Distillery gets a closeup on Discovery Channel show

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David Reavis of Three Brothers Distillery says the advice he got
helped the firm improve. Photo by Mark Rhodes

Even before the first episode of “Moonshiners: Whiskey Business” ran on The Discovery Channel on March 13, the head of a Virginia distillery was seeing dividends from his connection to the television show.

Word got around that David Reavis, founder of Three Brothers Distillery in Sussex County, was scheduled to appear in one of the show’s early episodes, creating buzz for his business.

“We have seen an expanded awareness of the distillery’s presence locally through the news and newspapers,” Reavis says. “And, we have already seen an increase in traffic at the distillery.”

“Moonshiners: Whiskey Business” is a spinoff from “Moonshiners,” an existing Discovery Channel series. The new show has more than one Virginia connection. It stars Tim Smith, an illegal-turned-legal moonshiner from Pittsylvania County who owns Climax Moonshine. Along with a team of other whiskey experts, Smith uses his expertise to help distilleries.

“The end result is they helped us improve our processes to make us more efficient and expand the tasting room into the original 1830s farmhouse adjacent to the distillery building,” says Reavis. “We tripled the size of our tasting room from 300 square feet to over 900 square feet now. That helped us solve some space issues.”

Three Brothers is one of the first four distilleries featured in the TV series. Another Virginia company in the group is Bondurant Brothers Distillery in Chase City. The other two distilleries are in North Carolina: Broad Branch Distillery in Winston-Salem and Old Nick Williams Co. Farm  & Distillery in Lewisville.

Three Brothers started production in March 2017 with three products — Kablam, a corn whiskey; George, a rye whiskey; and Silk Jacket (rebranded recently to Silver Dolphins), a gin.

“We produce around 500 gallons of alcohol a year,” says Reavis, a retired U.S. Navy submarine electronics technician.

He believes the growing craft distillery industry will mirror the success of the craft beer industry. “The better we are, the better we grow as a community of distilleries,” he says. “It’s important to me to grow the community I reside in.” 

Virginia ABC recorded $1 million in sales of Virginia spirits in fiscal year 2008. Those sales had grown to $11 million last year. 

ABC stores began selling Reavis’ Kablam and Silver Dolphins by special order in January 2018.

Three Brothers products now can be found at 35 Virginia ABC stores. These products also can be special ordered through Virginia ABC or purchased at Three Brothers. This spring, Reavis plans to release an initial production run of unaged and aged rum and will start barreling bourbon this summer.

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