Waterman’s Distillery

Michelle and Joe’s Alig’s love of distilleries led them to purchase and renovate an 1870’s German Bank barn.

The barn had a history as part of the moonshine trail used by bootleggers during prohibition, so it is a perfect setting for this NYS Farm Distillery to produce and serve their unique brand of “Grain Neutral” flavored spirits using local ingredients.

Take a tour, do a tasting, or enjoy a signature cocktail at the rustic bar.

Be sure to try Salted Carmel Maple, which uses local maple syrup, and Jalapeno Ginger made with fresh ingredients chopped by hand!


1857 Spirits

Elias Barber doesn’t care for vodka. So, the distilled spirit he creates from the family farm’s potatoes must be pretty damn good.

His 1857 Spirits distillery is a marriage of his penchant for academic rigor developed at Cornell University as an agricultural science major and his family’s 160-year legacy at Barber’s Farm more so than the product itself.

Check out more of our “Stories on Tap” webisodes.

A member of the sixth generation to operate the farm, Barber wanted to contribute to that legacy. All the pieces happened to be there, right down to the water they draw from a natural spring on the property.

Over the many, many years, Barber’s has grown numerous crops from hay to corn. Potatoes became a staple in the 1940s, when Barber’s grandfather first planted them as part of a 4-H project associated with the local high school.

The Schoharie Valley was once known as the Breadbasket of the American Revolution, providing critical sustenance for George Washington’s army. The topsoil, estimated to be about 10 feet deep remains remarkably fertile all these centuries later.

Traditionally a bland vegetable requiring accoutrements at the kitchen table, Barber’s Farm spuds give 1857 vodka a creamy sweetness and floral aroma.

Armed with this exceptional natural resource and love of learning, Barber dove into the art of distilling. It’s his consistent drive to improve and persistent pursuit of perfection that makes it beverage worthy of his own palate.

One of the few potato vodka makers in the country, it’s appealing to the tastes of many others as well. Barber has plenty of plans to expand his line to gin and beyond while also upping production in the coming years and, likely, for future generations on Barber’s Farm.

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DikinDurt Distillery

DikinDurt Distillery has a peculiar name and a casual atmosphere. It’s the kind of place you can hang out for a few, sip a few drinks, share a few stories and have a few laughs. That’s precisely the way Co-Owners Eric Boyer and Elizabeth Stack imagined it while hanging out, sipping drinks, sharing stories and having some laughs by the fire a few years back.

Stack, who lives just down the road, used to stop by Boyer’s place on Friday nights. On one of those fateful evenings, he offered her some homemade whiskey.

“I thought, ‘That’s pretty good. We might have something here,’” Stack recalls.

Pretty soon they had the permits and a place to do “something,” as Boyer renovated his former horse barn into a full-on distillery – the first-ever in Herkimer County. Boyer was the first in his family to try his hand at moonshining.

It was just a hobby that happened that eventually produced some pretty good liquor. Ever fascinated by the process and practice, Boyer set his sights on making it his profession.

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“That’s how it all started. I was just moonshining and it was fun,” he says. “The science behind it, the fermentation process, different formulas … and getting better and better.”

And that’s what he strives to do with each of the 40-60 gallons he now produces each month. They are primarily funneled into the tasting room (located in Boyer’s backyard), which has seen visitors from all over the country and world as indicated by a map on display.

There’s also a prominent sign on the wall of the tasting room to ensure that guests “Don’t Fear the Clear.” That “clear” – aka moonshine whiskey – is indeed their specialty. They infuse it with primarily local berries, honey and maple that make it a true product of their lifelong home.

“It’s homemade and handcrafted bottle by bottle,” Stack says. “The first thing we tell someone is that our products naturally colored, naturally flavored, there’s no additives, coloring, flavoring. It’s all-natural.”

“We’re proud that we’ve really done something with Herkimer instilled in it.”

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French Distillers & Alchemists

The first (legal) distillery in Broome County since prohibition. We mash, distill, age and bottle at our still-house — farm to bottle small batch whisky.

Hand crafted whisky using locally grown corn, wheat, barley, and rye. Just 150’ off NY 79 in Lisle, at the head of the of the Finger Lakes Winery, Brewery and Distillery Trail.

We are now open daily: Mon – Sat 10 am to 5 pm, Sundays Noon to 5 pm. You can try our whisky and buy some to take home. Stop in for a visit.


