When Ralph Erenzo moved to the Hudson Valley in 2001, he planned to open a rock climbing gym in the Shawangunk region in Gardiner. He had purchased the historic Tuthilltown Gristmill and set out to expand his business that had already created the first rock climbing gym in New York City. Due to concerns from neighbors about this project, Ralph—a 25-year rock climbing veteran—had to change directions and come up with a new idea. Together with business partner Brian Lee, Ralph decided to create the first whiskey distillery in New York since Prohibition (which ended in 1933).
Tuthilltown Spirits proudly distills spirits made with locally grown crops.
With no previous knowledge or experience in distilling spirits, Ralph began to learn the craft, and by 2003, Tuthilltown Spirits was in business. Co-founder Brian designed and built the facilities, and became the engineering mastermind behind all of the technical processes that go into fermenting and distilling spirits. When the business began, Tuthilltown was one of the only farm-based distillers in New York.
The Visitor Center offers tastes of a wide variety of spirits—from gin to vodka to whiskey and other handcrafted spirits.
In order to sell their whiskeys directly to consumers, Ralph had to work to promote the Farm Distillery Act: an agreement that allows New York State farmers to distill and sell spirits on their farm.
Today, Tuthilltown Spirits proudly distills spirits made with locally grown crops. Their selection features Hudson Baby Bourbon, Hudson Four Grain Bourbon, Hudson Manhattan Rye, Hudson Single Malt, and Hudson Maple Cask Rye. Awards and notable honors that distinguish the distillery include “Craft Whisky Distillery of the Year” from Whisky Magazine, “Apple Vodka Distillery of the Year” from the New York International Spirits Competition, “Best New American Whiskeys of the Year” by Food & Wine Magazine, and many others.
Jacob Tschetter, associate and brand ambassador at Hudson Whiskey—the signature line of whiskeys distilled by Tuthilltown Spirits—describes the distilling process: “Hudson Whiskey starts with locally grown grain and, using a whole-grain process that keeps the entire mash intact all the way through fermentation and first distillation, Hudson’s distillers are able to pull more flavor and oils from the grain for a richer spirit. Hudson Whiskey uses barrels ranging from 10 gallons up to 53 gallons to mature the whiskey, with the different size barrels resulting in different flavor profiles. Once the barrels reach optimum maturation, they are vatted together to create a complex, layered flavor. Finally, the whiskey is then bottled, dipped in wax, and numbered before being shipped worldwide.”
With close proximity to the Gunks, the grounds offer an intimate, ambient setting for guests to enjoy good food and spirits.
Tuthilltown Distillery invites the public to visit the grounds and learn firsthand about their unique distilling process. Visitors will see the entire small-batch distillation process from beginning to end, while also learning insider information and other key details of the process. The Visitor Center offers tastes of a wide variety of spirits—from gin to vodka to whiskey and other handcrafted spirits. Also onsite is the Distillery’s signature restaurant: Char 1788.
This farm-to-table restaurant serves seasonal American cuisine, featuring locally sourced food from the Hudson Valley. The theme of Char’s menu changes with the season to highlight the bounty of the Valley and creativity of their team. Guests can enjoy views of the stream while sitting outside on the deck, sipping housemade specialty cocktails made with Tuthilltown Spirits (of course!), and nibbling some local fare.
Tuthilltown also opens its doors to events and weddings. With close proximity to the Gunks, the grounds offer an intimate, ambient setting for guests to enjoy good food and spirits. Breathtaking views of the Shawangunk Kill and Wallkill River make this venue the ultimate oasis away from the bustle of life, allowing friends and families to experience relaxation and peace as they celebrate together
Tuthilltown is indeed a unique distillery to visit, being one of the first of its kind, and has the added luxury of a scenic location. Be sure to add this fascinating destination to your fall foliage journey through the Hudson Valley. You can even visit the nearby orchards that supply some of the ingredients for their spirits. Tours are offered every Saturday and Sunday. Larger groups can also schedule tours in advance.
To stay informed and connected with Hudson Whiskey at Tuthilltown, visit Tuthilltown.com, follow them on Twitter and Instagram (@HudsonWhiskey), or visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/HudsonWhiskey.
14 Grist Mill Lane, Gardiner
Visitor Center Hours
Char 1788 Hours
Monday & Thursday: 11am–9pm
Friday & Saturday: 11am–10pm
Sunday: 11am–8pm 845-419-2961