County Seat Spirits, the new distillery opening in the Allentown Economic Development Corporation’s Bridgeworks Enterprise Center (along with fellow booze makers Hijinx Brewing and Colony Meadery) has given us a sneak peak at their initial line-up of products and an update on how close they are to opening.
The distillery recently received their federal and state approvals and are now fully licensed. They’re currently working to get their still installed and are looking to open to the public in January or February of next year. In the meantime, they’ve been busy working on naming and branding their initial line of liquors.
County Seat is owned and operated by locals Anthony Brichta and John Rowe. Rowe, who will be the primary distiller, is a retired air traffic controller who spent the past two decades at LVIA. County Seat’s name alludes to their location in Allentown, the ‘county seat’ of Lehigh County. Their goal, Brichta says, “is to help bring back what it means to be a county seat – a place where people make local products that their community can enjoy and be proud of.”
Keeping with that ethos, County Seat is branding their products with Lehigh Valley-influenced names. Their bourbon, Hidden Copper, is named after Allentown’s famous hiding of the liberty bell in the Zion’s United Church of Christ during the Revolutionary War. Their Sand Island Rum, of course, is a tribute to Bethlehem’s Sand Island. Lock Keeper Gin will honor Easton, home to the National Canal Museum, with a theme that harkens back to the days when lock keepers oversaw the Easton Canal. Class 8, named after the Mack Trucks that were manufactured where County Seat is located, is a straight vodka.
The distillery is also planning a special release of “Ironmaster” whiskey, a cross-town celebration of Easton’s George Taylor, a colonial iron master and original signer of the Declaration of Independence, and the long heritage of the Bethlehem Steel. Their first products on the shelf will be their Sand Island White Rum and Class 8 Vodka, followed by Lock Keeper Gin. An aged version of Sand Island will follow in the springtime and their Hidden Cooper Bourbon will be released late in 2015.
For more information about the distillery check out and like their Facebook page.
Looking forward to tasting the Bourbon… I’ve heard good things about these guys already
This is awesome, so cool to have craft stuff coming from my home town. Cant wait!
Curious how they will release the bourbon in 2015. Have they already distilled and it’s in the aging process already? Bourbon has to age for, what, 2-3 years minimum, right? Wondering they contracted out for their first batch or bought someone else’s bourbon stock and are just doing the aging.
“Straight” bourbon has to age for a minimum of two (2) years but “bourbon” generally has no time requirement. We will make all of our own products ourselves. We have no intention of buying someone else’s stock and selling it as our own. That is a model a lot of distilleries use but not something we are interested in.
To answer your question, we’ll be using smaller barrels at first to get a nice aged product out faster. A standard barrel is 53G but many craft distilleries use 5, 10, 15 or 30G barrels to shorten the aging time. A 53G barrel will typically take at least two years to be nicely aged but a 5G barrel can be done in as little as 6 months. More surface area = more interaction with the wood and fast aging. Make no mistake – you can’t fake time in a barrel but you can get a nice flavor in a smaller barrel, albeit a slightly different flavor.
Feel free to reach out if you have any other questions. We’d love to have you at a tour when we are open!
[…] is the third announced distillery for the Lehigh Valley, after County Seat Spirits and Social Still, and is one of five in planning for the area. You can check out their website […]