The Team

Brian Lee

Brian Lee

Distiller, Co-founder

Brian has designed and built the technical facilities for Tuthilltown Spirits. He is responsible for engineering and all technical aspects of fermentation and distillation for the company. Brian serves as CFO for the company. Prior to his work with Tuthilltown Spirits, Brian was a senior technical designer for a company building high-end broadcast television facilities. His clients included SKY Latin-America, CBS, and NBC. He served as the on-site technical consultant for ESPN’s conversion to High Definition Television (HDTV). Brian’s technical and mechanical skills ensure all the systems at the distillery continue to function and we are constantly on the search for more efficient methods. He is currently using waste alcohol and installing solar power as supplemental energy sources.

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Ralph Erenzo

Ralph Erenzo

Distiller, Co-founder

Ralph brings 35 years of production and development experience to the distillery. Prior to starting Tuthilltown Spirits, his business ExtraVertical Inc. provided technical services to corporate and media clients for projects that required technical skills developed over his 25 year rock climbing career. Ralph built and managed New York City’s first public climbing gyms including The ExtraVertical Climbing Center on Broadway. His dream of a “climbers ranch” near the largest rock climbing area in the East were set aside in favor of producing high quality spirits. Ralph’s writing and commentary have been featured in national media including Op Ed columns for the New York Times. His work at the State level has resulted in the passage of the Farm Distillery Act which permits New York farms to establish distilleries on site and sell their agricultural spirits at the farm. Born and raised a New Yorker, he has realized a lifelong dream of settling in the Hudson Valley.

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Gable Erenzo

Gable Erenzo

Distiller, Brand Ambassador

As Distiller and Brand Ambassador, Gable divides his time between production and the national roll out of Tuthilltown Spirits. With over 15 years in production and national event management, an associate’s degree from CU, and a BS in Business Management from SUNY New Paltz, he brings considerable business knowledge and experience to the company. Gable’s prior position as Head Distiller and Production Manager at the distillery educated him about all aspects of the Tuthilltown Spirits production process, preparing him for his current role as Brand Ambassador. A rock climber and outdoor enthusiast from the very start, Gable has been climbing in the “Gunks” for over 20 years. He is happy to be working at something he loves, surrounded by friends and family.

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Joel Elder

Joel Elder

Distiller, Production Manager

From out of the legendary dirt bluffs of the wild Missouri Territory and into the sublime Hudson Valley comes the inimitable Joel Elder, Tuthilltown’s Chief Distiller and R&D Alchemist. Joel is responsible for creating Tuthilltown’s new product lines and furthering our involvement with New York agriculture. After a term with the US Army Air Defense Artillery, Joel attended Central Missouri State University in Warrensburg, Missouri before setting off on his true calling: sustainable progressive agriculture. The following 6 years were spent working with and on various farms in California and New York and in a few friendly pubs. Joel brings a commitment to setting new standards of production quality and ecological husbandry to the nascent artisanal spirits industry and the small farms that keep it running. He  is the proud father of a most impressive pair of geminids, Violet & Theodore. He continues to pursue the ideals that initially brought him halfway across our great continent: sustainable lifestyle and livelihood..

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Tony Vanaria

Brand Ambassador

Tony is a transplanted New Yorker who has lived in Paris for the last ten years working as an actor, writer and director. A friend of Ralph Erenzo’s for more than forty years, he found himself in the right place and at the right time to represent Tuthilltown’s penetration into the European market. Tony brings his artistic skills (and his love of whiskey) to the promotion of our products at trade shows and tastings in high-end luxury restaurants, hotels and cocktail bars throughout Western Europe. What a job!

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Luz M. Reid

Luz M. Reid

Tasting Room Manager

Born in Sturgis, Michigan and raised in the Hudson Valley, Luz’s addition to the Tuthilltown family came with the opening of the retail store and tasting room in the Spring of 2009. With a background in retail merchandising which began Chicago in 1996, Luz runs the store, educates customers, and helps everyone who makes the trip to the distillery leave with the best spirits possible.

