Caledonia, Vermont might not strike anyone as an obvious place to look for a superb craft distillery. You certainly won’t find it on any of the old spirit trails like the ones that meander around some historic areas like Kentucky and Tennessee, for example. The history that the folks up in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont do have is the history of their land. Acres of pastureland, home to the livestock that produce the highly coveted cheeses and other dairy of the region, along with fields of flowers and other green land that blossoms with wonderful berries and other fruits, are hallmarks of this area.
But perhaps most important of all, and a force that sustains and nurtures all of them, are the bees. The pollen, nectar and propolis they extract and the honeys they produce form the center of this universe, with far-reaching effects. No one perhaps knows this better than Todd Hardie. Todd has been dedicated to the importance of bees since he received his first hive from his parents at age 12, through agricultural studies at Cornell, and commercial beekeeping overseeing one thousand colonies. For him, the mission has always been to figure out how best to support and present the value inherent in the land, animals, and people that he cares for and in turn care for us.
Creating Caledonia Spirits a few years ago seemed to be a step in the right direction, and we wholeheartedly agree. The vodka, gin, and elderberry cordial in their range are classic expressions but with an added craftsmanship that sets them apart from the spirits of any other producer. The vodka and gin are both made with the raw honey of the region and the elderberries are local. Historically the honey and elderberries have been used medicinally, and in the right context these spirits can have healing powers. All three have become staples on our shelves and at home, and new bottlings are on the way. Look out for our own single barrel of their phenomenal aged gin, as well as their first-ever bourbon, coming soon.
Photo Courtesy of Caledonia Spirits