A Season for SILO Whiskey

Whiskey season is upon us. Those who know me know that I’m a big fan of brown spirits – the warmth, the history, the cocktails. With that in mind, I thought it would be nice to introduce you to our whiskey trio and a few of their friends.

SILO WHISKEY

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A 100 proof whiskey made from equal parts corn and rye. With its high rye content and strong presence, this overproof whiskey shines in classic cocktails like the Sazerac, Manhattan, and Boulevardier. Aged in our used bourbon barrels, it is grain forward with a light graham cracker and honey sweetness.

 

SILO BOURBON

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SILO’s take on “America’s Native Spirit” offers a bourbon comprised of 70% corn and 30% rye. By law, bourbon has to be at least 51% corn, aged in first use white oak barrels, and must be placed in those barrels at no greater than 125 proof (62.5% ABV). It must be produced in the United States and, like all whiskeys, must be distilled below 160 proof and bottled above 80 proof. 

SILO Bourbon offers notes of rye, vanilla, plum and cherry. Currently aged in 10 gallon barrels from Black Swan Cooperage in Minnesota, we are excited to accounce a shift to 30 gallon barrels produced here in Vermont by Green Mountain Grain % Barrel.

 

SILO MAPLE

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The newest edition to our whiskey family, SILO Maple combines the warmth of a high rye whiskey with the sweetness of local maple syrup from Sugar Moon Hill Farm in Woodstock, VT. A welcome addition to the classic Manhattan and Old Fashioned, SILO Maple also shines amidst holiday classics such as mulled cider and eggnog. 

 

SILO AISLING

Aisling, pronounced ASH-LING, is a Gaelic word meaning “dream” or “vision”. A limited release, we aged a 100% wheat whiskey with local charred ash wood. The result, a delightfully light and accessible sipping whiskey with notes of toasted almond, marshmallow, and honey, appeals to entry level whiskey drinkers and connoisseurs alike. In particular, Aisling reminds me of an Irish style pot still whiskey.

Finally, I’d like you to meet SILO SINGLE MALT, coming soon to a distillery near you. Slated for a July 2018 release, our limited release Single Malt whiskey is distilled from barley grown and malted by Vermont’s own Peterson Quality Malts. Half malted barley and half Applewood-smoked malted barley, it is shaping up to be a really fun spirit reminiscent of lightly smoked Scotch.

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Whether you are just getting into whiskeys or have a collection to rival the best of them, I hope that you can find something at SILO to wet your whistle. Winter is coming, and few things are better than a nice, warming dram of your favorite dark spirit.

Cheers!
Chris, Head Distiller 

Pigging Out on SILO – Meet John, Becky, and Springmore Farm

So where does all that grain go when we’re done with it? Why, to pigs and poultry of course! John and Becky Lomachinsky run Springmore Farm, a diversified family farm located in Baltimore, VT. I first met John at an agricultural meet and greet hosted here at the distillery. Now, we see each other every week! The same kind and jovial demeanor I’ve come to know and respect is evident in everything at Springmore Farm – from the birth of piglets; to feeding time; to the harvest of produce, pork, and fowl.

Once our stripping run – the initial distillation used to remove alcohol from the wash and concentrate it into a more efficient distillate – is finished, we pump the remaining water and grain porridge into 275 gallon totes. John and Becky come by once a week and we all catch up while pumping grain into their carriers. The pigs now expect it, and hearing tales of piglets as they first taste our spent grain is certainly a highlight of my week.

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It’s fantastic to be able to talk shop with a farmer on a regular basis. I’ve learned an incredible amount about the local agricultural economy. John is well connected and is a passionate champion of small, diversified farming. Not only have he and Becky been great sounding boards for some R&D around the distillery, but they’ve also become great friends and neighbors. (The farm is but a couple minutes from our new house!)

