Fruit Focus: Apples

Throughout the summer we are going to talk about some of the different fruits that we grow here, what we can do with them, and how to use them in cocktails.  Since we are first and foremost an apple farm, we thought that would be the ideal fruit to start with.

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Jeffrey Lennox
Cocktail Evenings, Parties and Other Happenings...

As the title suggests this post will be about some of the unique and exciting events that we have planned for the summer months leading into fall.  These events include our Farm to Table Dinners, or Cocktail Evenings and our big Festivals.  If you don't like cocktails, hard cider or fun.... well, no need to read further.  If you like those things here goes...

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Jeffrey Lennox
1st Annual Orchard Wassail and Cocktail Party

In the cider-producing West of England wassailing refers to drinking (and singing) the health of trees in the hopes that they might better thrive. The purpose of wassailing is to awake the cider apple trees and to scare away evil spirits to ensure a good harvest of fruit in the Autumn.

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Jeffrey Lennox
Welcome to the New Team Members

Hello everyone!!  I hope you are all having a wonderful fall so far -- the weather here has been rather nice.... considering we have had nothing but rain all year.  We have been expanding our product lines over the past couple of months and look forward to releasing a number of new products in the next couple of weeks (more on that in a later post I promise).  I wanted to take this time to introduce our new team members.  We are steadily growing and have started to bring on new members to fill roles that we no longer had time for.

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Jeffrey Lennox
Apple Jack; the Great American Spirit

Hello everyone!  This year has been amazingly busy so far!  We have been busy working with tart cherries to make several delicious new drinks for people to enjoy.  But that isn't why I am posting this up today.  I wanted to talk about Apple Jack.   Apple Jack is a traditional American spirits that has roots as deep or deeper than Bourbon.  Oh yes, I went there.  Today Bourbon is king, but before prohibition Apple Jack was just as popular, if not more so.  Today there are only a handful of Apple Jacks left in the country, and the most popular (Laird's) is actually a blend of Apple Spirit and Grain Spirit.

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Jeffrey Lennox
Tasting Room 2.0

Spring is here!!!  I don't care that it is supposed to go down to 30 something tonight.... I see the sun, I see flowers and I see people breaking out of their long hibernation.  We are as busy as bees (like our farm manager Brian's bees even!) here at the distillery working on new products, events and cool ideas.  The Lake Ontario Wine Trail has two events under our belts for the year, and the next one won't be until July (hint: Booze and Music at a venue on a different Eddy Road).  So, we have been focusing on revamping the tasting room and changing it up so people that have already been here once have something new to look forward to, and people that haven't will want to come back again and again.

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Jeffrey Lennox
Roll Out the Barrels

Even though there is snow on the ground; we can actually see the sun -- so it is spring!  That means that the Lake Ontario Wine Trail is back in the full swing of things.  Many of the wineries are clearing the snow off and opening their doors on a new year.  With the start of the season, comes the most popular and, in my opinion, most unique of the Wine Trail Events.

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Jeffrey Lennox
A Cocktail for Winter

That time of year is upon us here in the snow belt of New York.  While December was relatively minor (only about 2 feet of snow) the start of January is looking like it will be a cold one.  Not much snow on the ground at the moment, but the wind is biting and the sun is nowhere to be seen.  This will be my second winter here, and from all accounts that is the way it is supposed to see -- so good bye sun!  Until we meet again in April. 

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Jeffrey Lennox
We're Still Here, I Promise!

Hello everyone!  It has been far to long since I posted but we have been in the heart of harvest season, and have been hard at work on new products for you all to enjoy.  We are working on two flavored vodkas, and should have them out early in the new year.  We wanted them out in time for the holiday season, unfortunately as we have learned everything takes longer to accomplish in this industry.  The flavors will be Peach and Tart Cherry.  We grow both, so will be using natural flavors instead of artificial syrups. 

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Jeffrey Lennox
Prepping for the Holiday Season

Hello everyone.  Fall is finally here!  We are picking fruit like mad and are in the process of turning some of it into new products.  A couple of days ago we pit a bin of peaches (about 700 pounds) and plopped them into some over proofed vodka.  This is the first step in our peach infused vodka!!

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Jeffrey Lennox
Off Site Events

We were excited to do it, and incredibly lucky to be offered the chance through the New York Distillers Guild.  We hope to do many such events as time goes by because they are a great way to get out into the community and meet with people that may not have a chance to come to the distillery during our normal hours.  We have many new events coming up, and will be updating the website and facebook leading up to them.

