OUR STORY: BELLE ISLE CRAFT SPIRITS
Our Story events at The Boathouse have been a way for us to welcome vendors into our space and show our guests just where their delicious food or cocktails are coming from. This time around, we got to visit with Belle Isle Craft Spirits, our featured partner for February, and learned how they make their product from start to finish.
Belle Isle Craft Spirits was founded in 2013 in Richmond VA by Alex Wotring, Vince Riggi and Brian Marks, when they found themselves frustrated with novelty moonshine brands. They set out to make the best possible pre-prohibition style moonshine in an attempt to restore the spirit back to it’s original reputation. Using 100% organic corn and purified water, their small batch spirit is quadruple carbon filtered, making it smooth and drinkable.
Belle Isle Craft Spirits is the biggest craft distillery in Virginia. In their Manchester distillery, we saw just how much heart goes into making this product. Jon Wasilewski, sales lead for Belle Isle Craft Spirits and our tour guide for the day, shared the story behind their Virginia born and bred business.
What inspired you to start making your products?
Whether on frontier farmsteads or in the early commercial distilleries in our nation’s growing cities, Moonshine, or unaged white whiskey, has been America’s Original Spirit since the 1700s. However, in the 20th century, two things happened that diminished Moonshine’s place in bars, homes, and glasses. First, Prohibition resulted in a flood of cheaply made, and often dangerous, “moonshine,” tarnishing the spirit’s reputation. Second, in the decades following WWII massive marketing campaigns from brands like Smirnoff and Absolut led to vodka gaining prominence.
Belle Isle Craft Spirits was founded to help America's Original Spirit regain its rightful place in by producing high-quality moonshine that both honors the spirit’s rich traditions and propels it into the future.
What would you say makes your product unique?
Belle Isle Premium Moonshine is made from 100% organic corn, which we source from three family farms. It is triple distilled to 185 proof, midway between vodka (190 proof) and whiskey (180 proof), and quadruple filtered through charcoal and cut with purified water. Our products are naturally gluten free, and never include any artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners. This makes Belle Isle Premium Moonshine not only different than all other moonshines on the market, but places it in its own category - literally a spirit that exists between vodka and whiskey.
Not only can you meet the Belle Isle guys every Thursday this month at The Boathouse, but you can also enjoy some amazing moonshine cocktails, created by our staff specifically with you in mind.