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Cathy Erenzo

Cathy Erenzo

Director of Retail and Tourism

Cathy joined the Tuthilltown Spirits team in spring of 2008. Her professional contributions to the company are strengthened by a wide variety of skills gained through managing several small organizations and producing financial reports for a prominent marketing company based out of New York. Over time, Cathy took on various roles involved in running a small distillery – including bottling, collaborating with local farmers, State and Federal compliance, bookkeeping, human recourses,  administrative management, and sales.   She opened the distillery tasting room in 2009 and has led the retail team since, creating a flourishing tourist destination.  Cathy is thrilled to be part of a small company with a focus on spearheading the industry’s movement towards environmentally sustainable business practices. Her background working with charity organizations keeps her open to volunteering and she welcomes local non-profits to contact her about ways that she and Tuthilltown Spirits can get involved in the community.

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Mike Chichetti

Michael Chichetti

Whiskey Production Manager and Co-Creator of Basement Bitters

When Michael joined the team in early 2009 he quickly realised just how uniquely driven and progressive the family distiallry truly is and has since been compelled to bring every skill he posseses to the table. He has worked in many fields, from retail, to maintainance, aquatics, and the cullinary arts, but has found the greatest sense of craft and community at Tuthilltown Spirits. Originally from Rockland County, Michael is a Visual Arts major with a concentration in Graphic Design at SUNY New Paltz. At the distillery, he performs a plethora of tasks ranging from managing the bottling line, assisting with the many stages of production, and contributing his love and expertise of visual aesthetics wherever it is needed. When he isn’t producing the best whiskey you can get, he enjoys snowboarding, mountain biking, playing music and working on various illustration and photography projects.

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RobinHRobin Hayes

Brand Ambassador and Administrative Coordinator

Robin Hayes has a background in Spanish teaching, paralegal work, and small town revitalization. She is a born and bred Hudson Valley girl who has spent lots of time in California. She resides in scenic Gardiner with her husband Joe and three kids. Robin’s Tuthilltown Spirits favorite is the Heart Vodka. She’s thrilled to be part of the Tuthilltown Spirits Team!

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Scott Hertzog

Scott Hertzog

Compliance

Scott joined the team in January of 2011. His experience includes various financial roles at both large and small organizations. Scott’s current position involves working with the State and Federal government on monthly reporting, excise taxes, as well as other compliance related responsibilities.Scott feels very fortunate to be a part of the Tuthilltown family.

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Aja Schmeltz

Aja Schmeltz

Sales and Marketing

Aja holds a BA in Media Studies & Public Relations. Upon graduating, Aja worked for a newspaper publishing company, a radio station and with a couple of non-profit organizations before landing at Tuthilltown, where she handles all things related to sales, marketing and PR. Aja is a full-fledged music junkie who loves to cook. Any activity that will put a smile on her face will always include her family, her friends, and a good drink!

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Elizabeth Connelly

Elizabeth Connelly

Tasting Room

A somewhat nomadic, transplanted Hoosier who’s studied, lived and worked in Chicago, Boston, Minneapolis, London, New York City, San Miguel Allende (Mexico) and small-town Colorado over the past 2 decades, Elizabeth joined the tasting room team in November 2010. Now thoroughly over moving, and happily settled in the gorgeous Hudson Valley with her dogs (Julio and Arrow), her cat (Veselka), and one hive of approximately 35,000 honeybees, Elizabeth is a freelance footwear designer during the week and an enthusiastic pourer of Tuthilltown’s tasty artisanal spirits on weekends.

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Greg Guerra

Greg Guerra

Distilleryman

Greg was born and raised in Westchester County, New York. He later pursued his bachelors in History at SUNY New Paltz. After graduating he fell in love with New Paltz and the surrounding area. Greg can’t imagine living or working anywhere else.

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Brendan O'Rourke

Brendan O’Rourke

Operations Manager and Co-Creator of Basement Bitters

Brendan joined the Tuthilltown team shortly after completing his bachelor’s degree at The Culinary Institute of America. He was lured away from the kitchen by the hand-crafted nature of our artisanal products. Brendan is an avid outdoorsman and spends much of his free time in the Catskill Mountains.

