80 years after Prohibition ended, the State of New Jersey passed a law that created craft distillery licenses, relaxing strict alcohol beverage controls. Just a year later, in 2014, the co-founder of Triumph Brewing Company in Princeton, Ray Disch, was ready for a new challenge and set his sights on his hometown of Hopewell, New Jersey. Located just northwest of Princeton in the Sourland Mountains, Sourland Mountain Spirits has become the “First Farm Distillery In New Jersey Since Prohibition”–with a trademark to boot.
Producing handcrafted small-batch spirits with fresh local ingredients, Sourland Mountain Spirits says, “The gin is in” and they have “a vodka worth sipping.” Water is drawn from an aquifer at the base of the Sourland Mountain Range and the surrounding farmland is the perfect source for sustainable ingredients. And they were recently recognized as the New Jersey Gin Distillery of the Year by the New York International Spirits Competition.
The Sourland Mountains have been home to farmers and bootleggers, among others, over the years and are surrounded by the largest contiguous forest in Central New Jersey. The Sourland Mountain Conservancy is also a cause close to the Distillery’s heart and they hope to attract more tourists and locals alike with fine spirits as well as a singular location on the same farmland alongside Brick Farm Tavern and Bar and Troon Brewing Company.
Look for rum and barrel-aged gin this fall plus applejack and bourbon later this year. Guided tours for up to 10 people are available on Saturdays and Sundays from 1-5 pm–schedule online or give Sourland Mountain Spirits a call to reserve. Tours include a chance to learn about distilling equipment and the distilling process plus a tasting at Brick Farm Tavern.