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seeks to inform and celebrate the new, small
distilleries starting up on almost every continent
around the globe in what can only be considered a
renaissance in distilling.
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||THE THUMPER (News and Other Stuff)
Pictured (left) Frank W. Reinhold, Jr., owner,
and Graham Hamblett, distiller.
NEW HAMPSHIRE'S FIRST MICRO-DISTILLERY STARTS
General John Stark Vodka on sale at New Hampshire
State Liquor Stores
LEE, NH: New Hampshire's first micro-distillery has
been established in Lee, at Flag Hill Winery and
Distillery. Many know of Flag Hill wines, which have
been produced since the first harvest in 1994 at the
vineyard. Now, New Hampshire's first super-premium
vodka has been created named "General John Stark."
Distilled from local New Hampshire apples, it takes
300 apples to make just one 750-ml bottle.
Why would a winery go into the distilling business?
"It's a natural progression for a winery to add a
distillery," owner Frank W. Reinhold, Jr., answered.
"It's easy to turn wine into brandy. We use a lot of
brandy blended with our wines to make dessert wine
and our popular North River Port." Reinhold also
noted that a second important factor played into his
decision to start producing hard liquor. "In New
England there are many products like apples,
potatoes, and other locally grown fruits that are in
excess on the retail market. When the price and
quantities remain constant, they are great
candidates to convert into high-quality distilled
Fermented apple cider is heated to boiling and run
through a gleaming handcrafted copper pot still.
Installed in September, the still was manufactured
in Germany by hand from Christian Carl Inc. Just the
"heart" of the distillation is used, not the impure
"heads" or "tails," which would lower the quality of
the vodka. Filtered artesian water is blended with
the strong distillate to produce vodka at 40%
alcohol, or 80 proof. The smooth-tasting vodka is
made in very small batches and bottled by hand by a
dedicated small crew at the distillery. Although it
is made from apples, the end product does not carry
an apple taste.
The name of the vodka honors a New Hampshire legend.
"Live Free or Die" was written by General John Stark
on July 31, 1809, and it became the state motto in
1945. The words were gleaned from a toast that
General Stark sent to his Revolutionary War fellow
veterans after turning down an invitation, because
of illness, to the 32nd anniversary reunion of the
1777 Battle of Bennington in Vermont. The toast in
full was: "Live free or die; death is not the worst
of evils." Most of New Hampshire's citizens are very
familiar with "Live free or die," but most have no
idea of its historic context as a drinking
Making distilled spirits isn't a new idea to New
Hampshire. As early as the 1600s, the English
colonists along the coast learned to make distilled
brandy from fermented Indian corn. Local New
Hampshire farmers of the 18th and early 19th centuries
made their own "brandies" and spirits to sell
locally. One farmer, Thomas Walker, Jr., of Thornton,
New Hampshire, operated a distillery as well as a lumber
business and farm until the1820s, and made a brandy
from potatoes and apples called "Oh, Be Joyful." But
Flag Hill Distillery is the first of its kind in the
state, crafting premium spirits by hand, in the same
tradition as their winery. Reinhold confirmed his
commitment to being the first: "Our research shows
that micro-distilling is in its infancy as an
industry. I want to be on the edge of this new
industry that 20 years from now will resemble
the success of the microbreweries."
General John Stark Vodka is available in two sizes,
750 ml and 50 ml, and will be available at the New
Hampshire State Liquor Stores this month.
Contact: Carol Walker Aten
EQUIPMENT FOR SALE ...
Used cognac alambic pot still. Pot,
condenser, pre-heater, burner, etc. Capacity 650
gallons, very good
$40,000. Call 707-485-0670.
110-gallon Moonshine still.
Manufactured 1932 Columbia Copper Smiths, Patterson,
NJ, bonded by IRS until 1943, was Baldwin Dew
Distillery, makers of fine apple brandy. Equipment
includes 815-gallon pot still, "thumper," condenser,
1020- and 1035-gallon tanks and "plumbing."
Excellent cond. $75,000. Call Tom: 973-729-7484.
