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Williamsburg Area Restaurant Employees Learn the Ins and Outs of Copper Fox Distillery

Rick Wasmund, owner of Copper Fox Distillery, gave members of Williamsburg Area Restaurant Association a tour of the production process. (WYDaily/Molly Feser)

WILLIAMSBURG — Members of the Williamsburg area restaurant community gathered at Copper Fox Distillery on Tuesday, March 8 to get a behind-the-scenes tour of the local whiskey distillery.

The Williamsburg Area Restaurant Association (WARA) arranges tour and tasting classes to help educate the local culinary staff.

Many of the restaurants that had representatives in attendance, including Blue Talon Bistro, DoG Street Pub and Masala Craft Indian Kitchen, carry Copper Fox’s products.

Rick Wasmund, owner of Copper Fox, said that his distillery was created with the idea to make whiskey differently from any other distillery in the United States.

Copper Fox Distillery in Sperryville opened in 2005 with its own malt floor and kiln. At its start, it was the only distillery in the U.S. to hand-malt its own barley as a way to introduce new smoke to flavor the malt.

Copper Fox uses local fruitwoods to smoke and dry the grain, such as applewood and chestnut; flavors that had never been done before, Wasmund noted.

Wasmund led a walking tour of the distillery property, giving a behind-the-scenes look into the innovative production process.

Wasmund gave a behind-the-scenes look of the distillery on the property of the former Lord Paget motel. (WYDaily/Molly Feser)

Copper Fox’s Williamsburg location opened in 2016 on the property of the former Lord Paget Motel, 901 Capitol Landing Rd. The multi-building complex has since been remodeled and transformed into what is now the distillery.

Wasmund showed the unique process of malting barley, which includes steeping, germination and drying.

The whiskey is also bottled and labeled onsite before being sold at its location.

Following the tour, WARA members enjoyed a tasting class, which included a Lavender Old Fashioned with rye, as well as a Bloody Mary; one of Copper Fox’s best-selling cocktails.

Ania Prochowska, manager of Food for Thought, said that participating in educational classes like this is important for the restaurant community, especially for WARA’s servers and bartenders.

“Learning about the process is fascinating,” Prochowska said. “And knowing that it’s made and bottled right here, and learning about how the cocktails are created, is awesome.”

Shaveta Arora, who runs Masala Craft with her family, said it gives the Williamsburg restaurant community a chance to come together.

“It’s just a fun, local event,” she said. “Because as restaurant people, we’re always working, it’s a chance for us to connect and learn something.”

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