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A new distillery is opening in Warren at Cold Springs Farm. Mad River Distillers will produce corn whiskey, gin, bourbon and apple brandy in small casks. The liquor will be distributed through the state of Vermont's distribution system and will be sold locally as well as at the distillery. Visitors to the distillery will be able to sample the products and view portions of the distillery.
The business is the brainchild of Brett Little and John Egan, both of Boston. The two partners, as well as their general manager, Alex Hilton, hosted a well-attended Mad River Valley Chamber of Commerce mixer on May 30.
Egan, who referred to himself "the first John Egan" to differentiate himself from Sugarbush ski ambassador John Egan, and his wife Maura Connelly bought Cold Springs Farm about a decade ago and had given some thought to creating a vineyard on the property. Then they began to lean toward making apply brandy and in collaboration with Little came up with the idea for a distillery.
During the mixer, Little explained that the liquor will be fermented on premises using locally sourced grains. Mad River Distillers is producing small casks which have been routed on the inside to increase the liquid-to-cask surface area ratio and decrease aging time from 5 to 7 years to 18 months.
They will label and bottle the liquor themselves on site. The still to make the liquor was imported from Germany and arrived in Montreal in a shipping container last week. The shipping container made its way on a flatbed truck from Montreal to Warren on Monday, June 3.
The distillery is located in a barn on the property that was renovated and expanded by Warren contractor Alex Hilton, and as the renovation progressed, his job expanded as well and he will be the general manager of the company.
The distillery has discussed using the corn mash that is left after the fermentation process as feed for the nearby DeFreest dairy cows and Hilton said there is a fair amount of interest locally from people who would like to feed the mash to their chickens and pigs.