American Whiskey magazine does an interview with Becky Harris, our president and chief distiller, about starting up a distillery and what's on the horizon.
Focusing more now on the spirit itself, how did you go about deciding on your product range?
We were inspired by the history of spirits in the region, and specifically in Virginia. If you visit the distillery at Mount Vernon you can get an excellent sense of the deep roots of the business here. We ultimately decided that we wanted to focus on rye whisky, it was a crucial piece of whisky history in this country, as well as being under-represented in the marketplace. We had a vision of making rye, 100 per cent rye, from grain to bottle, with a focus on local content and small batch, pot still production.
Our first whisky, the Catoctin Creek 80 proof Roundstone Rye, has always been made from organic, or organically raised rye grain and has a spicy and fruity flavor profile with a kiss of mint. This is a youthful rye, aged in 30 gallon barrels to create a profile balanced between the influence of the oak and the grain spirit itself.
You can read the full interview, here.
Kelsie Schrader, writing for Rachel Ray Every Day magazine, covers 10 female pioneers in the spirits industry and gets Becky in her article:
When Becky and Scott Harris founded Catoctin Creek Distillery in 2009, they became the owners of [Loudoun] County, Virginia's first legal distillery since prohibition, making Becky the county's first female chief distiller in almost a century. Prior to opening the distillery, Becky worked as a chemical engineer at companies, including Amoco and YDK America. Opening the distillery was her husband's idea, and though Becky wasn't a big whisky drinker before opening the distillery, she applied her science background to the distilling and production processes to create high-quality spirits that have earned great acclaim.
You can read the full article, here.
Thanks to Liquor.com for designating us the best whiskey from Virginia! Booyah!
Virginia’s distilling history goes at least as far back as Kentucky’s. Catoctin Creek, founded in 2009, is one of the best in the state, releasing various versions of its Roundstone rye, as well as a newly designated bottled-in-bond expression, Rabble Rouser.
Read the full article and see the other 49 states, here.
We were delighted once again to be featured in Forbes, this time in an article about Irish whiskey and its American descendants. Claudia Alarcón writes:
As one of the first distilleries committed to the history and craft of Virginia rye whisky, Catoctin Creek uses old-world production and local and ørganic grains to produce the various excellent expressions of Roundstone Rye, including seasonal releases and private cask offerings. The Distiller’s Edition of Roundstone earned a gold medal in New York in 2015; the Cask Proof received double gold in San Francisco in 2017 and the Single Barrel edition brought home double gold from New York in 2018. These outstanding spirits are best appreciated neat, or simply over an ice cube to mellow out their heat and spicy notes.
You can read the entire story, here.
So very nice to be included in the Bourbon Review's list of seven bottled-in-bond whiskeys you must try in 2019. Explaining what bottled-in-bond means, they write:
The law states that bottled-in-bond bourbons must be distilled by the same master distiller, in the same distilling season, at the same distillery, aged at least four years in a federally bonded warehouse, and bottled at 100 proof to bear this seal of quality. The label must also include the distillery (or distilleries) where the spirit was made and then bottled. All these regulations may seem a bit over the top, but for the past 122 years it’s been a transparent way for consumers to know the quality of their bourbon at a glance.
Writing about the Rabble Rouser specifically:
This year’s Rabble Rouser Rye release is the oldest distillate we’ve seen yet from Virginia-based Catoctin Creek Distilling Co. They use a 100 percent rye mash distilled to a lower proof to craft their rye whiskey, citing a richer flavor profile that can be lost in a traditional [distilling] process.
You can read the full article, here.
Dan Dunn, writing for the Robb Report, does a review of our latest Rabble Rouser release:
The Rabble Rouser Rye differs from its forebear in that it’s distilled at a lower proof to coax more of the rye’s earthy qualities to the top. That means we get freshly mowed grass and cedar on the nose. On the palate, sandalwood, tobacco leaf, and cereal grains take center stage, supported by mesquite, peach, and a bit of honey. Still, at 100 proof, Rabble Rouser barks like a junkyard dog, so dainty drinkers may want to look elsewhere. This heavy-duty dram is delightful served neat or with an ice cube or two, and will hold its own against the most puissant of mixers.