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If you’re interested in Springmore Farm, they operate a Poultry CSA and offer gift boxes. They sell at the farm and at the Ludlow and Woodstock Farmers markets. For something really neat, come to the Farm-to-Barn-to-Bottle dinner at Burlington’s Hotel Vermont on Thursday, October 19. I’ll be there to talk shop, and the meal will feature a cocktail and food pairing that will showcase some of John and Becky’s work! 

Cheers!
Chris

Grand Point North Hits All The Right Notes

Grand Point North. What an incredible weekend.

This past weekend was a homecoming on many different levels. Along with Grace Potter’s return to her home state, the crowd was treated to 3/4 of a Phish reunion with headliner Trey Anastasio inviting long-time band members Mike Gordon and Paige McConnell on stage. Potter, Anastasio and Gordon even closed the pre-encore with Phish’s Water in the Sky. It was truly a wonderful way to pay tribute to Burlington and all of their loyal fans. With acts such as Dawes, Joseph and Vermont locals Barika, Smalltalker, Lake Superior, SnakeFoot, The Welterweight, Eastern Mountain Time, Henry Jamison and Troy Millette & Dylan Gombas, Burlington was a special place to be this past weekend.

Joseph performs during sunset on Sunday.

Joseph performs during sunset on Sunday.

We were especially excited to introduce Burlington to our Grand Point North-inspired cocktails including the “Ooh La La” and “Nothing But The Bourbon.” Thank you to those who stopped by to chat with us and try our cocktails. We were beyond grateful to be a part of this annual Vermont staple and meet so many enthusiastic supporters of our mission. Keeping it local and supporting our small, yet inventive state is what it’s all about.

Nothing But The Bourbon 

Nothing But The Bourbon 

Our Burlington brand ambassador Sarah. 

Our Burlington brand ambassador Sarah. 

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With summer-like weather, an all-star lineup, local food and smiling faces, this weekend was the perfect culmination to Summer. Oh and did we mention the sunset?

Late Summer sunsets are the best. 

Late Summer sunsets are the best. 

If you missed out on the cocktails this weekend, you’re in luck. Try making these in your own kitchen!

"Ooh La La"

  • SILO Vodka
  • Grapefruit Juice
  • Lillet Blanc
  • Mint

"Nothing But The Bourbon"

  • SILO Bourbon
  • Cold Hollow Mill Cider
  • Lemon
  • Angostura bitters

Cheers

- The SILO team

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Grain to Glass, Friend to Flask

September 7, 2017
Chris Maggiolo, Head Distiller

Grain to glass. Farm to table. Consumers are growing more and more familiar with the transparent supply chain championed by the craft scene, but what does that mean for us at SILO?

Enter Jeff Grembowicz of Grembowicz Farm in North Clarendon, VT. Jeff supplies one hundred percent of the non-GMO corn, rye, and wheat used to produce SILO spirits. It’s quite an undertaking! Every week or two, he hand-delivers five tons of grain pre-bagged in 50 or 56 pound increments. We unload the truck by hand, restacking it on pallets in our shipping/receiving room. No need to visit the gym on grain days!

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Jeff describes his farm the best:

“We are a small family farm located in North Clarendon, Vermont. The farm was established in 1946 as a dairy farm. The farm was operated as a dairy farm for three generations, until October 2005, when the dairy portion of the business was sold. It was then that we accelerated in the grain farming industry. As the fourth generation of the farm family, now cropping 600 acres, we have transitioned into a diversified grain farm of the northeast.”

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So why is our relationship with Grembowicz Farm special? For starters, finding a Vermont-grown non-GMO grain was of paramount importance to the SILO team. As with any food product, quality begins with raw ingredients. Committing to local ingredients means not only having a better understanding of a product and its source, but also reducing fuel consumption and supporting the local agricultural economy.

In a world increasingly inhabited by digital relationships, it’s also nice to develop a more personal connection with our farmer-vendor-friends. Being able to speak with Jeff at a moment’s notice is incredibly reassuring. Maybe I’ve had a bad week and fell behind. Maybe we’ve been cruising and are ahead of schedule. It only takes a phone call to adjust our schedule.

