Local distillery plans increased production
Twin Valley Distillers continues to grow and innovate, bringing different flavors and techniques to its spirits and flavored liqueurs produced out of its hard-to-find distillery off East Gude Drive in an industrial section of Rockville, Md. Recent growth has been attributed to constant experimentation and a growing reputation in Maryland and D.C. Its most popular brands include the Bourbon Single Cask line, Maryland Whiskey Company Bourbon and the 1812 Maryland Bourbon Whiskey, says Edgardo Zuniga, the owner and master distiller at Twin Valley.
On a visit to the tasting room and a tour of the facility, the Swizzle Chill team was impressed with the craftsmanship, product knowledge, as well as the variety of spirits produced here. Ranging from flavored rums to flavor whiskeys, there was a taste for everyone to enjoy. Jonathan Shair, the distillery’s apprentice, provided a very insightful and detailed tour of production. Here, 52 gallons of spirits can be produced in one day and production is operated seven days per week.
The 1794 Maryland Four Grain Rye Whiskey has also been popular at Twin Valley, and is a top seller for Commercial Accounts Manager David Galinsky. Twin Valley balances the complexity in producing the spirit and its popularity or demand. Shair says that the Rye Whiskey is one of of the most complex to produce. Although rye is a sourced within Maryland, it is also a more premium spirit due to ingredient costs.
Twin Valley markets many of its products through tastings at the Rockville facility and throughout the region. Additionally, at liquor stores, consumers have a chance to taste and compare the locally-produced bourbon to top name brands that are not made in the DMV. “Nine times out of 10, we have them try it,” says Galinsky. “When they taste mine (Twin Valley), they go with mine. First of all, because I’m a great salesman. Second, they want to be supportive of local products.”
Farmers markets, tours and special events have also been a great source of business. “One customer at a time” is a mantra that is ingrained within the culture of the distillery. The informative tasting tours at the Twin Valley Distillery, headed by Ebony Garcia, the Events Planner, have also paid off. Local residents and visitors alike are very much interested in what takes place in this unique Distillery in Montgomery County and book tours and tastings there.
On the day of Swizzle Chill’s visit, bourbon was the spirit being produced, and we had the chance to appreciation, both the amount of work involved and the rigor of the process to make bourbon as it has to be aged in new, charred oak barrels that are tightly sealed. Barrels were aplenty at the distillery and so the smell of alcohol being produced. What amazed us was the time it took for the bourbon whiskey distilling in the pursuit of an excellent product.
Much of the process of distilling Zuniga self-taught himself, watching “how-to” videos and reading books purchased on Amazon, says Shair. The Twin Valley team admits that the initial products needed a lot of tweaking and finessing, but what is now being produced at Twin Valley has “ turned into something really wonderful,” says Galinsky. There’s been so much progress since the distillery opened in May 2014. A beautifully-crafted limoncello is a special edition product only sold on the premises of the distillery.
The Black Joe Coffee liqueur is another treasure from Twin Valley. It has gained its popularity for its smooth and well-blended flavor. In fact, as per Garcia, some customers mix and match the spirits from Twin Valley. A Dirty Lemons Flavored Whiskey might be mixed in a cocktail or shot with a more potent whiskey from the Twin Valley portfolio.
Widely-distributed and limited-edition flavored spirits include Dirty Apples Apple Cinnamon Flavored Whiskey, Port Antonio Pineapple Chicha made with rum, and Port Antonio Fruit Punch. The Pineapple Chicha, one of our favorites, was smooth, finishing with a nice kick. Lord Wimsey Gin and Norbeck Vodka add to the diverse Twin Valley lineup.
“We sell everything we bottle,” says Galinsky. “We sell in D.C., Virginia, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and North Carolina. We’ve [also] been approached by New York…. We know we have a good product that we can sell as fast as we can make it.”
Twin Valley Distillers, 711 E Gude Drive, Rockville, Md. 20850
Photo credit: Eatery Pulse Media
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