Mountain View Distillery

Mountain View Distillery is an artisan craft distillery located on The Mattas Family farm in Minaville NY.

The farm has been owned for more than 70 years by the Mattas Family.


Old Home Distillers

This farm distillery is set on historic property in rural Lebanon, New York, at the geographic heart of the state.

Old Home produces small-batch, handcrafted distilled spirits featuring locally grown ingredients.

The owners are firmly committed to the creation and successful marketing of high-quality products that will ensure a legacy for the family, benefit local farmers and enrich their corner of Madison County and the state of New York.


Cooperstown Distillery

Longtime restaurateur Eugene Marra focused on food, wine and spirits as part of his profession, a career that’s lasted more than 45 years. A student of his winemaking grandfather, he took his appreciation beyond the glass when he started a vineyard in northern Georgia around 1991.

Eugene’s passion for fine spirits fueled his interest in becoming a distiller in the late 2000s, just as New York state was increasing its support of small-batch producers. Today the New York City native takes pride in the all-New York state ingredients that make up his whiskey, bourbon, gin and vodka.

The names reference Cooperstown’s baseball roots and other historic assets, but Eugene is always looking forward. The former chef continues to craft new recipes that contribute to New York’s growing reputation for high-quality distilleries.

Check out more of our “Stories on Tap” webisodes.

Eugene: Having been in the restaurant business most of my life, I’ve dabbled in food, wine, and spirits for the last 45 years actually. Coming to Cooperstown was an evolution of a great friendship in a business relationship where I was doing some consulting for a restaurant in Cooperstown, fell in love with the town. Simultaneously with that, New York State was rewriting most of their craft distilling legislation, which was beginning to get very interesting for me as an entrepreneur to come back to New York. I’m a native New Yorker. It was sort of a dream come dream true. The marriage of Cooperstown and spirits was always implicit in our business model from day one.

I always knew that part of the strategy of developing this brand in Cooperstown was predicated on that we could marry baseball and spirits. Of course, we started the strategize on the baseball bottle, the decanter bottle, which is our hands down most significant marketing tool that we have is our Abner Doubleday baseball decanter, which has been a huge success for us. We spent almost a year in prototypes with a mechanical engineer. It took a lot of planning. We got it down, right down to the 108 stitches on the baseball seams like a regulation baseball. We gleaned Doubleday’s actual autograph from the archives. If you turn it upside down, it’s got the baseball diamond. It’s got an ash-finish top, just like a baseball bat. Even the box is a period-style baseball box like the old baseballs used to come in. We really thought that that was a key piece of our marketing strategy: the baseball bottle.

Rory: New York is doing great things with this craft distilling movement. I’m originally from Pennsylvania. It’s a little bit more state controlled to liquor. New York is saying, “We see this chance for revenue here. Go for it, guys. Make some great spirits. There’s demand for it. We’ll help you out.” You have the state on your side which is a great thing. Then I feel New York State as a whole, there’s a lot of people that are agriculturally driven here. Ninety-five percent of ingredients come from the state. All my grains, right now, are coming from Canajoharie. I’m getting my grains 20 miles north of here. Hopefully, within anybody another month, there’s going to be a cooper coming online, a cooperage, a place that builds barrels. Within about another month, I won’t have to go more than an hour drive to get grains for bourbon and whiskey. I won’t have to go more than an hour drive to get those barrels. I think New York is going to be known for making some great bourbons here in the future.

Eugene: Being in Cooperstown was a very important piece of our business model. We knew this was a great place for us. We knew that the village would support us. We knew that it was ripe for the picking: marrying baseball and spirits. We think we’ve done a great job with it.

 

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1911 Spirits

Peter Fleckenstein does the work his father, grandfather and great-grandfather did before him at Beak & Skiff Orchards, home to 1911 Spirits. The hundred-year legacy of cultivating the apples here ensures the family ownership maintains complete control of hard cider and spirit production from “tree to bottle.”

One of only a few in the country distilling gin and vodka from apples, Beak & Skiff debuted its cider and spirits in the early 2000s, allowing a new family legacy to grow.

Check out more of our “Stories on Tap” webisodes.

