Extending the hand of friendship to our American cousins across the Atlantic Ocean, Stuart Cassells, general manager of Glenturret Distillery, Scotland’s oldest working distillery, recently visited Kings County Distillery in New York, the US city’s oldest operating whiskey distillery to meet its Founder, Colin Spoelman.
However, as Glenturret moves towards its celebrations of 240 years distilling Scotch whisky this November, New York’s Kings County Distillery in Brooklyn is chalking up an anniversary of a very different kind: its Fifth.
Founded in 2010, the first distillery in the city since prohibition, at a mere 5 years old, Kings County Distillery is New York City’s oldest operating whiskey distillery. Producing handmade moonshine and bourbon out of the 115-year-old Paymaster Building in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, they use New York grain and traditional distilling equipment to make distinctive whiskeys which have won numerous awards from the American Distilling Institute and the American Craft Spirits Association.
Stuart Cassells commented:
“I was in New York on business and decided to do a bit of sight-seeing – I thought I’d check out the local distilleries and was surprised to find the oldest was just five years old! In Scotland we are so used to our distilleries being around for, literally, hundreds of years just like Glenturret. Kings County Distillery Brooklyn was the perfect host and I was delighted to meet with the founder, Colin Spoelman and swap notes on the importance of maintaining the traditional hand-made distilling processes. It turns out that Glenturret and Kings County have a lot in common!”
The same Prohibition era of the 1920s that saw New York’s distillery quarter completely eroded, also saw Glenturret Distillery in Crieff “mothballed” until it was re-opened in the 1960s by James Fairlie who restored production and opened it up as a visitor centre.
“It’s amazing to hear that Colin’s story is so remarkably similar to Glenturret’s – he’s just done it a few decades later. We’ve already discussed ways of working together and, with a long tradition of taking first fill bourbon casks from the American market, we’re already looking at taking some of Kings County’s smaller casks to lay down the Glenturret malts for maturation. Watch this space, as they say!”
Glenturret Distillery celebrates 240 years of distilling on site at Crieff in November and will throw open their doors to the public with free-of-charge walk-through distillery tours on the weekend of 7th & 8th November.
The distillery will also hold a ‘Raise a Dram’ world record attempt on Thursday 5th November to mark 240 years of Glenturret Distillery, standing alongside members of the public and whisky lovers from the area, to set the record for the number of people to simultaneously raise a traditional Scottish dram.