30-foot-tall column rectifier. Check out photograph
and e-mail blll@distilling for more infromation.
Below is an e-mail from the Institute for Justice.
We need to support the proposed change in
out-of-state shipping regulations. If the current
regulations are changed, it would be a step forward
for small distillers, as we
also want out-of-state rights to ship alcohol.
Bill Owens, American Distilling Institute
"I hope the Supreme Court will restore my
constitutional right to earn an honest livelihood.
I hope the Court plays its important part as spelled
out in our Constitution to stop this legislative
abuse of power on behalf of the liquor cartels'
A 2003 study by the Federal Trade Commission found
that state bans on interstate direct shipping
constitute "the single largest regulatory barrier to
expanded e-commerce in wine." States and liquor
distributors have largely retreated from attempting
any serious policy justification for the
discriminatory bans. Instead they simply invoke the
language of the 21st Amendment. Twenty-six states
currently allow direct interstate shipping. The FTC
report found that states are able to satisfy their
legitimate regulatory concerns without resorting to
Common Sense Regulation
The principal people calling for a continuation of
the liquor cartels are the liquor distributors
themselves. The wholesalers assert two
justifications for prohibitions of direct sales:
loss of state tax revenue and sales to minors.
With regard to sales over the Internet, Congress has
enacted a moratorium on taxes of products shipped
across state lines. Obviously, wineries will comply
with whatever valid tax laws are in effect. But the
fact that at the present time states cannot legally
tax products shipped across state lines, unless
there is a corporate presence in that state, cannot
justify prohibiting wineries from gaining access to
consumers in that state. Should states be permitted
to ban interstate book sales because they cannot tax
Amazon sales under federal law?
Likewise, concerns about underage purchases cannot
sustain discriminatory trade barriers.
Steve Simpson, a senior attorney with the Institute
for Justice, said, "Children simply do not order
expensive wines using their parents' credit cards
and then sit around for days waiting for them to be
delivered to their parents' doorstep. Just as
minors would be carded at a liquor store if they
tried to purchase wine, they would be carded at
their doorstep if they tried to purchase wine on the
Net. And, if wineries break state laws, they can
have their federal license revoked. The wineries
have every incentive to obey the law, collect taxes,
and keep minors from getting a hold of their
The relevant numbers produced by the State of New
York in defense of its ban on direct shipments are
16,000 and zero. The first is the number of
reported complaints of underage access to alcohol
through heavily regulated retail stores over a
five-year period. The second is the number of
complaints of underage access through direct
shipping outside the sting context over that same
period. In fact, in New York, there are no laws
requiring adult signatures or particular delivery
requirements for in-state shipments. The wineries
themselves instituted these practices in order to
ensure that minors did not gain access to wine.
Bolick said, "It is plain that the real motivation
behind the prohibition laws is not temperance, but
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Swedenburg
reasoned that the New York ban is not discriminatory,
because an out-of-state winery can become a New York
winery by opening a warehouse and a separate office
in New York and can then engage in direct shipping. But
Bolick warned, "Were the Supreme Court to uphold
that rule, the states would be free to erect
protectionist trade barriers against a wide variety
of goods and services offered over the Internet,
from automobiles to contact lenses to insurance.
The vast promise of e-commerce would be
In the context of small wineries like Mrs.
Swedenburg's, the rule is equivalent to a ban.
Bolick said, "If a customer calls Swedenburg Winery,
Juanita Swedenburg answers the phone. A visitor
will find her harvesting grapes, bottling wine, and
hosting the tasting room. The notion that she could
open a wholesaling operation in New York or in 49
additional states if the rule is upheld is
To see related press information:
Download IJ's New York Petition for a Writ of
Certiorari (PDF format)
Download Wine Map: States Restricting Interstate
Shipment of Wine to Consumers (PDF format)
[NOTE: To arrange interviews on this subject,
journalists may call John Kramer, the Institute for
Justice's Vice President for Communications, at
202-955-1300, or evenings/weekends at
||Join the American Distilling Institute
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