Peter: Beak & Skiff Apple Farms was founded in 1911, the first trees went in the ground that year, by two families that got together. One had been a potato farmer. One owned some land here on the hillside. They met down at the market in Syracuse and said geez, we could grow apples and make some money at it. That was the start of what is now a 103 year old business.

Every generation has put something into the business that’s added some value. The first generations put in the apple trees. The second generation put in the packing line and the trucking and the shipping and the distribution. A third and fourth generation worked on the cider mill. Now that we’re the fifth generation here, we’re doing the spirits business. Every generation has built on what was left before them.

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The initial thought of the spirits business was that it was a good diversification. It was another value-added product that we could sell and have complete control over. The intent was just to sell it at our own retail store. We had no intention of selling it through distributors or even regionally at the time when it was developed.

Tree to bottle really is our way of saying we own the entire process. We own the trees. We own the land. We make the cider out of our apples. We ferment it into hard cider and then we put it through the still using our own recipe from top to bottom. We’re one of the few, if the only, people that grow the apples, press the cider, ferment the cider, and then distill it into either vodka or gin. I don’t know if anybody else out there, especially not in the Northeast, that has control of the entire process. The fact that we have that control plus we’re family-owned and operated makes us pretty unique.

 

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Adirondack Distilling Co.

Jordan Karp left behind his career as a political consultant in Boston and New York City to become Adirondack Distilling Co.’s master distiller. He joins Dr. Bruce Elwell and attorney Steve Cox, who all want to be a part of a movement brewing in Central New York – a growing need for people to reconnect with their food and drink.

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“There’s a renaissance of the upstate culture and the demand for local products,” Jordan says. “That’s a big part this. The fact that it’s made with care by the people that live here says something.”

Adirondack spirits incorporate all-local ingredients from the upstate corn used to make them right down to the Herkimer diamonds – a rare mineral found only in the foothills of the Adirondack mountains – used to filter them.

“This is handcrafted from beginning to end,” says Bruce. “That’s something we can be proud of and it puts us in a unique place.”

Not to mention a unique space: The building housing Adirondack’s stills has deep roots in the area. The former bank was essentially built to handle the finances of 125-year-old F.X. Matt Brewing Co., just down the street. It later became a popular concert venue and much later, a rundown shadow of its former self.

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“We brought this building back to life,” Jordan says. The three co-founders made a sizable investment in renovations and equipment.

Adirondack’s German stills produce the flagship vodka, gin, white whisky and Central New York’s first legal bourbon ever. Each bottle – every sip – gives the makers, their community and Central New York something to be proud of.

Tours are available Monday through Saturday by appointment. Adirondack products are available throughout Brew Central and New York state.

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KyMar Farm Winery and Distillery

Kenneth Wortz taps into his family’s 300-year history of apple farming – and the nearly as old tradition of crafting spirits.

Today Ken and his wife, Lori, craft one-of-a-kind spirits, occasionally with family and friends who help them harvest and bottle at KyMar Farm Winery and Distillery … for free. The signature Mapple Jack liqueur, Schoharie Shine and uncommon apple brandy Eau De Vie De Pomme are just that good. KyMar also produces an un-oaked chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon.

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“People love local and people love unique,” Lori says.

KyMar uses local products almost exclusively in its spirits and wines. It only makes sense that they harvest sorghum and apples born from the historic soils of Schoharie County, once known as the “Breadbasket of the American Revolution.”

Handmade copper kettles produce the handcrafted spirits, which are then carefully aged in oak barrels before they are blended and bottled on site.

Ken’s family farmed apples for generations in his native Pennsylvania. That farm has since been sold and KyMar – named after the Wortz’ children – in part preserves that tradition for Ken, his family and future generations.

Founded in 2011, the winery and distillery begins a new legacy as the first to be licensed in Schoharie County since Prohibition.

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But there’s more to the KyMar story than that fascinating chapter. Ken and Lori recently moved their operation to a former book bindery just down the road from the quiet country farmland they live on in rural Charlotteville.

The renovated 20,000 square feet of the bindery will exponentially increase production, which is soon-to-include vodka. The space is also home to a tasting room that hosts pairing and other events.

Complimentary tours are offered every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 1 and 3 p.m. Visit and sample wines and spirits any Friday, Saturday and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m., Memorial Day weekend through Columbus Day weekend. After Columbus Day weekend, KyMar is open Saturdays from noom to 6 p.m. through Dec. 31.

 

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