Collaborative effort among the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority, Virginia Distillers Association and Virginia Tourism Corporation continues support for burgeoning distilled spirits industry
MOUNT VERNON – Governor Ralph Northam joined more than 20 Virginia distilleries Wednesday for the kick–off to September Virginia Spirits Month at George Washington’s Mount Vernon Distillery.
The fourth annual month-long campaign to support sales and education for Virginia’s craft spirits industry also celebrates the 400th anniversary of distilled spirits production in the United States, which began with Virginia colonist George Thorpe distilling the first batch of corn whiskey in 1620.
“Virginia is the birthplace of American Spirits, and our distilleries continue to represent one of the fastest growing sectors of our booming beverage industry,” said Northam. “I am proud to celebrate Virginia Spirits Month and the important contributions of our high-quality distilled spirits to the Commonwealth’s rich history and thriving economy.”
Since the first year of the campaign, September sales at Virginia ABC stores and distillery stores have grown by 85 percent.
“Virginia ABC is proud to carry more than 200 Virginia-made spirits crafted in distilleries across the Commonwealth,” said Travis Hill, CEO of Virginia ABC. “September being Virginia Spirits Month is a great opportunity to highlight the success of this industry in Virginia, and show our support for Virginia distillers and the contributions they make to the economy and tourism industry.”
The 2019 September Virginia Spirits Month campaign coincides with the launch of the Virginia Spirits Trail and Passport Program, sponsored by the Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC). In addition to sharing the history of Virginia’s distilled spirits, the Virginia Spirits Trail provides tourists with a map detailing the locations of the 28 participating Virginia distilleries. A passport program encourages multiple visits and gives spirited travelers a free trail T-shirt once they visit 10 distilleries, with no purchase necessary. Consumers can download a digital copy of the trail or request the printed version by visiting VirginiaSpirits.org.
“As we kick-off Virginia Spirits Month, I can think of no better time to celebrate the launch of the Virginia Spirits Trail,” said Rita McClenny, President and CEO of VTC. “This is an important new product development for the tourism industry in Virginia, as visitors from around the world will be able to sip premier spirits across the commonwealth. This trail is an important and exciting addition to our culinary scene and will show travelers that some of the best things made in Virginia come in a bottle. We can’t wait for travelers to discover for themselves why Virginia is for Spirits Lovers.”
The Virginia Spirits Trail was also made possible through support from Virginia Hop On Tours, which provides customizable tours and reliable transportation for spirited visitors.
Virginia Spirits Roadshows will offer samplings and a chance to speak with local distillers:
Sept. 14 – Richmond at the Virginia War Memorial
Sept. 21 – Alexandria at the Building Momentum Co-op Space
Sept. 28 – Fredericksburg at A. Smith Bowman Distillery
“Distilleries are a rapidly growing part of Virginia’s economy and are helping define Virginia as a beverage destination,” said Gareth H. Moore, VDA President and CEO of Virginia Distillery Co. “Virginia Spirits Month provides an opportunity for consumers to connect with our industry and broaden awareness.”