The origins of Mad River Distillers dates back to a dinner Maura and John were having in 2011. Maura was talking about planting a vineyard on their farm and someone suggested that Vermont was an unforgivng climate for grapes and that it would be better to produce something more indigenous like apple brandy. John, who was a life-long fan of Calvados, the French apple brandy, was immediately intrigued. Soon, Brett, who shared John‚Äôs appreciation for Calvados, was on board and the idea of starting a distillery at Cold Springs Farm was born. Next on board was Alex, who did an amazing job renovating a dilapidated old horse barn into a state of the art craft distllery. Along the way, Alex also became interested enough to sign on as the General Manager of Mad River Distillers. After finishing the renovations, obtaining our permits and firing up our still, we produced our first spirits, Mad River Rum in May 2013. We have produced over a half dozen different craft spirits since then, including Malvados, our flagship apple brandy.
In 1799, at the time of George Washington‚Äôs death, his estate was the largest producer of whiskey in the United States, turning out 11,000 gallons of rye each year. Presidential, indeed. Somehow, with a combination of Prohibition and the availability of cheaper alternatives, rye gradually fell out of favor. Until a very few years ago, you would be hard pressed to even find a single bottle of rye on the back shelf of a bar. Since then, Washington‚Äôs spirit has seen something of a rebirth, and small American craft distilleries have taken up the challenge to re-create the magic of this peppery and complex distillate. At Mad River Distillers, we take this one step further. Our rye whiskey is carefully distilled from local and organic rye using our German still to bring out its delicate nuances. It is earthy and peppery with hints of walnut, berry and tropical spice. We use three distinct rye varietals, including chocolate rye, which lends the spirit a cocoa richness and finish. GRAIN TO GLASS At MRD we believe in doing things the old fashioned way – starting at the beginning with freshly milled rye and spring water, fermenting on grain and distilling to take only the hearts of the run before barreling in American charred oak. We use an ‚Äúall rye‚Äù mash bill, with a portion of ‚Äútoasted rye‚Äù which releases aromatic chocolate and mocha notes into the distillate. The result is the perfect rye for making cocktails or drinking neat. Made in Vermont.