Virginia Distillers Association - Virginia Spirits Month, George Washington Distillery

Similar to ringing the opening bell on Wall Street, Virginia’s Governor Terry McAuliffe has raised the ceremonial cobbler  shaker to officially mark this September as the Commonwealths 2nd annual Virginia Spirits Month. The state has activities planned throughout the month to celebrate with promotions intended to educate consumers and travelers about Virginia distilled spirits.

“Virginia is the Birthplace of American Spirits and with total sales of spirits topping more than $6 million last year in the Commonwealth, there is no better time than September to celebrate the rich history and important economic impact of the spirits industry in Virginia,” said Governor Terry McAuliffe. “Virginians have been distilling spirits since 1620, and count George Washington as one of our many distinguished distillers, owning and operating the largest whiskey distillery in America at the time. Today, we continue to grow and remain an industry leader. With nearly 60 distilleries across the Commonwealth and Virginia-made spirits featured in award-winning restaurants across the country, it’s easy to see why Virginia is for Lovers of distilled spirits.”

Virginia is for Craft Spirits Lovers: Governor Terry McAuliffe, Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd P. Haymore, and Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Basil Gooden help to ring in September’s Virginia Spirits Month.

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The Virginia Distillers Association has partnered with the Virginia Tourism Corporation and Virginia ABC to promote Virginia Spirits Month, including a complimentary Virginia is for Lovers trucker hat with the purchase of any bottle of Virginia spirits at select Virginia ABC stores while supplies last.

“At Virginia ABC, we celebrate our homegrown distilleries, whose spirits bring a local and, always outstanding, historic flavor to our shelves,” said Virginia ABC Chairman Jeffrey Painter. “Our customers appreciate when we provide them the opportunity to show off their love of Virginia and we are delighted to support Virginia Spirits Month alongside the Virginia Distillers Association and their many partners” explained Virginia ABC Chairman Jeffrey Painter.

Virginia Distillers Association - September Virginia Spirits Month, Trucker Hat
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The spirits industry has an important impact on Virginia’s economy, with the diversity of product and the number of distilleries across the state for tourists to visit. By using local raw materials, such as corn, wheat, barley, and rye, Virginia’s spirits industry also plays an important role in the agricultural industry. Virginia distillers often rely on other Virginia value-added producers through sourcing finishing components for their products, such as used wine, cider and beer barrels. They also donate the leftover mash to local farmers to feed livestock.

In the words of Governor Terry McAuliffe, Basil Gooden – Virginia’s Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry, Todd Haymore – Secretary of  Commerce and Trade for the Commonwealth, “Virginia is the birthplace of American spirits. After all we’ve been distilling spirits here in Virginia since 1620. Long before our friends in Tennessee and Kentucky.


Virginia Distillers Association - Celebrating the 2nd Annual VA Spirits Month
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Front row left to right: Belle Isle Craft Spirits Founder & CEO Vince Riggi, VABC Commissioner Judy Napier, Deputy Secretary of Public Safety Victoria Cochran, VABC COO Travis Hill, James River Distillery Partner Kristi Croxton. Back row left to right: KO Distilling Co-Founder & CEO Bill Karlson, Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Basil I. Gooden, Vitae Spirits Distiller & Owner Ian Glomski, VTC President & CEO Rita McClenny, VA Distillery Company CEO / VDA President Gareth H. Moore, Boar Creek Whiskey Distillery and Owner / VDA Vice President Will Dawson, Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd P. Haymore Photo credit: Virginia Distillers Association.

Educating consumers on what makes Virginia distilled spirits uniquely Virginia is a primary goal for Virginia Spirits Month. “The Virginia climate truly helps to impart a sense of place in our spirits” says Gareth H. Moore, CEO of Virginia Distillery Company and Virginia Distillers Association President. “The unique daily and seasonal fluctuations in Virginia’s humidity and heat accelerate the maturation process and enables the spirit to extract all the wonderful characteristics imparted by the barrel in a deeper and more complex way, more so than our counterparts in cooler regions such as Scotland or Ireland.”

September Virginia Spirits Month promotions will include:

  • The 2nd Annual Virginia Craft Spirits Showcase in Roanoke will take place on Saturday, September 16th, with more than 20 Virginia distillers. Guests will have the opportunity to learn from experts through Master Distiller Seminars, as well as attend the 2nd annual Battle of the Bartenders competition, where they will witness bartenders leverage their creative-cocktail skills to gain affection from the judges on hand.
  • Virginia ABC stores are hosting a record number of free, in-store tastings and additional special events all across the Commonwealth.
  • 50+ restaurants throughout the Commonwealth have each committed to serve and promote a minimum of three new and unique Virginia spirits cocktails throughout the month to highlight our local distillers.

Let’s all raise a glass to the birthplace of American Spirits, Virginia.

Members of the Virginia Distillers Association include:

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