You’ve Heard of Micro-Breweries… Now Virginia Has a Micro-Distillery

Farmer-entrepreneur Chuck Miller is selling homemade whiskey from a shed outside the barn — entirely legally. According to an article in the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, Miller’s Belmont Farm Distillery became Virginia’s only licensed on-the-farm liquor store on July 1.

Miller had been selling his whiskey through state ABC stores. Now, thanks to a bill patroned by Del. Ed Scott, R-Culpeper, Miller now has an ABC license to sell either of two products–Virginia Lightning moonshine and Copper Fox whiskey at the gift shop in front of his distillery. Like Virginia’s wineries, his farm has become a destination — not only can tourists partake of the moonshine, they can see how it is made.

Ventures like Miller’s represent a model for Virginia agriculture — creating a boutique product, whether whiskey, wine, cheese or what have you — and packaging the farm as a destination for weekend tourists from nearby cities. Virginia can encourage this type of agriculture/tourism by making it easier for people like Miller to do business (assuming, of course, that they meet all food-safety requirements). After all, moonshining got its start in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains — Franklin County, Va., was a renowned hotbed of moonshiners. Maybe the next step is a state-sanctioned Moonshine Heritage Trail!

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2 responses to “You’ve Heard of Micro-Breweries… Now Virginia Has a Micro-Distillery”

  1. Ray Hyde Avatar
    Ray Hyde

    This is a small thing, overall, but it is a tremendous victory and an example of the *kind* of thing that needs to be done to keep farming viable. Fauquier County needs to learn to listen up instead of trying to stamp out anything that isn’t conventional, or aesthetically pleasing, farmng.

    And what was that about a destination? More travel? Horrors. More Places? Sprawl. 😉

    How about NASCAR Thunder Run road race?

  2. I'm Not Emeril Avatar
    I’m Not Emeril

    “How about NASCAR Thunder Run road race?”

    Now there’s an idea. In the tradition of both bootlegging and modern F1 racing, use public roads. How about a 300 mile road race from Richmond Speedway, through Martinsville, to Bristol.

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