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Jeffrey Lennox
Going Live

So, as the title suggests we are finally going live with sales.  Opici has begun selling our product to liquor stores bars and restaurants.  We have not heard anything from them yet because of the long weekend -- but we hope to hear good news next week.  At the same time we would appreciate it if everyone would make sure to ask for Tree at their local retailers.  Opici covers the whole state, so even if you are not in the Rochester area you can still get it!

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Jeffrey Lennox
State of the Distillery

I cannot believe I have been here for over a year.  It is amazing how time flies when your day is full of doing what you love.  We are not as far as we wanted to be at this point, but we have finally launched product and will be selling to retailers starting in July.  Our distributor, The Opici Wine Group picked up fifty (50) cases from us yesterday and will begin sending them out to liquor stores bars and restaurants on the area in July.  Below is a picture of Dave and myself with the fifty cases all nice and palletized.

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Jeffrey Lennox
Pressing Apples

So what have we been up to?  Well, since we opened we have been continuing production full tilt and working on our next slate of products.  Our research and development department (me) has been hard at work trying to come up with extensions to our product line.  Some ideas have come from all the wonderful people that visited us on our opening weekend and subsequent weekends, and some from our friend Chris Carlsson over at: http://spiritsreview.com/  R&D deserves its own post, so the next one should cover what we are working on, and maybe some photos to boot!

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Jeffrey Lennox
Lake Ontario Wine Trail

Sorry for the lack of posts recently, I have been waiting for this post until we were 100% sure. We will be opening our doors this weekend for the first time. I will give that a second to sink in.

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Jeffrey Lennox
Agritourism

Apple Country Spirits, while a rather large undertaking in itself, is just the first step toward a much wider goal of creating an agritourism destination in Wayne County.  Agritourism is a little bit of a new idea, basically pertaining to the promotion of farms as not only food/goods producing entities, but also as places of interest and interaction.  Agritourism destinations can be as simple as a farm stand, or as complex as a venue featuring music, food, event spaces etc.  Eventually we hope to start incorporating some of these other facets into the Eddy Road location including a farm stand, perhaps a seasonal restaurant etc (mind you this is well down the road).

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Jeffrey Lennox
Marketing

There are a lot of products out there with a lot of different names and terms on them, and sometimes it can get confusing.  I will do my best to identify and define some of these marketing terms, and I will even explain some that we ourselves plan on using.  Marketing is often looked at negatively, but if you (the consumer) know what to look for, you will not be mislead when you are in the liquor store trying to decipher what it actually says on the label. 


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Jeffrey Lennox
Distilling in New York

Some reading these posts may be familiar with the recent renaissance of alcohol production in New York state.  The "Alcohol Summit" has been on the news a few times, featuring Governor Cuomo talking about increasing support for beer and wine and spirits.  It really is a great time to be a drinker in New York, because this recent explosion of alcohol production has brought a lot of really good products to the market. Because these products are produced on a small scale in New York communities, many of them are open to the public.  I would recommend anyone who has a distillery or a winery or a brewery near them to visit.  Learn something about the process, chat with the people that make it and of course sample the wares.

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Jeffrey Lennox
What is Vodka?

Time to answer another common question that we get when we tell people what we are doing here.  Our vodka is going to be made from apples, and many people ask "doesn't vodka have to be made from potatoes?" or "is it going to taste like apples?"  The answer to both of those questions is no.  Vodka can be made from anything that has sugar or starch in it, and is, in fact, generally made out of grains.  Polish vodkas are mostly potato but that is the exception rather than the rule.  It is very likely that, if you go to a liquor store and pick up a bottle of vodka it will be wheat based.

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Jeffrey Lennox
Distilling (Science-y goodness)

There are a lot of misconceptions and wrong ideas floating around out there regarding the liquor/spirits industry.  Every once and a while I will take the time to try and talk intelligently about scientific aspects of distilling, and attempt to shed some light on this mysterious world.  I should add the caveat that I am not a particularly scientific person, nor do I have any advanced degrees in chemistry etc.  As such, I won't be using many scientific terms, nor will I be discussing the pros and cons of different practices etc.  Instead, I will attempt to discuss what I know in layman's terms, the terms I learned them in.

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Jeffrey Lennox