The Story

The dream for the Catskill Distilling Company began with owner and distiller Monte Sachs, who grew up on a dairy farm in coastal Connecticut and first encountered the art of distilling while attending veterinary school in Italy at the University of Pisa. There, while traveling through Italy, he learned the art of distilling traditional grappa from an 80-year-old farmworker named Bernardini.

With the 2008 passage of the New York State Farm Distillery bill, which facilitates the sale of spirits made by private distillers within the state, Monte decided to turn his attention from the practice of equine medicine to the art of fine distillation. Monte and his wife Stacy opened the micro distillery in Bethel, NY, scarcely a stone’s throw from the site of the 1969 Woodstock festival, along with an adjunct business, the Dancing Cat Saloon, which serves not only their own craft spirits but craft beers and fine food.

Other key players have been Christian and Jacob Carl, whose family has been fabricating fine distilling equipment in Germany ever since 1889, and who created the fabulous copper stills visible behind the glass wall of our tasting room; and Master Distiller, the late Lincoln Henderson, who was a key consultant. Henderson is well known for having developed Jack Daniels and Woodford Reserve whiskeys during his career at commercial distiller Brown & Forman.

The water is from the Catskill Mountains, and the New York-grown grains, purchased at a nearby mill, are returned as mash and fed to local farm animals. From the locally grown grains to fruit from local orchards and botanicals grown on site, the Catskill Distillery embodies the spirit of the farm distillery and demonstrates a strong commitment to the local agricultural community.

The themes of history, art, music and community run through the activities not only of the distillery, but of its siblings the Dancing Cat Saloon and the Stray Cat Gallery, which opened across the street in spring of 2013. The Dancing Cat and Stray Cat are located in lovingly renovated Victorians. The art deco bar at the distillery comes from the 1939 World’s Fair in Flushing. The Woodstock legacy of the area is reflected in the names of our spirits, from Peace Vodka to Most Righteous Bourbon. The music of the concerts at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, located on the Woodstock site, is echoed in weekly performances at both the Distillery and the Saloon (see our events page). Artwork created by Stray Cat artists is displayed on the walls of the Dancing Cat.

The Distillery is making its own piece of history with award-winning craft spirits like Peace Vodka, which received a double gold medal for best domestic vodka in the 2012 Fifty Best awards and the eponymously named “one and only Buckwheat Spirit” virtually unique because of the challenges that buckwheat offers the distiller. Most recently, it has struck up a deal with Brewery Ommegang from another center of New York history, Cooperstown, to create a malt whiskey.

a malt whiskey.

Catskill Distilling Co.
2037 State Route 17B
Bethel NY, 12720
(845) 583-8569
info@CatskillDistilling.com
Hours:
Call for an appointment or...
Memorial Day to Labor Day:
Tue- Sun 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Off-season:
Fri -Sun 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.