Before Prohibition more than 1,000 farm distillers produced alcohol from New York grains and fruits. In 2005 Tuthilltown Spirits brought the tradition of small batch spirits production back to the Hudson Valley.
For 220 years Tuthilltown Gristmill, a landmark which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, used waterpower to render local grains to flour. In 2003, Ralph Erenzo and Brian Lee created Tuthilltown Spirits LLC, converting one of the mill granaries to a micro-distillery. Two and a half years later, Tuthilltown Spirits produced their first batches of vodka from scraps they collected at a local apple slicing plant.
Today, Tuthilltown Spirits distills Indigenous Vodka from apples grown at orchards less than five miles away and the highly awarded Hudson Whiskey line, using grain harvested by farmers less than ten miles away. The Visitor Center offers guests the opportunity to taste the collection of whiskeys, vodkas, gins, liqueurs, and other unique, handmade spirits. Tours illustrate how Tuthilltown’s spirits are made by hand, one batch at a time. Guests are encouraged to stay for the day and enjoy the family-friendly environment. The onsite restaurant, Tuthill House at the Mill, serves Seasonal, New American cuisine and spectacular cocktails in the historic 1788 gristmill. The menu is inspired by modern American cooking, showcasing fresh, local artisan products and ingredients of the Hudson Valley.
Innovation at Tuthilltown is snowballing thanks to the input of over 50 hardworking and creative team members. New products, cocktails, dishes, and tour improvements are brought to fruition each week. Tuthilltown Spirits is proud to have been the early bird in the post-prohibition New York distilling scene. The team is now at the forefront of the craft distilling movement and is quickly building legacy of sustainable growth.
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.
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.