Press Release: Catoctin Creek Awarded 2015 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence

Recognized as a Top Performing Attraction as Reviewed by Travelers on the World’s Largest Travel Site

Trip Advisor 2015 Certificate of ExcellencePurcellville, Virginia – May 20, 2015 – Catoctin Creek Distillery today announced that it has received a TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence award. Now in its fifth year, the award celebrates excellence in hospitality and is given only to establishments that consistently achieve great traveler reviews on TripAdvisor. Certificate of Excellence winners include accommodations, eateries and attractions located all over the world that have continually delivered a superior customer experience.

When selecting Certificate of Excellence winners, TripAdvisor uses a proprietary algorithm to determine the honorees that takes into account the quality, quantity and recency of reviews and opinions submitted by travelers on TripAdvisor over a 12-month period as well as business’s tenure and ranking on the Popularity Index on the site. To qualify, a business must maintain an overall TripAdvisor bubble rating of at least four out of five, have a minimum number of reviews and must have been listed on TripAdvisor for at least 12 months.

“Winning the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence is a true source of pride for the entire team at Catoctin Creek, and we’d like to thank all of our past guests who took the time to complete a review on TripAdvisor,” said Hannah Blymier, Tasting Room Manager at Catoctin Creek. “There is no greater seal of approval than being recognized by one’s own customers. With the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence based on customer reviews, the accolade is a remarkable vote of confidence to our business and our continued commitment to excellence.

"TripAdvisor is pleased to honor exceptional hospitality businesses that have received consistent praise and recognition by travelers on the site,” said Marc Charron President, TripAdvisor for Business. “By putting a spotlight on businesses that are focused on delivering great service to customers, TripAdvisor not only helps drive increasing hospitality standards around the world, it also gives businesses both large and small the ability to shine and stand out from the competition.”

About Catoctin Creek Distilling Company: Catoctin Creek Distilling Company (120 West Main Street, Purcellville, VA 20132; Phone: 540-751-8404; Twitter: @CatoctinCreek) is the first distillery in Loudoun County, Virginia since before prohibition. Certified organic and kosher, and family owned and operated, Catoctin Creek produces premium Virginia spirits: rye whisky and gin from organic sources, and seasonal brandy from Virginia wines. For media-related inquiries, please contact Kyle Schmitz at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or for more information on Catoctin Creek Distilling Company please visit

About TripAdvisor: TripAdvisor® is the world's largest travel site*, enabling travelers to plan and book the perfect trip. TripAdvisor offers trusted advice from travelers and a wide variety of travel choices and planning features with seamless links to booking tools that check hundreds of websites to find the best hotel prices. TripAdvisor branded sites make up the largest travel community in the world, reaching 340 million unique monthly visitors**, and more than 225 million reviews and opinions covering more than 4.9 million accommodations, restaurants and attractions. The sites operate in 45 countries worldwide. TripAdvisor also includes TripAdvisor for Business, a dedicated division that provides the tourism industry access to millions of monthly TripAdvisor visitors.

*Source: comScore Media Metrix for TripAdvisor Sites, worldwide, December 2014
**Source: Google Analytics, average monthly unique users, Q1 2015

Catoctin Creek in Kuala Lumpur

Catoctin Creek got a nice mention in's profile on 44 Bar in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  Thanks to the work of our southeast Asian importer, Liberty Spirits Asia, Ltd., our products are showing up all over the region.

One of the spirits to benefit most from the recent rise of craft spirits in the US is rye whiskey. Located in Purcellville, Virginia, Catoctin Creek Distillery’s 100% rye whiskies are aged in new American oak casks and are certified organic products.

You can read the full story, here.

Roundstone Rye on Whiskey Cats Podcast

Whiskey CatsThe Whiskey Cats are a team of three boisterous ladies who gather and consume various whiskies and tell us about it on their podcast.  This week's show has them tasting two ryes, our own Roundstone Rye, and a rye from Oregon called Finn's.  Both are produced very similarly, but it's fun to listen to how different the two spirits are.

Listen to the podcast on Soundcloud by clicking here.

