By Anna Yallouris, Host Committee Member
There has been a recent surge of craft distilleries opening in D.C. as a result of new laws that were passed in 2015 allowing for distilleries to offer onsite sales, tastings, and to serve cocktails. This change has led to a number distilleries popping up around the city focusing on locally made spirits and craft cocktails. If you are interested in learning more about D.C.’s growing distillery culture during your stay, many of the distilleries below offer tours, tastings, and a selection of food and drink.
Ivy City and the New York Avenue corridor is one of the few remaining industrial areas in D.C. and has quickly become D.C.’s unofficial distillery district. This Northeast neighborhood, accessible via the NoMa-Gallaudet U and Rhode Island Ave metro stops, is home to several distilleries, breweries, and a number of dining options. Distilleries to visit include One Eight Distilling, Jos. A Magnus & Co, New Columbia Distillers, and Republic Restoratives.
One Eight Distilling: Opened in 2015, and is named after Article One, Section Eight of the Constitution which established the nation’s capital. Tours are offered Saturday, 1-4:30 pm, which include a behind-the-scenes tour of the production space and a sampling of their spirits. You can also visit their tasting room during weekend for cocktail service and additional samples.
Jos. A Magnus & Co: Originally established in 1892, this gin and bourbon distillery was re-established in D.C. in 2015. Enjoy a tour, tastings, and cocktails in their Murray Hill Club overlooking the production room. Hours of operation include Thursdays 4-10 pm, Fridays 4-midnight, Saturdays noon-midnight, and Sundays 12-7 pm.
New Columbia Distillers: Known for their Green Hat Gin, New Columbia Distillers was the first to bring craft distilling to D.C. in 2011. Stop by for free tours and tastings offered on Saturdays 1-4 pm.
Republic Restoratives: Launched in 2016, Republic Restoratives is one of the largest crowdfunded distilleries in the world and the first woman-owned distillery in D.C. history. One way the founders pay tribute to women in history is with their recent release of Rodham Rye, named after Hillary Rodham Clinton. They offer distillery tours, private tastings, and you can enjoy a drink at their bar, the Ivy Room. The bar is open Thursdays and Fridays 5-11 pm, Saturdays, 12-11 pm, and Sundays 12-5 pm. Distillery tours are Saturdays 1 pm, 3 pm 5 pm and Sundays 1 pm, 3 pm and by Monday-Friday by appointment only.
In addition to the Ivy City distillery scene, below are other locations of distilleries:
Founding Spirits at Farmers & Distillers: A new distillery and restaurant in Mt. Vernon Square from the founders of Founding Farmers and Farmers Fishers Bakers. Farmers and Distillers draws inspiration from George Washington, paying homage to the original kitchen at Mount Vernon. The restaurant has a micro-batch distillery and specializes in the production of small batch vodka and amaro. Distillery tours are offered Saturdays by reservation.
District Distilling Co. : Located off 14th Street and U Street, this is D.C.’s first combination distillery, kitchen, and bar. You can tour their distillery on the first floor and head upstairs for food and drink. Distillery tours and tastings are available from 3:30-7:30 pm, Friday-Sunday.
Don Ciccio & Figli: Artisanal Italian spirits located in NW D.C. near Takoma Park. Tours and complimentary tastings take place every Saturday 1-6 pm.
Cotton and Reed: D.C.s first rum distillery located near the Union Market district. Tours are conducted every Saturday at 1:00, 2:00 and 3:00.