Distilling Spirits

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Green Hat Gin is the signature spirit of New Columbia Distillers, the district's first craft distillery in more than a century.

(WAMU Photo/Monica Arpino)

Distilling Spirits

A decade ago there were about a dozen craft distilleries in the U.S., now there are more than 250. We explore the growing phenomenon and talk to local makers.

Small-batch craft distilleries are popping up across the country and region. They make everything from gin to rye to vodka, often with a focus on local ingredients and unique flavors. We talk with three local makers about what goes into getting a distillery off the ground and onto shelves at bars and liquor stores.

Guests

Becky Harris

distiller and co-owner, Catoctin Creek Distilling Company

Christopher Cook

distiller and co-owner, Blackwater Distilling

Michael Lowe

distiller and co-owner, New Columbia Distillers.

Behind Washington's First Craft Distillery Since Prohibition

Part of a growing trend of craft distilleries, New Columbia Distillers was founded in Northeast Washington in 2011. Housed in a 3,500 square foot warehouse two miles from Union Station, it's where former attorney Michael Lowe and his son-in-law John Uselton produce D.C.'s first gin since Prohibition. From fermenting and distilling to labeling and bottling, the entire production cycle takes place inside the distillery. The distillery's signature spirit, Green Hat Gin, pays homage to D.C.'s most famous bootlegger, known to many as "the man in the green hat."

Video shot, edited and produced by Jared Angle

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The Kojo Nnamdi Show is produced by member-supported WAMU 88.5 in Washington DC.