RICHMOND — The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority (ABC) is partnering with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) to celebrate Virginia Spirits Month this September.
Virginia Spirits Month recognizes the commonwealth’s “rich history of spirits and spotlights more than 100 licensed distilleries that call the state home,” according to a press release.
Virginia ABC notes the commonwealth is the “Birthplace of American Spirits,” where Jamestown settlement’s George Thorpe distilled the first batch of American whiskey in 1620, using corn in place of barley after being introduced to it by the regional indigenous people.
George Washington, in turn, would go on to become the largest producer of Virginia whiskey during his time.
“We are proud to support a wealth of talented distilleries who continue Virginia’s long and storied history of spirits by offering a range of selections from bourbon to vodka to moonshine,” said Virginia ABC CEO Travis Hill. “This is an important time for us to further celebrate our Virginia-made spirits that have received local, statewide, national and global acclaim.”
According to Virginia ABC, Virginia’s distilled spirits industry is a major contributor to the commonwealth’s economy. In 2017, the industry maintained nearly 1,500 full-time jobs and had an economic impact of more than $163 million, while also attracting thousands of visitors each year.
Virginia distillers source more than 70% of their ingredients from Virginia farms, including corn, wheat, barley, rye, potatoes and fruits. They also source finishing components such as new barrels and bottles or used cider, wine and beer barrels from local industries, Virginia ABC adds.
“Virginia’s agricultural and forestry industries play an important role in the production of Virginia distilled spirits. Many Virginia distilleries invest in local farms by purchasing grains and fruits from local producers and by providing spent mash to farmers for feed and fertilizer,” said VDACS Commissioner Joseph Guthrie. “Distillers are also purchasing barrel wood components that originate from Virginia’s forests.”
Virginia ABC will mark the month with the “Virginia Spirits Sale-A-Bration.” Throughout September, customers can save 20% on 132 select Virginia-made products with no purchase limit.
For more information on Virginia Spirits Month and Virginia-made products, visit the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority’s Virginia-Made Products webpage. Virginia ABC reminds residents to celebrate Virginia Spirits Month responsibly.