A few great distilleries call Charlottesville home. The founders, distillers and principals are wonderful people. Expect to leave Ragged Branch, Vitae Spirits Distillery, or Spirit Lab Distilling with an expanded palate and a lingering smile.
The tasting room offers a great view of the mountains. Stop by to try their flagship bourbons, relax with friends, and tour the distillery. They’re open Thursday to Sunday. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon!
Ragged Branch takes no shortcuts with their distilling process and is committed to natural, sustainable practices. In addition to bourbon, Ragged Branch also serves bourbon beef (the cattle is calved on-site). You’ll find that their mash-fed steaks and hamburgers pair perfectly with their Virginia Straight Bourbon Whiskey.
Founded by Ian Glomski, a former Professor of Microbiology at UVa’s School of Medicine, Vitae Spirits boasts an incredible range of products. Glomski is the driving force behind the diverse selection of award-winning craft liquors offered at their Rose Hill location, just off Preston Avenue. When you walk in, you’ll feel like you’ve entered a sleek, modern coffee shop, only instead of coffee, there are rums and gins and more behind the bar. Tours are offered most Fridays and Saturdays. The tasting room is open Wednesday through Sunday. Visit their website to learn more about bottle sales, classes, and other offerings.
Open Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday, Spirit Lab Distilling is the smallest of the three operations in town. The owner, Ivar Aass, is very good at what he does. If you have the time, take a class with him! At the end of the session, you’ll get to take home your own small bottle of un-aged whiskey. Kids and dogs welcome during regular tasting hours.
You can't go wrong with a visit to any of these craft distilleries! If you've never been to one before, trust that they'll be welcoming and eager to teach you about whatever you're interested in: the distillation process, pairings, cocktail recipes, barrel aging, name it. A distillery tour and tasting is a great way to test new liquors if you usually prefer a beer or a glass of wine. Who knows! Maybe you'll discover your new favorite drink.