Tired of Wine tastings ? Copper Fox Distillery will open to the public on July 9th at the former Lord Paget Hotel at 901 Capital Landing Rd in Williamsburg VA.
Owner Rick Wasmund purchased the aging motel in March 2015 from the City of Williamsburg and has been busy transforming it into malting, production, aging and tasting facilities. The tasting room will include a bar built to accommodate 30 to 35 people and feature liquid and non-liquid retail.Visitors will be able to observe every step of whisky production at the Williamsburg site.Current production includes : Wasmund’s Single Malt Whisky, Copper Fox Rye Whisky and their newest offering VirGin a spirit hand-crafted from 100% malted barley, tastefully distilled in pot stills resulting in a deep and rich flavor profile that allows the malt to shine. They use the finest natural ingredients available: Mediterranean juniper, citrus, spice and selected botanicals. Seasonal offerings from the distillery garden will uniquely influence each small batch that is produced.
The central building on the Williamsburg VA property will eventually hold large stills and accommodate grinding, milling, cooking and fermenting, allowing Copper Fox to expand its production capacity. In addition to producing its own malts, Copper Fox Distillery will malt barley and grains on a custom basis, both for other distillers and craft brewers, as the Virginia distilled spirits and craft-beer industries continue to grow.
Ultimately, Copper Fox Williamsburg will offer an immersive experience where visitors can stay in suites on site, participate in the production process and taste whisky.
Rick Wasmund’s Copper Fox Distillery first location, opened in 2004 in Sperryville VA with a staff of three: “Basically,” Wasmund said, “it was Sean [McCaskey, the Sperryvile distillery’s production manager], myself and my mom.” The distillery now has 11 full-time employees and four part-timers, Wasmund says. The new Williamsburg location is expected to eventually employ 28 people.
“That doesn’t count me and Chelsea,” Wasmund says, referring to his wife, “and Chelsea works almost full time.” For the Sperryville distillery’s Christmas party, Wasmund said, “including Camille [the couple’s 4-year-old daughter], I think we had 18 stockings.”
Wasmund said he and his family will likely move full time to Williamsburg. He expects that he will be a constant presence at both distilleries. McCaskey will continue to manage the Sperryville facility.
Both distilleries will produce the same fruitwood-infused single-malt-whisky and rye-whisky products initially, Wasmund said, but also expects the new facility will speed up his plans to produce a bourbon-mash whisky. Most of the company’s grains come from farmer Billy Dawson’s Bay’s Best Feeds in Heathsville, Va. — which is much closer to the Williamsburg site.