Saturday, January 23, 2016

Yet another craft distillery in progress in region

Part of the wave of NYS craft spirits
LAKE GEORGE -- High Peaks Distilling Company this week took another step toward creating its own whiskies in its own facility. A 4,000-pound still, built in Utica, was delivered and installed in the 1 Canada Street building that is under expansion.

John Carr, owner of both High Peaks and the Adirondack Brewery & Pub, and a crew from the brewery used a backhoe to move the still inside through an area where a section of wall had temporarily been removed.

Despite the installation, it will be several years before spirits made in the new still will reach the market. Meanwhile Carr will continue doing what he has done for several years -- shipping Adirondack Brewery-made, unhopped beer to the Harvest Spirits distillery at Golden Harvest Farm in Valatie, Columbia County, to be turned into spirits according to his preferences. The process of transforming unhopped beer into distilled spirits is the norm with grain-based mashes.

Carr plans to add another still about the same size as his first as well as a third, smaller one, to the facility which currently also is home to the Cafe Vero coffee roasting business.

As part of the wave of new craft distilleries being created around the state, the High Peaks project follows the openings in the past two years  of such other Capital Region/Adirondacks/Leatherstocking Region facilities as the Saratoga Courage Distillery in Greenfield Center, Yankee Distillers in Clifton Park, Upstate Distilling in Saratoga Springs, Springbrook Hollow Farm Distillery in Queensbury, Hillrock Estate Distillery in Ancram, Hudson Valley Distillers in Clermont, Cooperstown Distillery in Cooperstown, Adirondack Distilling in Utica, and a second Albany Distilling, this one planned for Schenectady.

The boom was touched off in 2007 when the state passed the Farm Distillery Act that, among other things, allows beginning distillers to start a business with lower costs if more than half of their ingredients are sourced from the state, and allows them to establish tasting rooms on their premises.

And, in October 2013, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s first “Wine, Beer and Spirits Summit” debuted new regulation allowing small distillers to sell their products at farmers markets and fairs. Since then, the state has improved regulations to allow for more ease in the manufacture, distribution, and sales of distilled spirits.

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