EMBRACING THE LOCAL ENVIRONMENT IS EMBRACING TRADITION.”
climates to make the process more ‘traditional.’ We considered it until someone else pointed out to me that the traditional process in Scotland, and around the world, is using your natural surroundings. The reason that Islay might taste super peaty is because they are using their local water. To us, embracing the local environment is embracing tradition.” The product that the Virginia Distillery Co. currently sells is actually made and aged in Scotland, then shipped to Virginia to do what the industry calls “finish.” The finish of a whisky is the final months of aging that give it its final flavor. Popular finishes include transferring the product into sherry or brandy casks for a hint of sweetness. Being located so close to a plethora of wineries, breweries and cideries gives the Virginia Distillery Co. a unique opportunity to experiment with a wide variety of distinct finishing possibilities. “We’ve already started some collaboration processes with local breweries and wineries. We’ve worked with several groups and are in the process of working with more. Cider products, using local casks, some finishes for
brandy and such…we’re actually looking for groups to do collaborations with all the time. That’s something high on our priority list—developing those relationships.” And that’s not the only idea that’s in Gareth’s wheelhouse. The founder and CEO has big plans for the future of the company, with both production techniques and quantities. Planning on taking production from 1,000 to 2,000 casks in the next year alone, necessary preparations are already underway. With over 98 acres of property at the site of the Distillery, the company is developing the back of the property to have more warehouses to store product. And as far as the production technique for future product? Gareth’s ultimate goal would be to source 100 percent of the company’s barley domestically, since currently, the correct type is unavailable in the U.S. While there are huge amounts of barley grown in the U.S., most of it presently goes to brewers. While some local barley is used by whisky makers stateside, it makes up a small percentage of their mash-build, a term that refers to the mixture of grains that are mashed and distilled into spirits.
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Charlottesville Wine & Country Living Fall 2016