2019 Fenwick St NE, Washington, DC 20002, USA
Let’s begin! What can we say about the female-owned, largest crowd-funded distillery in U.S. history? Well, for starters, it’s the female-owned, largest crowd-funded distillery in U.S. history. So there ya go. Childhood friends, Pia Carusone and Rachel Gardner left their political careers and started an Indiegogo campaign in order to raise money for their fledgling distillery. This fundraising effort allowed them to open their doors in May of 2016, on Kentucky Derby Day, which seems fitting. Call me crazy, but I bet mint juleps were on the menu that day. And it’s possible they used their signature rye whiskey in those juleps: the controversial Rodham Rye, which they say is a tribute to all the women whose shoulders they stood on to get where they are. Besides their rye, Republic Restoratives offers a small-batch bourbon, apple brandy and vodka variety. They also provide recipes along with step-by-step instructions on their website: republicrestoratives.com. So, if you’re a fan of muddling, then stock up on some bitters, grab a bottle or two of their signature spirits, and start tending bar! Well, your own bar. I’m thinking they won’t just let you start tending theirs. But they will allow you to sit and have a cocktail in their Ivy Room: airy and trendy with large garage doors that open all the way up on nice days.Tours are offered on Saturdays and Sundays on a first-come, first-served basis, and are limited to 25 guests. Check the calendar on the Republic Restoratives website under “visit us” before arriving, since tours can be canceled for private events. It pays to do a bit of research first before you and your closest 25 friends just decide to show up. You can arrange a private tour outside of their standard times, however. So if you’re interested in scheduling say, your next family reunion, which may be a good idea to drink heavily when interacting with family members (just saying). Just be sure and register beforehand on their website. Our second stop is a really fun one. But I need to warn you about something. You have to walk past a seafood warehouse to get to it and the smell is… how do I put it… a little bit fishy. Ok a lot fishy. But it is worth it! New Columbia Distillers/Green Hat Gin has free tastings and their gin is amazing. So when you are ready, plug your nose and head south on Fenwick St away from New York Ave and toward the fishy smell. Our destination is just past Gallaudet St on your right.
1832 Fenwick St NE, Washington, DC 20002, USA
You've arrived at New Columbia Distillers/Green Hat Gin. I know, the name is a mouthful. But since it’s a mouthful you came for, of liquor that is, then you’re definitely in the right place. The name of their signature, “Green Hat Gin” was derived from the story of D.C. resident George Cassiday, who became famous for wearing his signature green felt hat. Oh, and also for selling bootleg booze to members of the house and senate during prohibition. So there's that. He was eventually arrested in 1930, but allegedly never spent a night behind bars, possibly because of his friendships on Capital Hill (he eventually blew the whistle on all of his former congressional clients). We may even have him to thank for the repeal of prohibition! Way to go, George, if that's the case. You can read all about Mr. Cassiday on the distillery's website: greenhatgin.com. Also on their website you can learn about the Lowe family and their spouses who started the business, and were the first to bring craft distilling to the D.C. area. If it's gin you like than you're in luck – gin production is the mainstay here at New Columbia Distillers. From their original Green Hat, the stronger Navy Strength, or their seasonal varieties, there's a gin for every palette, whether mixed in a cocktail or enjoyed neat. If you're more of a whiskey drinker, New Columbia just released a limited supply of locally sourced rye. So get yours while you still can. Note that the distillery's hours are limited. They're open for tours and free tastings on Saturdays from 1-4pm. No reservations required. They also occasionally offer special events with extended hours. Check their website before heading over or sign up for email updates. Next, head back the way you came in and turn left on Gallaudet St. We are going to walk a few short blocks to get to our next distillery.