So a few weeks ago I was at the Olana Fest, which celebrates local farmers, chefs, and artisanal producers. Local meats, cheese, and vegetables were wielded with incredible finesse by some of the Hudson Valley’s best chefs. Of course, I needed a drink. Among the offerings was a taste of a new local distillery.
Coppersea Distilling attempts to recreate products from a time when numerous distilleries, in villages and towns across the continent, produced from their stills unique spirits based on what was grown seasonally. Be it spring or summer or fall, the distillers used what the local bounty provided and made unique products. Using what they call “Heritage Methods”, such as using water from their own well, mashing in wooden tanks, and distilling in direct-fire copper pot stills Coppersea tries to bring back those days.
The idea is that every product is imbued with the terrior of the Hudson Valley producing spirits that are of high quality and that are distinctive.
Angus MacDonald, Coppersea’s Master Distiller, has been studying the craft of fine spirit distillation for over 30 years, calling on a family tradition that goes back centuries. His quest to master this art led him to relationships with dozens of traditional folk distillers, becoming a keeper of this rare lore. Angus’ goal in starting Coppersea Distilling is to put in practice his hard-won knowledge, and reinvigorate American spirits making with a return to its traditional roots.
Coppersea Distillery Manager Christopher Williams joined us following stints in both brewing and distilling. His hands-on energy is instrumental in making Coppersea run.
Michael Kinstlick, CEO, brings entrepreneurial drive and acumen from his 20 years in business. His prior work includes finance, software, and commercial insurance. He has a BA in Economics from Columbia, a MS in Industrial Engineering from Northwestern, and an MBA from the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley.Coppersea Raw Rye comes from a mashbill of 75% raw, unmalted Rye and 25% Malt Barley. We have long held that distilling is a culinary art, and we are glad to help the local food revolution extend into distilled spirits. We take our ingredients seriously and began building relationships with local farmers long before we had started Coppersea."Although it sounds simple, better grain and better water make better whiskey," they state. "We are sourcing our Rye, Corn, and Barley from nearby farms whose philosophies and practices around sustainability mirror ours. We have some farms growing specific grain varietals directly for us, and when we have found organic supplies, we have jumped to bring them in."
That’s a lot of fancy talk. But the end result it this – a smooth unoaked Rye of unique character and taste. It was excellent. I kinda missed the usual overtones on butterscotch and caramel that toasted oak usually imbues Rye with. On the other hand, it’s what made this Rye so smooth. Almost like a vodka. It was excellent. I really liked it.
I tasted the spirit straight. They were not offering it in any kind of cocktail, but I am curious what Coppersea New York Raw Rye would taste like in a drink. But I can tell you this, you won’t go wrong with a bottle.