Saratoga County

Lawyer brothers open corn whiskey distillery

Two Saratoga Springs lawyers have opened a small corn whiskey distillery on Old Mill Road in Galway

Two Saratoga Springs lawyers have opened a small corn whiskey distillery on Old Mill Road in Galway and hope to be selling their product by Christmas.

Brothers Richard and David DeVall, whose DeVall & DeVall law firm is located on Franklin Street in Saratoga Springs, started reading about making whiskey six years ago.

“There are do-it-yourself books out there,” said Richard DeVall, president of Saratoga Distilleries. He said he read several of these books and decided “I can do this.”

He also discovered during his reading that making whiskey at home is against the law. People are allowed to make small amounts of beer and wine but can’t make hard liquors like whiskey, gin or brandy.

He said one of the biggest hurdles was getting all the permits and approvals necessary from various levels of state and federal government, including the state Liquor Authority, and the state Department of Agriculture and Markets.

“Whiskey is a food,” Richard DeVall said about what Agriculture and Markets told him.

He said he and his brother received “the final, final approval” for Saratoga Distilleries Inc. in April.

The distillery is located on eight acres in Galway owned by David DeVall, who is company vice president. So far the brothers have spent about $10,000 on the distillery project. Richard DeVall said being a lawyer helped reduce the business start-up and legal costs.

There are only 16 so-called “farm distilleries” in New York state, including Saratoga Distilleries Inc., which is the only one in Saratoga County.

On July 14 the company reached a milestone: The brothers filled their first barrel with corn whiskey.

“In six months, the whiskey will be sufficiently aged for marketing,” Richard DeVall said in a statement about the business.

“We were overjoyed to have successfully produced and put up our first barrel of corn whiskey,” he said.

The barrels are small, five-gallon oak “toasted” barrels that the brothers had made for the distillery. The little barrels have “proprietary scoring” of the inner faces of the barrel staves that impart oak flavor into the whiskey, Richard DeVall said.

“The use of small new oak barrels constructed to our proprietary requirements means that the aging process can be expedited, providing our customers with a superior product in just six months,” he said.

By the Christmas season, the DeValls hope to be retailing their whiskey at locations like Purdy’s Liquor Store in Saratoga Springs. They will also sell their product from a tasting room at the distillery itself.

“I’ve had tremendous interest [in the new product],” Richard DeVall said.

Saratoga Distilleries Inc. uses corn grown in Saratoga County. He describes the business as a “true artisan distillery in which every stage of production, from selection of the grain until the whiskey is in the glass, is crafted on a custom and select basis.”

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