Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton (D-VA-10) were in Purcellville Monday morning to celebrate a milestone for Loudoun County’s business at an event hosted by Scott and Becky Harris, co-founders of Catoctin Creek Distillery.
The distillery recently completed a million dollar equipment overhaul that will triple the distillery’s production capacity to approximately 1,000 bottles of rye whiskey per day. The products are distributed in 40 states and in Europe, Mexico, Canada and Singapore.
State Senator John Bell (D-13), Mayor of Purcellville Kwasi Fraser, President of the Loudoun Chamber of Commerce Tony Howard and Chairman of the Board Stacey Metcalfe, as well as Beth Erickson, President and Chief Visit Loudoun and Buddy management were also present at Monday’s event. Rizer, executive director of Loudoun Développement économique.
The renovation of the Catoctin Creek distillery includes a new 2000 liter copper still, a glycol cooling system, a 2000 liter wort tank, six new 2000 liter fermenters as well as concrete floors to replace the existing centuries-old soils.
The business started in 2009 after Becky, a chemical engineer, and Scott, a software engineer, decided to change careers and open a distillery.
Located on Main Street in a historic building that was once a car dealership, the Harris’ initially spent over $ 750,000 to renovate and restore the building in 2013.
Kaine, who drove to Purcellville from Richmond on Monday after voting for the Nov. 2 election, praised the Harris’ success.
“It was a tough time,” Kaine said. “These guys are trying to grow this business, develop and hire staff during a pandemic and economic recession. They were also doing it in the midst of a trade war.
During a visit to Catoctin Creek in March, Kaine learned of concerns about tariffs on American whiskey set to rise to 50% in June.
The junior senator sent a bipartisan letter to the office of U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai and U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, calling on agencies to fight retaliatory tariffs that hamper the whiskey trade, other spirits and wine between the United States and the EU and the United Kingdom, according to Kaine’s press secretary Ilse Zuniga.
Zuniga said the senator highlighted the negative impact an increase in these tariffs would have on local businesses, as many still struggle to stay afloat due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since then, the Biden administration has reached a deal with the European Union to halt plans to increase EU tariffs on American whiskey, according to Zuniga.
On Monday, Kaine also thanked the Harris’ for their work in helping farmers stay in business by using local produce in their minds.
In his remarks, Wexton praised the success and vision of Catoctin Creek.
“I love the way Scott tells the story of when he and Becky went on vacation to the Bushmills Distillery in Ireland, and they said ‘that’s it, that’s what we’re going to do now with our lives, ”she said.
“Who of us hasn’t had this conversation? For me it’s still the Caribbean dive hut,” Wexton said. “, and they’ve been pushing to make their dream come true, and you’re in the middle of it right now. I couldn’t be happier,” she said.