Distillery of the Month at Main Street Distilleries

E-man Booze and his blog, Main Street Distilleries, has selected Catoctin Creek as their distillery of the month.  We may actually be the first of his profiled distilleries to actually have a Main Street address!  E-man does a nice profile on the company, the spirits, and our history, and then wraps up the column with an insightful Q&A session with founder Scott Harris:

The essence of historic Virginia rye whiskey – fashioned from 100% rye grain – is gloriously captured in Mosby’s Spirit, an un-aged version of Catoctin Creek’s wildly popular Roundstone Rye Whiskey.

Read the entire story, here.

May 2015 News

Welcome to May!  What a journey so far!

The Harris Family, 2010The following is an excerpt from the Visit Loudoun Blog, where, this month, Scott is making a guest appearance telling the story of how he and Becky started Catoctin Creek.  We hope you enjoy... 

Wow.  Six years.  I can hardly believe it.  Time flies so quickly. 

Six years ago, I was sitting at my desk in a windowless office, underneath the unflattering fluorescent tubes of a Fairfax-based government contractor.  I was working on the sixth revision of a Powerpoint package--my boss was ridiculously finicky--doing a presentation for a customer whom I knew would never even see my slides.

"This is the worst," I told myself.  "There has got to be more to life than this."

I was turning forty.  And I was trapped.  I felt confined in my prison, and I couldn't figure out how to escape.  I wanted to be productive; I wanted to do something that mattered.

But what?  My mind continually wandered back to 1985, when I was a fifteen-year-old intern working in a winery.  That was a cool job.  You got to pick the grapes, press the grapes, ferment them, bottle them, and then serve them to the public.  At the end of the process, you held something in your hand, and it was good.  I wanted that kind of purposeful life again.

By 2009, after twenty years of government contracting, I had become a great lover of drinking.  Wineries were everywhere in Loudoun County.  What could I do that was different?  I decided to start a distillery.

I knew nothing about it at the time.  It was just a pipe dream.  But I had several things going for me:  First, my wife, Becky, and I had saved money all our careers.  We didn't come into our marriage with money, but we worked our butts off and saved every dime.  That would be important capital if we started a new venture.

Second, my wife.  Becky was my secret weapon.  Becky graduated with an honors degree in chemical engineering.  She knew about industrial processes.  She knew how to distill.  She was comfortable with mass production and quality control.  So when I brought the idea to her of starting a distillery, her reaction was a casual, "Yeah, I know how to do that."  Then she added, "But first, you gotta write a business plan."

That was my third big advantage, which I never realized was an advantage.  Twenty years in government contracting had taught me to be a very good businessman.  I could manage budgets, do project planning, manipulate spreadsheets, write large technical documents, do government proposals, and had all the tools that would be needed to get us off the ground. 

And so we started.  Long story short, by July 2009, we had obtained SBA financing for a business plan solely on paper, in the worst economic market in a generation!  It was miraculous!  "God wants us to make whisky!" we told ourselves.  By January 2010, we were distilling the first legal alcohol in Loudoun County since Prohibition.

When I fast-forward to today, April 2015, I boggle at where we've come.  Catoctin Creek, which started as a two person operation in a small warehouse in north Purcellville, is now a truly international brand.  We have over twenty employees, and sell in Germany, London, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, and in the United States from Boston to Georgia, from Nashville to San Francisco.  All from our little factory on Main Street in Purcellville.

It has been quite a journey.  And to what do I attribute our success?  Prior planning and hard work.  There is no luck.  As my father always told me, you work hard, and you make your luck.  Every single day, we arise at 5:00AM and begin work at 6:00AM at the distillery.  And when the production day is done, around 4:00PM, our day is only half over.  Most nights, we then transition to "evening mode" heading off to events throughout the Washington DC area, where we promote our brand and meet our customers.  If we get into bed by midnight, that's a good night, and we start it all over again the next day. 

But we love every minute of it, and I couldn't think of ever going back to that Powerpoint job.

It's a good life so far!


Roundstone Rye CASK PROOF Available in May!!