Jeff’s grain doesn’t hang around the distillery for long. Shortly after delivery, the first bags are wheeled to our mill room where they pass through a hammer mill and are ground to the consistency of grits. From there, it’s up the augur and into the mash tun. Thus begins the process of producing the SILO craft spirits we all know and love – handcrafted and hand-grown.

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Ode to Vermont

August 25, 2017
Jennifer Sensenich

I think we can all agree - we love Vermont.

From the snowiest of winters to those breezy Summer nights and crisp Falls, it feels good to call this place home. 

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At SILO we work to bottle up the beauty of our home state into your favorite spirit. Made from non-GMO corn grown by Grembowicz Farm in North Clarendon, Vermont, our vodka is twice distilled, bottled and labeled right in our barn in Windsor.

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After all the alcohol is removed, the spent grain is then sent off to these piggies at SpringMore Farm in Baltimore, VT about thirty minutes down the road. The pigs then till the garden to get it ready to plant the cucumbers for SILO Cucumber Vodka.  Full circle, Vermont style.

SpringMore Farm in Baltimore, Vermont 

SpringMore Farm in Baltimore, Vermont 

From start to finish, the whole process stays in the state and that’s the way we like it. 

From the farm, to our barn, to your bottle, and back again, we love our state and hope each sip of our vodka will remind you of home. No matter if you’re in your backyard or across the world, the smooth finish of honey, sweet corn and lemon is there to remind you of the Green Mountain state. What do you love most about this place we are lucky enough to call home?

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Meet the Distiller

August 4, 2017
Chris Maggiolo, Head Distiller

Hello friends of SILO! My name is Chris Maggiolo and I have the distinct pleasure of serving as our company’s head distiller. It is an amazing thing to be a part of such a distinct and energetic industry as the spirits industry and an even more amazing thing to participate in part of the craft movement here in Vermont.

That said, I haven’t always been a Vermonter…

I grew up in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, amidst the same mountain range which SILO calls home. I attended the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia where I studied Historical Archaeology and Environmental Policy. My mentor, archaeologist Fred Smith, quite literally wrote the book on the history of Caribbean Rum, and that’s where my interest in spirits began. I spent the summers of 2008 and 2009 in Barbados, first doing fieldwork on sugar cane plantations, and then studying the local food and beverage scene.

After spending a couple of years working for the Williamsburg Winery I moved to Boston in 2011 to pursue a Masters of Gastronomy from Boston University. Concentrating on the craft beer and spirits movements, I spent the next four years researching the history and culture of alcohol production, consumption, and distribution. Concurrent with my studies, I helped build wholesaler and retailer relationships for Beverage Media Group and managed a local homebrewing store, and with whatever free time I could muster, I volunteered with local breweries and distilleries. I held a regular internship with GrandTen Distilling in South Boston* which was the capstone of these experiences and truly helped prepare me for the work I do today. (*An amazing outfit if you’ve not yet visited!)

In June of 2015, I accepted the position here at SILO and moved to the Upper Valley. My philosophies and those of SILO are closely intertwined. We commit to furthering the local and regional agricultural economies through the act of distillation. We seek to educate consumers about spirits and their production and consumption. A well-crafted beverage may be a beautiful addition to a meal or gathering and we truly hope that you’ll join us at the distillery to experience just that.

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Chris giving a tour of the distillery.

Life certainly hasn’t been the same since moving to Vermont and joining the team. I’m engaged to be married, I’m closing on a house this very afternoon, and I’m loving every minute of it. Thanks for joining me on the ride.

Your friendly neighborhood distiller,

Chris

Summer at SILO

July 20, 2017
Jennifer Sensenich

This Summer SILO is teaming up with The Skinny Pancake to deliver even more local love to the Upper Valley. 

