Purcellville-based Catoctin Creek Distillery is in the midst of a $1 million equipment overhaul which will triple the distillery’s production capacity.
The renovation includes a new 2000 liter copper pot still, a glycol cooling system, a 2000 liter mash tank, six new 2000 liter fermenters as well as concrete floors to replace the existing 100-year-old floors.
Catoctin Creek co-founders Scott and Becky Harris said the equipment was custom designed by Specific Mechanical, based in Vancouver, British Columbia and will allow the four distillers on staff to produce whisky five days a week.
“These guys produce really good equipment and we knew they were highly regarded,” Scott Harris said.
Catoctin has seen recent sales growth mostly outside Virginia in states such as New Jersey, California, Texas and Florida, he said. However, sales are still growing in Virginia at a rate of 12 to 15 percent per year.
“Part of that is coming from national recognition. Our collaboration whisky with the heavy metal band GWAR really took us up,” he said, adding that the Richmond-based band has a large international following.
Catoctin started the renovation process a year before the COVID-19 pandemic, and when the virus began to proliferate they made the decision to put their expansion plans on hold.
“Once we got through the worst of it, we realized things would be ok and we decided to proceed with our plans,” Scott Harris said.
Located on Main Street in a historic building which was once a car dealership, the Harrises originally spent over $750,000 on the renovation and restoration of the building in 2013.
“It is simultaneously exciting and terrifying,” Scott Harris said of the new expansion project, which will allow Catoctin Creek to produce about 1,000 bottles of whisky per day.