The owners of Litchfield Distillery want the community to know that their production, products and personnel are firmly rooted in the county.
“We want to present our identity as being local,” said Jack Baker, a Warren resident and business partner with his brothers David of Woodbury and Peter of Southbury.
So recently the business rebranded its products with the Litchfield name front and center. Gone is the Krofters label in favor of a prominent Litchfield Distillery. A batchers’ subtitle indicates that it’s made in small batches. A new logo features a high-contrast black-and-white rendering from a photo of lead distiller James McCoy pushing a barrel.
The re-branding is being done with the help of Tony Vengrove at Miles Finch Innovation in New Milford
The Litchfield Distillery core offerings are the same — a bourbon whiskey and a gin. The company also offers a double barreled bourbon whiskey that’s been aged eight years.
With the exception of the latter, for which the company purchased and re-barreled 250 barrels of Southern Whiskey, everything is made on site, largely from local products.
The spirits, of course, rely heavily on grain, with the business processing close to 1,000 pounds each production day. Nearly 70 percent of that is corn, which comes from LionRock Farm in Sharon. Spent grain goes back to a local farmers for animal feed and fertilizer.
The distillery is also planning to produce several small-batch offerings with local fruit and produce.
“The fun of the industry is bringing out new and interesting products,” Jack Baker said. “We source everything we can locally.”
The business partners purchased its current 15,000-square-foot building at 569 Bantam Road (Route 202) in June 2014 and began distilling last fall after bringing on McCoy, whose many accolades include has a master’s in brewing and distilling from Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK-Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK.
The Baker family owns Watertown-based Crystal Rock Water and the partners felt a distillery would be a worthy venture.
While the liquor industry is different in many ways, the business and distribution experience came in handy.
“There’s a lot of subtleties in the licensing and laws relating to the liquor industry but the logistics are very similar,” Jack Baker said.
It’s also an exciting business with so many possibilities, he added.
“The distilled spirits category has been blown wide open by the craft industry,” Jack Baker said.
The distillery averages about 50 gallons of product per production day. The production cycle takes approximately five to seven days, with bourbon barreled and aged from six months to four years.
Products hit the shelves in March and approximately 50 local package stores and 10 restaurants carry Litchfield Distillery products. Michael Higgins, proprietor of Litchfield Hills Wine Market in Litchfield, said the products have done well, due to the appeals of local and quality.
“The gin is a beautiful, aromatic specimen,” he said. “It’s one of our best sellers.”
The bourbon also does well, he added, calling it “very clean, very pure and well done.”
The double-barreled aged variety is only recently on the shelves, he said, but he also praised it as being excellent.
Higgins agrees that making the Litchfield moniker more prominent is a good move.
“It does really speak to where it comes from,” he said.
Litchfield Distillery also plans to increase its community presence over the next several weeks. Already the company has participated in many nonprofit and community events and in the next several weeks to formalize its hours and availability of its tasting room for private tours and nonprofit fundraisers.
“We’re trying to make a nice, casual atmosphere where people can enjoy themselves and taste what we do here,” Jack Baker said. “We hope to have a big effect on local tourism, local agriculture and the economy.”