Thursday, May 22, 2008

Temporary Sign Installed

For those of you trying to find us on Rte 414, just look for this (about 5 miles north of Watkins)...

Thanks to Jeremy Hogan at JH Design for designing our logo and creating the sign.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

How it all started

Most people I meet want to know what was the genesis of the idea for Finger Lakes Distilling. I guess it started with a genuine interest in the process of distillation that was sparked through visits to some of the world's great whisk(e)y producing regions - Kentucky, Scotland and Ireland. Subsequent travels most often included a visit to some type of distillery, but to that point, it was just an interest.

The opportunity arose in 2007, when some transitions in my banking career prompted me to look into another direction. Most people thought I was crazy for leaving a stable position with a good company, but it was obvious to me that I wanted to start my own venture.

My wife, Jenny, and I are both from the area and have always loved the Finger Lakes region. The growth in wine-related tourism is certainly one of the brighter spots in the local economy, so we decided to pursue something that would be unique, but also cater to the same crowd.

Upstate NY agriculture is diverse and of fantastic quality, so we were comfortable with the raw material that would be going into our products. It was at this point that we also decided to focus on using local grapes, as they would tie in nicely with the wine culture in the area.

We joined forces with a small number of people that either owned distilleries in NYS or were looking into it. With the assistance of the NY Farm Bureau, we successfully lobbied for the NYS Farm Distillery Bill which opened up the possibility of offering tastings and retail sales at the site of production - a law that we determined would be important to the success of our business model. In August of 2007, the governor signed the bill that created this new class of distillery.

After considerable research, we decided to go for it. We spent months trying to find the right spot, design our facility and select our equipment. We still have a ways to go, but have also made significant progress. We're excited to see things come together in the next few months.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

What is this all about?

"How is the winery coming along?" "When are we going to be able to try your beer?" I certainly appreciate people's interest in our project, but there is obviously a lot of confusion over what a distillery actually produces. Our region is known for its quality wines and the local brewing scene has also made great strides in recent years. We're going for something a little different, however. Finger Lakes Distilling will be the largest stand-alone distillery in the region. Our product line will focus exclusively on distilled spirits - vodka and brandies from local grapes, whiskies from local grains, and a wide range of cordials and fruit brandies (eaux-de-vie) using local fruit, honey, maple, etc.

We're applying for a NYS Farm Distillery license which will allow us to operate much like a Farm Winery. We'll eventually welcome visitors for tastings and will have a retail shop on premise. As part of the license requirement, we'll be producing primarily from NYS raw material. We intended to do this anyway, as we are very proud of our local agricultural products, and think that they will make a fine base for our products.

We're hoping to have product available in early 2009. In the meantime, please stay posted on our progress by checking in on this blog. We'll continue to fill you in on our story and track the construction of our facility.

Thursday, May 1, 2008


Our blog is up and running...and hopefully our distillery will be soon too. Check back here for updates on where we are in the construction process.