September is Virginia Spirits Month. This is the second year where the state celebrates its local distilleries.
The spirits industry has made big impacts to Virginia’s economy, and also supports local farms for crops such as corn, wheat, barley, and rye.
The craft beer industry has blossomed across the Blue Ridge. According to the Governor’s Office, it contributes 9 billion dollars per year to the Virginia economy.
But there’s a new trend that’s growing fast. One that has generated an additional 6 million dollars for Virginia last year, and that’s craft distilleries.
“We see the wave coming, and we want to ride it,” said Radd Nesbit.
Nesbit is the Director of Sales for Franklin County Distilleries in Boones Mill. They got their start in 2014 when some of their products first hit the shelves, but now they are taking their business a step further by opening a tasting room right off of Highway 220.
They started construction in 2015, and Nesbit says the building has been many things in the past, so it’s taking them a while to get things exactly how they want them.
“A oil change building, and a florist, or an open air nursery. So we have done a lot of work to reclaim the property,” he said.
While they’re still putting the final touches on their building, one thing they have perfected is their corn whiskey, also known as moonshine.
Nesbit contributes the pure taste of their shine to two ingredients: one is using as many Franklin county products as possible, and the other is quite simple.
“The water purity is some of the highest in the country,” he said.
Nesbit says what sets distilleries aside from breweries is the versatility they have with their products. They won’t just specialize in moonshine.
“We are also going to be having a rye whiskey, and for sale in our store, we are looking to expand into the cognacs, the vodkas, and the rums, and brandys,” said Nesbit.
You’ll have to chose your pours wisely though, because, right now, laws say they can only serve 3 oz per person per day.
“But that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to taste what we do have to offer,” he assured.
Franklin County Distilleries tasting room is set to open in December of this year.