Best Local Distillery Finalist
Vote for one of the nominees below for best distillery from the DC metropolitan region, including Northern Virginia and Maryland who are making their spirits locally and sourcing local ingredients for their spirits (at least one with locally sourced ingredients.)
Lifelong friends Bill Karlson and John O’Mara are the “K” and the “O” in KO Distilling. They met as classmates and cadet midshipmen at the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA), and have been friends ever since. Upon retiring early, the question became, “what next?” Neither one satisfied with sitting idle, in 2013 Bill and John set off on a journey to create craft spirits with local ingredients, high quality production methods, and to share their passion with their local community. Since incorporating KO Distilling in 2013 and breaking ground in 2015, Bill and John have turned KO Distilling into a state-of-the-art production facility and local tourist attraction in Manassas, VA. After their initial offering of unaged whiskey and gins in 2015, Bill and John realized their goal of producing their first aged spirit, Bare Knuckle American Wheat Whiskey in November 2016. KO is proud to be one of 1200 craft distilleries in the US and one of only 50 in Virginia. The distillery attracts visitors seeking locally crafted spirits, and offers tastings and tours of the distillery. KO believes in giving back to the community. Since its inception in September 2015, KO Distilling has been a major donor or sponsor to: the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas; the Center for American Military Music Opportunities (CAMMO); the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Foundation Toys for Tots-Quantico Chapter; the Potomac Nationals minor league baseball team; the Northern Virginia Eagles rugby team; and Northern Virginia Family Services.
New Columbia Distillery
Everything made by New Columbia Distillery starts with locally grown grain. New Columbia Distillers (Green Hat Gin) was the first Distillery in DC since prohibition and is one of the few distilleries that are actually grain to glass. The owners are a father and son in law who source their ingredients from local VA farms. They have created International award winning gins and related spirits, and were the first distillery in DC in a century. All grains and Red Winter Wheat are grown in Virginia, Aronia Berries from Maryland, and any herbs, botanicals, and fruit is sourced from local vendors and farmers markets. 100% of gin made from locally grown grain!
Women-owned Republic Restoratives believe that the quality of the spirit in the bottle should be equal to it's brand and seek to be the alternative every day spirit. Their facility is unrivaled - the design makes use of as much glass as possible, highlighting the transparency that they conduct their business with. Republic Restoratives serves as a community space as well and are proud to have welcomed dozens of affiliated groups into their home including Fresh Farm Markets, Pineapple DC, Plate of the Union, Union Kitchen, Good Food Awards, DC Craft Bartenders Guild, Martha Stewart Magazine and more. They seek to use local ingredients as often as possible, and this fall are releasing an Apple Brandy that is 100% sourced from Adam's County apples from our friend Ben Wenk at Three Springs Fruit Farm. They are a crowdfunded distillery and are proud that thousands of people, including hundreds of DMV'ers, are invested in their business.