Many distilled products are labels of larger brands. Despite the large number of products under the Tuthilltown Spirits umbrella, the company stays local and committed to the true craft of distilling.
In 2001 Owners Ralph Erenzo and Vicki Morgan and their partner Brian Lee acquired an old mill granary in upper state New York, an area that was once home to more than 1,000 pre-Prohibition farm distilleries, and converted it into a distillery. They created the Hudson Whiskey line, including the first whiskey distilled in New York State since Prohibition, the Hudson Baby Bourbon Whiskey.
The Hudson whiskey line has since been acquired by William Grant & Sons and Tuthilltown is producing 50,000 barrels of whiskey per year. Not bad for a distillery whose first batch of whiskey was 50 barrels. The new ownership of the brand has allowed Tuthilltown to hire new distillers like Sam Zurophsky.
Zurofsky moved from New Mexico to Gardner, New York to work on a small farm a few miles from Tuthilltown. The distillery was just getting started, and Zurofsky heard word that they were going to focus on organic agriculture. “I was excited to know about it,” he says.
The ingredients in Hudson Whiskey are sourced from local farms, and then returned back to them in the form of spent grain or compost for feed. “We’re working toward being able to use some of the heat that we’re generating from our condensers on the stills to heat a greenhouse and we’re also looking to compost a lot of our spent grain on site,” says Zurofsky.
This spent grain will be used as soil for an orchard that the distillery is going to plant on its property. Tuthilltown Spirits is in the heart of one of the country’s largest apple-producing regions, so it only makes sense that the fruit is the base of their vodka and gin. “We want to put the land to productive use but also, we want to be able to experiment with some specific and hard-to-find cider apple varieties,” Zurofsky explains.
The orchard is another two years out, so in the meantime Zurofsky and the expanding team at Tuthilltown Spirits will focus on crafting their high-quality whiskey in greater quantities. They recently purchased a larger still that allows for twice the production, and thus the need for a larger staff. “A lot of us here are making wines from wild grapes or making beers,” says Zurofsky. “A lot of us are tinkerers in one way or another.”
Tinker on, Tuthilltown distillers. They have some great whiskey to show for it.
Spirits from Tuthilltown Spirits:
Heart of the Hudson Vodka
Hudson Baby Bourbon Whiskey
Hudson Four Grain Bourbon Whiskey
Hudson Manhattan Rye Whiskey
Hudson New York Corn Whiskey
Hudson Single Malt Whiskey
Spirit of the Hudson Vodka