With the sun shining, the Bloody Mary bar stocked, Woodstock native Andrew Prior on the guitar and homemade Kimchi crepes on the menu; Skinny Sunday hit all of the senses last Sunday. 

From the homemade "Kim-cheese" to the classic Lumberjack - Skinny Pancake strives to provide local food to communities within the Upper Valley and beyond. As a major proponent of supporting local farmers and using quality ingredients ourselves; we were thrilled to have them. 

Wondering how you can make your very own SILO signature Bloody? Learn how from a SILO bartender. 

Now that you are a pro at making a top notch Bloody Mary, test your skills with us this Sunday, July 23rd, as we welcome Strangled Darlings to our patio for an afternoon of… what else, but: Music and Marys.

Pups welcome on the patio! Just look at that happy face. 

Want to have your own private event here? Find out how!

Stay tuned for the next Skinny Sunday! 

Independence Day

July 4, 2017
Chris Maggiolo, Head Distiller

Welcome to our inaugural blog post! As I’m writing this on July 4th, our nation’s Independence Day, it seems fitting to explore a brief overview of the history of distilling as it pertains to America. Enjoy!

“As American as apple pie” is a phrase known to most of us, and while pie certainly reflects America’s agricultural past, distilling (and perhaps to a greater degree, whiskey) also has a rich and stirring history. Whiskey came to the American colonies with the first European settlers, namely Scottish and Irish immigrants, and became quickly embedded in the day-to-day lives of the colonists. During the Revolutionary War, whiskey and rum were among the most valuable commodities and were frequently used as currency. While rum was undoubtedly popular, the war contributed heavily to its decline and the rise of domestically produced whiskey. Most whiskey at this time was made from rye, though corn whiskey would develop in a region of Virginia known as “Kentucky”.

Fun Fact: In the early 1800s, Allegheny County, PA was producing a half barrel of whiskey (typically rye whiskey) for every man, woman, and child living in America.

So prolific was this spirited commerce that many tariffs and taxes were levied against the production of distilled and fermented beverages. In 1791, the “Whiskey Tax” was established as an excise tax applied to distilled spirits. This led to widespread rural unrest and eventually culminated in the aptly named “Whiskey Rebellion”. Farmers who had been distilling their surplus grain protested against the new tax and some even raised up arms against the tax collectors. President George Washington retaliated with force and eventually pardoned those “whiskey boys” who were caught.

Whiskey consumption continued to soar, peaking in 1830 with an annual rate of seven gallons per person older than fifteen. Consumption then plummeted with the advent of the Temperance Movement. 1845 saw an average per capita consumption of 1.8 gallons. With the Civil War, spirits again became a valuable economic good.

The “Noble Experiment” of Prohibition arrived with the Eighteenth Amendment in 1920 and banned the production, sale, and use of alcohol in the United States. One could, however, get a prescription of medical whiskey from a doctor.  Prohibition was repealed in 1933 after it failed to curb alcohol consumption, instead contributing to a rise in organized crime and binge drinking.

Did You Know? In 1964, congress declared bourbon whiskey to be the nation’s official distilled spirit.

The American Craft Spirits Association defines a craft distillery as an independently licensed distiller producing fewer than 750,000 proof gallons (a gallon of alcohol at 100 proof) annually. Founded in 1982, St. George Spirits in Alameda, CA is widely considered to be the first craft distillery in the United States. As of August 2016, there are as many as 1300 craft distilleries in operation nation-wide. With the success of the craft beer industry paving the way, craft distilling is witnessing unprecedented growth.

While “As American as bourbon whiskey” doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as its Apple Pie cousin, it can’t be denied that our nation’s past is tied inextricably to that of distilling. Fireworks, barbecues, and a cold beer may still be the hallmark of Independence Day, but a nice red, white, and blue cocktail or a dram of whiskey have their patriotic nods, too. No matter which way you roll, stay classy and stay proud.

And Happy Independence Day.