It’s not often you find Fodor’s pick for one of the best distilleries in New York State practically in your backyard.
It was exciting to see Hudson Valley Distillers as the first on the list.
I first met Chris and Tom about six months after they opened the distillery and got a tour of their operation.
Four years later, the business has grown, they’ve added two new (and huge) stills, expanded the production area, turned the bar area into a big lounge that is complete with a stage and weekly entertainment. Four years ago, this addition was not even possible. When they started the taproom selling open liquor was not legal, but with Governor Cuomo passing more business friendly regulations for the craft beverage industry, selling liquor on premises has contributed to a large portion of their growth.
The most recent addition to the business has been a road stand market which sits at the entrance way to the distillery which will feature a variety of locally grown produce and food products.
In other words, they’re growing like crazy!
As with all businesses, the running the distiller has taken on a life of its own and as Chris and Tom told us, “some things happened with dumb luck and some things happened as planned. “ But whatever they are doing, it’s working, they have become both a
destination for visitor to the Hudson Valley and a great place for locals to hang too.
One of the biggest surprises and most gratifying for Chris and Tom has been the positive impact of what they are doing has made on the local economy and well as the environment.
“We not only bring in revenue with tax sales and excise tax into the state – we now buy fruits and grains from local farms in quantities they were never selling before, as well as farmers now growing and selling grains that had never done before and they are doing it for us. It not only gives them an additional revenue stream, it has an environmental impact on their land because it allows them to rotate their crops, keeping the soil healthy and full of nutrients,” they explain. They also are happy about providing jobs to the local community.
But for them, just as important it is about staying true to their original mission to have fun and provide a great experience to their guests. And that is exactly the feeling you get when you walk into their new bar, Cocktail Grove, and lounge are where they can accommodate up to 100 people.
This new expanded area gives them the opportunity to do a variety of different “happenings” such as comedy night, live bands, local play readings or host private events. Not only can you taste all their products in their original state, or have them mixed into a classic or signature cocktail you can enjoy great snacks like charcuterie and/or a flatbread pizza, burgers or calzones, all made locally.
Now, if Tom and Chris look familiar, it is probably because, in their ample leisure (as my former partner would say when we were overwhelmed with work), they’ve managed to film a commercial for a local bank and pose for a billboard that local commuters see every day on their way across the Mid-Hudson Bridge from Highland into Poughkeepsie.
Hudson Valley Distillery is a family-run business, veteran-owned and operated, whose mission is to create high quality spirits from local ingredients. At present their product line includes varieties of vodka, whisky, applejack, hardscrabble, and gin.
The space is warm and inviting and there is plenty of room both inside and out to sit back and enjoy the fresh air and beauty of the Hudson Valley, a classic cocktail and a bite to eat.
Hudson Valley Distillery is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Check their website for hours and events and be sure to tell them you read about them on Hudson Valley Eats
Hudson Valley Distillers 1727 U.S. 9 Clermont, NY 12526 Phone: 518.537.6820 http://www.hudsonvalleydistillers.com/