Hillrock Estate Distillery Officially Opens in Ancram

If you didn’t know better, you would think you were somewhere in Tuscany or  Sonoma Valley wine country when you approach this new high-end distillery nestled in the rolling hills of Ancram, NY

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Joan and I recently visited the Hillrock Estate Distillery and were we impressed!  It’s an amazing operation and a wonderful addition to Hammertown Country.

Owner, Jeffrey Baker and Hillrock’s custom made copper still.

Owner and Ancram resident, Jeffrey Baker, is the driving force behind Hillrock Estate Distillery located on the family farm in Ancram, New York.Jeffrey grew up working on farms and was an early advocate of the farm-to-table movement.  He established one of the region’s first pasture raised, sustainable beef operations producing premier Black Angus beef for his Saratoga Springs restaurant. Jeffrey’s  passion and commitment to quality led to the establishment of Hillrock Estate Distillery.

Tim Welly, Head of Operations & Distiller, tells us about the intricacies of whiskey making during our recent tour

Knowing he wanted to produce the finest hand-made whiskey possible, Jeffrey decided to bring in well-known Master Distiller, David Pickerell.

For you whiskey-drinkers out there, David was the master distiller at Maker’s Mark for more than decade…which gives you an idea of the quality Hillrock is committed to achieve.

Hillrock is one of the few “field-to-glass” whiskey producers in the world.  It is also the first U.S. distillery (since before Prohibition) to “floor malt” and hand craft whiskey on site from estate-grown rye.  The beautiful custom-built 250 gallon copper still (made in Louisville, KY of course!) is currently producing an Estate Bourbon, a blend of 51% corn and 49% rye (from their own fields) which is aged in white American oak barrels in accordance with the strictly regulated Bourbon-making process. Eventually, they will also be producing a 100% rye whiskey.

Currently, they are producing and selling Hillrock Solera Aged Bourbon.  This is crafted according to the solera process historically used to create sherries.

World’s First Solera Aged Bourbon.  “Solera” —  a stack of barrels where a small portion of whiskey is removed periodically and new whiskey is added.  No barrel is every fully emptied, and age and complexity gradually increase over time.  Hillrock marries small barrel-aged Hillrock Estate Bourbon with mature seed bourbon before finishing in 20 year-old Oloroso Sherry casks to balance flavors and add layers of complexity….Current average age of the Hillrock Solera Bourbon is over 6 years and the rye content is approximately 37%.

You can buy Hillrock Solera Bourbon locally by the bottle at the Distillery or at Pine Plains Wines in Pine Plains  and Little Gates in Millerton.  It is also now being served in several local restaurants including No. 9 and 52 Main in Millerton; and Agriturismo and Stissing House in Pine Plains.

Hillrock’s gracious visitor center is integrated with the Distillery itself and overlooks the Estate’s barley and rye fields. The tasting room and bar provide  customers with an opportunity to sample and purchase these fine whiskeys.  Tours of the Distillery are by appointment only and can be arranged by calling the Distillery at (518)-329-1023 or by booking on the website at the following link info@hillrockdistillery.com

For more information visit their website:  hillrockdistillery.com

1 Comment

  • Jack says:

    Hillrock is hardly the first distillery in the US to floor malt. Wasmund’s Distillery in Virginia has been floor malting for over a decade.

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