Devils Backbone to hold grand opening for new distillery

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Print this page By Julie Rothey

Devils Backbone Brewery Co. in Nelson County is expanding into distilling. The grand opening of the Devils Backbone Distilling Co. will be held on Friday evening.

The roughly 35,000-square-foot distillery is next to the company’s Basecamp Brewpub & Meadows. The distillery offers a lounge serving Devils Backbone spirits and beer and a retail store.

Steve Crandall, co-founder of Devils Backbone Brewing Co. and part owner of the brewery and distillery, said in an interview that the brewing and distilling process is similar.

“Having the distillery allows my brewers to expand the canvas they’ve been working on,” he said.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the distillery begins at 5:30 p.m. with tours of the facility starting at 6 p.m. A mixology class Saturday at 3 p.m. also is part of the festivities.

The new facility opened to the public March 30th. Matt Casto is the manager of distilling operations, Brystal Sylvious is the mixologist and bar manager. Other staff will be pulled from the brewpub as needed.

The distillery’s first release, Mountain Cane Silver Rum, and Nelly’s Apple Brandy are available in the distillery’s shop. Crandall expects the company’s Virginia Pine Gin to go on sale within the next couple weeks.

The distillery plans to produce 5,000 cases of liquor per year. Plans are for the products to be available in stores in Virginia, D.C. and Maryland this summer. At that time, the distillery also plans to release a schnapps distilled from the brewery’s Danzig porter.

Devils Backbone Distilling Co. is an extension of Devils Backbone Brewing Co., co-founded in 2008 by Steve and Heidi Crandall. The High End, a business unit of Anheuser-Busch, bought the brewery in 2016. Crandall said supporting the distillery, which had been on hold since 2014, was part of that deal.

The distillery also will sell under The High End umbrella. The Crandall’s retain a minority holding in the brewery and distillery.

Crandall said the company is focusing on offering accommodations to encourage destination visits to Devils Backbone’s campus in Roseland. A campground on the property, including 50 RV hook-ups, is slated to open June 1. The company also plans to build cottages, a 30-room lodge and 250-person event space.

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