Roundstone Rye Cask Proof

Gold Medal – Roundstone Rye "Cask Proof", #7 finisher in category
– Wizards of Whisky World Awards 2015

Score: 88.5 "A truly huge rye... Through a combination of sheer delicious belligerence and chutzpah has your taste buds swooning. Great fun!"
– Jim Murray's Whisky Bible 2014


We are very happy to announce that Catoctin Creek's Roundstone Rye CASK PROOF is once again available in the month of May!  The product goes on sale on Sunday, May 10th to our VIP members.  Then, on Sunday, May 24th, it will go on sale to the general public.

This version of Cask Proof is two years old, batch number B15E2, and has a beautiful nose on it of rich caramel and wood spice, and is viscous and lovely in the mouth, with the characteristic sweet, smooth fruitiness that Roundstone Rye has become known for.  And at 120 proof, that's some potent stuff!!

Look for it to be released in limited quantities in the Maryland, Delaware, and DC markets.  Ask your favorite retailer to order it from Bacchus.  In New York, your retailers can pick it up from Blueprint Brands, our New York distributor.  And in Virginia, it is available in limited quantities through Virginia ABC stores (ask your clerk to order #952820). 

Of course, it is most easily obtained at the distillery, on May 24th for the general public.  Better line up, because only a couple hundred bottles are available nationwide, so this one will disappear quickly!

750ml only, 120 proof (+/-), $89.90.


Roundstone Throwdown!

Roundstone Throwdown 2015

Last year we had a wonderful group of bartenders from all over our area show off their skills each month for our Tasting Room Takeover series, which featured such talent as Trevor Frye of Jack Rose Dining Saloon and Jamie Imhof of Wildwood Kitchen. To kick off our 2015 series, we're debuting a special primetime pay-per-view event: Roundstone Throwdown - Battle of the Beltways!

In a Roundstone Throwdown, two challengers go head-to-head to determine who makes the best Roundstone Rye cocktail! For our Roundstone Throwdown premiere on Monday, May 18, we'll pit DC favorite JP "Pretty Boy" Fetherston of Southern Efficiency against Baltimore's beloved Doug "The Thug" Atwell of Rye in Fells Point. The two cocktail Goliaths will battle in an epic face-off to decide which city serves superior sips! Your votes decide the outcome! You won't want to miss it!

The Roundstone Throw Down will occur at the distillery, at 7:30pm on Monday, March 18th. It's the battle of Charm City versus Capital City! Both bartenders will provide a cocktail of their own design, and you'll get to judge the winner... after much "research", of course! The cost is $20 admission, VIPs attend for free. Sign up today, as space is limited!

Cocktail Event


New in the Tasting Room

Element Shrubs

Shrubs, Bitters, and Soaps... (oh, my!)

We have several new products in the tasting room, including some wonderful soaps made with our whisky and gin, whisky-infused coffee beans, delicious pickles and relish from Gordy's Pickle Jar in DC, hand-crafted bitters from DC Embitterment, and our newest addition, artisan shrubs (for cocktails) from Element shrubs.  These 375mL bottles make a great base for cocktails and homemade flavored sodas.  Try a free sample this weekend.  Don't be afraid to ask any of our brand ambassadors for a little taste!

Wandering Chef Lunch

Saturday Lunch Service in our Tasting Room

You asked for it... you got it!  We now offer a Saturday lunch service in our tasting room, provided by the Wandering Chef.  The menu changes each weekend, but last week's menu included:

  • Herb and lemon hummus with toasted pita or vegetable crudites
  • Feta cheese dip with roasted peppers
  • Chilled tomato gazpacho, pickled shrimp and crostini
  • Braised meatball sliders with pesto and pasta salad
  • Chicken breast panini with a roasted onion goat cheese spread
  • Sponge cake and fresh fruit compote "trifle"

Sounds like the perfect accompaniment to a flight of spirits or cocktails!  Come join us this weekend!


Pat McGee Visits Catoctin Creek

Pat McGee and Roundstone Rye

We were very honored to have Pat McGee kick off his CD release party at Catoctin Creek Distillery last month.  In case you missed it, Pat played a sold-out show to an audience of adoring fans.  Word on the street is that Pat is a fan too, of our Roundstone Rye whisky!

Everyone who attended the concert got a chance to meet and talk with Pat McGee, and went home with a belly full of good spirits and a heart full of songs.