You can read the full story, here.
Ryan Hughley, writing for Southern Kitchen, does a wonderful story about Becky's journey through whisky as chief distiller for Catoctin Creek. She writes:
So if you find yourself interested in whiskey, but you’re not a fan of its strong flavor, what’s a girl to do?
Harris recommends starting out with something easy like a whiskey ginger or a good whiskey sour. They are easy, approachable cocktails for those looking to give whiskey a shot (pun intended). Another tip, according to Harris? “If you’re not a spirits drinker, learn to taste spirits neat," she said. "It’s not something most people are comfortable with in the beginning because it’s too strong. The first sip is to acclimate your plate.”
You can read the full story, here.
Huzzah! Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye Cask Proof was named the Editor's Choice, 9.0/8.9 points and the highest rated whiskey in the premier issue of American Whiskey magazine! A highlight from the review by Rob Allanson:
Palate: Big sweetness, vanilla and toffee, caramel coated apples. Snickers bars in liquid form, peanut, caramel and milk chocolate. The savory edge of dusty books.
Comments: Just what you want from a rye - spice punch, tannins and a dusty sweetness.
Get your copy of the magazine, here. Read the review, here.
Food and Wine recently wrote about "6 Women in Whiskey to Watch," including a profile of our own president and chief distiller, Becky Harris. Becky's fresh approach to whisky is the underlying reason why we introduced Roundstone Rye nine years ago, to bring a new type of whisky to a lot of people who didn't consider themselves whisky drinkers. Quoting Becky in the article, Ceil Miller Bouchet writes:
Harris encourages new whiskey drinkers – especially women, she says – to trust their taste and not the experts. “Your body chemistry and your individual experience is just as valid as everyone else’s,” she says. “When you like something, that is the one for you. Who cares what the others think?”
This thought follows from our way of thinking at Catoctin Creek: If everybody is making and consuming the same thing... well, where's the fun in that?
You can read the full article, including profiles of the other women in the story, here.
A wonderful little call-out in the May 2018 issue of Better Homes and Gardens:
A spice-forward tribute to-and from-Virginia, the birthplace of American whiskey.
Absolutely could not have said it better myself!
Fantastic article in Wine Enthusiast magazine about how Becky Harris, our president and chief distiller, loves to collaborate with local wineries and breweries. This article, by Kara Newman, highlights our various beer collaborations to produce an interesting range of limited edition, hard-to-find single malt whiskies. Also highlighted a several other great American distilleries pumping out some great single malt whiskey.
Ms. Newman writes:
To describe her thrifty approach to American single-malt production, Harris references a winemaker’s quip: “We don’t let the fruit hit the ground.” She’s determined not to let raw materials go to waste. “You try to make something out of it, try to salvage it.”
You can read the full article here.
Pretty awesome when Fodor's names Catoctin Creek one of 11 cool boozy experiences, along with Maker's Mark, Bombay Sapphire, Jameson and other distilling heavyweights! We are super delighted to be included for our extremely fun--and always free--bottling workshops. Learn more on our web site or book your spot today.
Fill, seal, cap, and label spirits during monthly bottling workshops at Catoctin Creek Distillery, a Virginia craft producer which makes award-winning spirits in Purcellville, including Roundstone Rye Whiskey and Watershed Gin. Held on a Saturday morning from 10am to noon, the workshops are free, and also start with complementary coffee and doughnuts. After a brief lesson from co-owners Scott and Becky Harris, the volunteer workforce heads to the station of their choosing (not surprisingly, filling the bottles with the “whiskey cow” is always the most popular.) If you want to, follow an empty bottle through all the stations until you’ve capped and sealed it, then sign it and purchase it for yourself or as a gift.
You can book your spot in the bottling workshops, here. And you can read the full Fodor's story, here.