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Justin Markham

Barbara Gephard

Tasting Room Associate

By day, Barbara is a legal assistant – by weekend, she is a newbie bourbon and whiskey pourer at Tuthilltown Distillery. Born and raised in Dutchess County, New York, Barbara lived in New Orleans and Chicago before returning home to the Hudson Valley. Barbara’s background is in wine where she has worked since she was 18 – not only as a field hand at a New York vineyard but also in two family-owned wine shops. She lives with her finacee, her 2 sons and 3 step-children.

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BrianMBrian Messina

Distilleryman

Brian is a Hudson Valley native. With a background rooted in both military service and chemical manufacturing, he brings with him a special zeal for learning the craft and business of distilling. If he’s not here, you can usually find him and his trusty K9 companion in the Shawangunks, either hiking the ridge or working his backyard farm. He has never seen Jurassic Park or any of the Star Wars movies, despite the protests of his wife and coworkers.

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Justin Markham

Tyler LaCorata

Distilleryman

Tyler has recently joined the team here at Tuthilltown in May, 2013. Tyler has a culinary background, working in the Hudson Valley and Charleston South Carolina as a private chef and in many different restaurants. Wanting to branch off from the kitchen into distilling, Tyler has found a perfect fit here at Tuthilltown. When he is not at the distillery, Tyler likes to go hiking, fishing and camping in the Hudson Valley.

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BrendanD

Brendan Dotterer

Distilleryman

Brendan joined our team days after earning his bachelor’s degree from The Culinary Institute of America. Learning the distillation process and business first hand is what brought him to Tuthilltown Spirits. As a lifelong Dutchess County resident, he has gained experiences in everything from restaurants to horse farms. Outside of work, Brendan enjoys fishing the local rivers, and playing guitar.

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DonWDon Warburton

Distillery Representative

Don and his wife Joani and are native Long Islanders who moved to Southern Colorado in 1982. They returned to the state of New York in September of 2012, to be close to their two daughters, Krista and Cathy. Don was transitioning from his medical sales career of 20 years when Ralph and Brian offered him the opportunity to be the Sunday Tour Guide for Tuthilltown Spirits. He loved the job and the company so much that when they decided to hire a sales rep for the “Self Distributed Products” like Indigenous Apple Vodka , Half Moon Gin and Roggen’s Rum Don jumped at the opportunity. Don says “When I tell customers about my medical sales background I always mention with a smile that Tuthilltown Spirits are ‘Somewhat medicinal!’”

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KayCKay Churchill

Tasting Room Associate

Biography coming soon!

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DanBernhardtDan Bernhardt

Distilleryman

Biography coming soon!

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KristaKrista Archer

Distillery Representative

Krista comes from a diverse background in distribution and sales for food and beverage in the New York metro area. She is a distillery representative in Manhattan and Brooklyn for Tuthilltown Spirits and is super enthusiastic about being a part of the team. Krista resides in Brooklyn with her husband Christopher and her two cats Obi and Holmes.

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AdamFAdam Fico

Distilleryman

Biography coming soon!

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ZacharyWZachary Wippel

Distilleryman

Biography coming soon!

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SandraRSandra Rivera

Distillery Representative

Sandra holds a Bachelor in Science from St. Francis College. She enjoys the simple things in life and is a spirits and craftsmanship enthusiast. Sandra possesses an unique and extensive wine and spirits background. Sandra handles the sales in Manhattan and the outer boroughs as well. One of her favorite things to do is to walk around the beach and enjoy the sound of the accordion.

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ReneeRenee Cimino

Distiller

Renee joined the Tuthilltown team in October 2013. Born and raised in the Hudson Valley, she lived in Cape Cod, MA for almost a decade before moving back home. Renee has found a perfect fit at the distillery and brings with her a background in bartending, cooking, gardening and stone masonry​.

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DanVDan Vasco

Distiller

Biography coming soon!

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