane on very isolated (and sometimes dirt) roadways past Pennsylvania Dutch settlements. I’m from the eastern part of the state where Lancaster and the surrounding countryside is home to many PA Dutch towns and villages. I was taken by surprise to see young ladies and children walking their bikes up steep hills with their packages only to ride them down the other side on these western roads. Views of farmsteads and front yards filled with families meeting for picnics and brimmed hat and bonnet wearing parents pushing small children in strollers up long winding roads made for a slow trip. I...

The New Relationship Between Farmer and Distiller

The New Relationship Between Farmer and Distiller

The modern distilling boom is creating a unique opportunity for farmers and businesses involved in grain production. In Pennsylvania, distilling is growing by leaps and bounds, but the raw material for making whiskey is grain and many distillers just don’t know much about it. They know they want rye for rye whiskey, for instance, but where are they supposed to get it? What is the difference between Danko and Aroostok? Is it non-GMO? Do I buy it directly from a farmer or a grain merchant? It’s not just the distillers, either. The farmers are also beginning to see a demand for small grains, but don’t quite know how to approach distillers. I’ve been learning a lot about  just how much of Pennsylvania’s distilling tradition has been lost. Pennsylvania was once a huge...

Autumn and Five Saints Distilling

Autumn and Five Saints Distilling

I’ve been out visiting distilleries throughout the summer, but I have no intention of stopping now that autumn is here. The cooler temperatures remind us that whiskey and spirits are warming and satisfying this time of year. It isn’t just good for the whiskey drinkers, it’s also a productive time of year for farmers and distillers. Rye, winter wheat, and barley are go into the ground in September. Small grains, which are necessities in the creation of whiskey, need the short growth spurt in late September and October to establish themselves and anchor the soil (reducing erosion) before the frost causes the plants to go dormant. (They will return in full force in the spring for harvest in the summer.) The distillers are welcoming the lower temperatures that help...

Summer 2016 PA Distillery Tour #16- Stoll and Wolfe Distillery, Lititz, Pa

Summer 2016 PA Distillery Tour #16- Stoll and Wolfe Distillery, Lititz, Pa

Every once in a while, you get to see a circle being completed. The last distillery to close its doors in Pennsylvania was Michter’s Distillery in Schaefferstown in 1990. The closing of this distillery marked the end of an era. The Michter’s brand name was sold to a company in Kentucky (Chatham Imports) and the brick and mortar distillery was left to decompose. The last distiller to work on site in Shaefferstown was a man named Dick Stoll. Now, in his eighties, Mr. Stoll and his youthful, energetic partner, Erik Wolfe are determined to bring back that which was lost. Their new Stoll & Wolfe distillery will incorporate the old with the new by employing the talents and experience of Mr. Stoll with the a modern vision of Pennsylvania distilling. Lititz, Pa is...