Customers often ask how we ended up starting and running a distillery/winery. Our founder, Chris, is fond of ginger - and, as it turns out, he is one. He's also a passionate chemist, artist, and environmentalist. In 2006 he left his senior engineer position at a high tech company to start a biofuels research company. There is where he learned about fermentation and distillation, having built several systems and running them to make biofuel from grass straw. Unfortunately the market for biofuels was short-lived and by 2012 he was forced to make the painful decision to close that business.
As an inquisitive chemist, Chris wondered if the green 'beer' that he made from fermenting Ryegrass would make an interesting whiskey. He tried it and liked the soft, earthy note of this truly unique whiskey. Thus the birth of a new distillery was born and, more than 5 years later, the first Ryegrass Whiskey in the US (if not the world) was released in late 2018.
So how does making liqueurs enter into this story? Because whiskey needs years of aging time in barrels, Chris knew he needed some products that would take less time to produce and enter the market quickly. His love of ginger was the impetus to launch his new distillery with its first product: Spiritopia Ginger Liqueur. After 60 some experiments he nailed down the recipe for how to create a ginger liqueur that is sweet yet spicy, soft and inviting on the palate and warming all over. It still remains our top-selling product and has won the most awards including most recently Best of Class/Double Gold Medal at the 2019 SUNSET Magazine International Spirits Competition. From there apple 'Supercider', Pomegranate and Peppermint liqueurs were launched along with 'bourbon-style' apple brandy. The winery was approved in the summer of 2018, just in time to release our Strawberry Rhubarb aperitif wine.
If you know Chris, you can expect more interesting and delicious products to come. If you haven't met him yet, give one of the Spiritopia products a try and see why we are proud to proclaim: "true to the fruit and root". You'll be glad you did.