For more great events like this, including more concerts, please check out our events page!


Upcoming Events

Here are a bunch of really cool events planned at the distillery and in the area:

  • May 8 - Smithsonian at 8 - Join us in DC to celebration of the history of the local area at the Carnegie Library.
  • May 8 - Buncearoo Presents Matt Duke and Andrea Nardello - Enjoy another great house concert with Buncearoo.
  • May 10 - VIP CASK PROOF Release - Cask Proof goes on sale to our VIP club members.
  • May 15 - Wandering Chef Dinner - Our monthly four course dinner with cocktail pairings.  Get a private tour of the distillery and an amazing dinner.
  • May 18 - Roundstone Throwdown - Join guest bartenders J.P. Featherston and Doug Atwell for an amazing cocktail challenge!
  • May 23 - Bottling Workshop - Ever popular, and always sold out... come learn how to bottle whisky and get a free tasting and breakfast!
  • May 24 - CASK PROOF Release - Line up early to get one of only a couple hundred bottles of Cask Proof Roundstone Rye.  Doors open at 1pm.

For the full list of events, check our events page.


Cocktail of the Month – Elemental Rye Julep

Element Rye Julep

We are very excited about the newest product available in our tasting room, a fine collection of hand-crafted shrubs from Element.  What is a shrub, you ask? We're so glad you asked!

Whereas a syrup (aka simple syrup) is a mixture of sugar and water with optional fruit and herbs, and bitters are concentrated tinctures of alcohol and herbs, fruit, and other flavorings, a shrub uses a base of vinegar to achieve acidity, and is then a mixture of herb and fruit flavors.  A shrub allows the cocktail to skip the ubiquitous citrus used to provide acidity, and gives a whole new range of flavors.

This is a traditional mint julep, but we've substituted the shrub for the mint simple syrup.

3 oz of Roundstone Rye whisky
½ oz of Element lemon mint shrub, more or less to taste, but remember, a little bit goes a long way!
6-10 fresh mint leaves, plus more for garnish

Add mint to a rocks glass with crushed ice, and middle the mint to the ice.  Add the rye and shrub and stir to combine, then garnish with more mint.

See this cocktail and hundreds more on our cocktails page.


In Closing...

As always, there are lots of fun and information on our Instagram, Facebook and Twitter pages, where you can stay up to date with the daily activities at the distillery. We are open every Tuesday through Sunday for tastings and bottle purchases, so stop by and see us sometime!

Scott & Becky

Latest News

Press Release: Catoctin Creek Awarded 2…

Recognized as a Top Performing Attraction as Reviewed by Travelers on the World’s Largest Travel Site Purcellville, Virginia – May 20, 2015 – Catoctin Creek Distillery today announced that it has...

Read more

Catoctin Creek in Kuala Lumpur

Catoctin Creek got a nice mention in's profile on 44 Bar in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  Thanks to the work of our southeast Asian importer, Liberty Spirits Asia, Ltd., our...

Read more

Roundstone Rye on Whiskey Cats Podcast

The Whiskey Cats are a team of three boisterous ladies who gather and consume various whiskies and tell us about it on their podcast.  This week's show has them tasting...

Read more

Contact Us

Catoctin Creek Distillery

Catoctin Creek Distillery
120 W Main St
Purcellville, VA 20132

Tel (540) 751-8404

Latest Events

CASK PROOF May Release

Roundstone Rye CASK PROOF Available in May!! Gold Medal – Roundstone Rye "Cask Proof", #7 finisher in category– Wizards of Whisky World Awards 2015 Score: 88.5 "A truly huge rye... Through a...

Read more

Catoctin Creek Bottling Workshop

Catoctin Creek Distilling Company will conduct a BOTTLING DAY on Saturday, May 23, 2015 at 10:00am. Volunteers wanted. We'll buy breakfast for all that attend.  This is always such a...

Read more

Dinner at the Distillery, with cocktails and more!

Photo courtesy Whiskey Cats and used with permission. Catoctin Creek is thrilled to host a monthly cocktail dinner at distillery on Main Street in Old Town Purcellville. Enjoy a private tour of the...

Read more