RICHMOND, Va. — The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority (ABC) is proud and excited to once again partner with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) in celebrating September as Virginia Spirits Month. This designation recognizes the commonwealth’s rich history of spirits and spotlights more than 100 licensed distilleries that call the state home.
The commonwealth is the Birthplace of American Spirits. In 1620, during the early Jamestown settlement days, George Thorpe – after being introduced to corn by the regional indigenous people – used the crop in place of barley to distill the first batch of American whiskey. George Washington, the first president of the United States, went on to become the biggest 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 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.”
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. Virginia distilleries have also become popular agritourism destinations as they attract 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. Distillers in the state also source finishing components such as new barrels and bottles or used cider, wine and beer barrels.
“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 also honor this special month with “Virginia Spirits Sale-A-Bration.” Throughout September, customers can save 20% on 132 select Virginia-made products, all of which are subject to availability. The Sale-A-Bration will not have a purchase limit.
For more information on Virginia Spirits Month and Virginia-made products, visit https://www.abc.virginia.gov/
Please celebrate Virginia Spirits Month responsibly.
–Michael Wallace, VDACS