Craft distillery steams along in Berkshire County | News
GREAT BARRINGTON - For five years now, Chris Weld has been rolling barrels, opening valves, evaluating product and doing all the other tasks involved with running a craft distillery here in the Berkshires.
He draws a parallel with the craft breweries that developed over the past several decades.
"The craft distilling movement is gaining speed," Weld said. "When we started 5 years ago there were about 30 or 40 of us. Now there are a few hundred registered."
It's now a three person operation. Tiny in comparison to a conventional distillery.
Weld and employees Courtney Ivey and John Height believe their small batch method of producing rum, gin, vodka and whisky creates a tastier liquor.
They've got the awards to prove it.
"The Greylock just got voted number one craft gin in the country in a New York Times review last week," Weld said.
Berkshire Mountain Distillery is a private company that doesn't release profit and loss information.
Weld indicates they're certainly not getting rich bottling their product, which is available extensively in this area and travels to 19 states, including California.
But after 20 years as a physicians assistant, working extensively in emergency medicine, this change in careers is one that Weld enjoys.
"I was ready for a change. We live on this wonderful farm that has a historic spring, a great spring source world renowned at the time and we have a bunch of apple trees. One day I thought geez, what are we going to do with a few hundred trees worth of fruit and my first reaction was make some brandy out of it."