Brewing local collaborations: Berkshire Mountain Distillers’ mixes unique experiences
Berkshire Mountain Distillers is a distillery located in Sheffield, MA. Below, the team shares some details on their business and the importance of supporting local.
Describe your business:
Berkshire Mountain Distillers (BMD) is an authentic, regionally focused maker of small-batch, award-winning craft spirits. A founding member of the craft distiller movement celebrating 15 years in business, Berkshire Mountain Distillers supports local agriculture and uses local ingredients in many handcrafted spirits.
What makes your business unique?
The hometown team of Berkshire Mountain Distillers has a great passion for the art and science of beverage-making, as well as supporting local businesses and welcoming visitors. As a result, the philosophy of using only the highest-quality ingredients to produce award-winning, innovative craft spirits – continues to garner much recognition.
As a James Beard Award Semifinalist for Outstanding Spirits Professional, Berkshire Mountain Distillers has received numerous accolades, including gold medal awards from the Beverage Testing Institute and San Francisco World Spirits Competition, as well as national praise from publications such as GQ, Details, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Cool Hunting, Wine Enthusiast, and Jim Murray’s Whiskey Bible.
In 2007, Chris Weld founded Berkshire Mountain Distillers on a simple farmstead on East Mountain, at the former site of Berkshire Sodium Springs, circa 1900. Water from the still-active springs is used in formulating their spirits, joining other locally sourced ingredients and self-cultivated botanicals from BMD greenhouses to produce one-of-a-kind Berkshire flavors.
A botanical bed in their greenhouse is even available to local bartenders and mixologists to harvest same-day ingredients for their cocktails.
What does your business look like?
The distillery’s production facility, tasting room, and retail store are open daily with tastings for visitors 21 and over. In addition to the distillery, Sheffield, in the southwest corner of Massachusetts on the border of NY and CT, offers noteworthy attractions, including a craft brewery, winery, and ukulele factory – well worth the trip!
The distillery grounds boast a newly constructed covered pavilion, shaded picnic tables, and a fire pit for guests to enjoy the Berkshire landscape and its ever-changing weather. This summer, in partnership with Berkshire Busk!, an organization harnessing artistic talent to create a vibrant downtown experience, the distillery will also host live music on Saturdays from 2 to 5 pm. Entertainment will be accompanied by craft cocktails from an outdoor bar featuring BMD’s Cultural Cocktails initiative.
Visitors are encouraged to stop by Berkshire Mountain Distillers’ tasting room and sample a full selection of award-winning artisanal spirits, including Greylock Gin, Ethereal Gins, Ragged Mountain Rum, Race Brook Rye, Ice Glen Vodka, Berkshire Bourbon, and New England Corn Whiskey – plus a few cask-finished bourbons not otherwise available in Massachusetts and their entire line of American whiskeys from the Craft Brewers Whiskey Project.
Most Berkshire Mountain Distillers products are available across multiple states – in thousands of bars and restaurants and from quality retail partners and BMD’s retail store. For more information, visit BerkshireMountainDistillers.com.
Why is it important to support businesses like yours?
Since Berkshire Mountain Distillers was established 15 years ago, they have supported community-based and non-profit organizations with annual sponsorships and in-kind donations. As part of the local tourism industry, they also continue to create opportunities and programs to lift the entire region’s profile.
This year to honor their 15th anniversary, Berkshire Mountain Distillers is partnering with 15 arts organizations in the region with their Cultural Cocktails campaign. BMD’s Cultural Cocktails program will further unite and support the arts by building a platform to feature the strong communal ties among the entertainment, culinary, and hospitality industries. Several dozen restaurants, bars, and retail shops will participate alongside world-class Berkshire cultural institutions.
Turning values into specific operating principles, one of the foundational efforts of Berkshire Mountain Distillers is sustainability and eco-positive production. These commitments include the following:
* BMD grows as many ingredients as possible on their farm using organic or IPM (integrated pest management) methods.
* BMD uses cogeneration, moving heat from the distillery into heating for the building and repurposes cooling water as irrigation for the greenhouses.
* BMD composts distillation byproducts and uses this material in their agricultural program.
* BMD repurposes cardboard into garden bedding and inserts for their bottle cases.
Do you want to say anything to your customers?
2022 will be remembered for two major programs: The Craft Brewers Whiskey Project and BMD’s Cultural Cocktails campaign.
The Craft Brewers Whiskey Project is the culmination of a six-year collaboration with a limited group of the country’s top craft brewers across the Northeast, six of which are in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Each resulting whiskey is the product of a single-sourced craft brew distilled into a unique Berkshire Mountain Distillers whiskey.
Massachusetts-based brewer-partners include Mass Bay Brewing Co., Spencer Brewery, Big Elm Brewing, Samuel Adams, Berkshire Brewing Company, and Jack’s Abby Craft Lagers. Additional brewer-partners in the Northeast include Brewery Ommegang, Captain Lawrence Brewing Co., Smuttynose Brewing, Long Trail Brewing Co., Two Roads Brewing, Big Elm Brewing, and Chatham Brewing. Visit CraftBrewersWhiskeyProject.com for more info.
BMD’s Cultural Cocktails campaign will kick off Berkshire Mountain Distillers’ 15th-anniversary celebration in 2022. Engineered to unite and honor local partners at a time when many have suffered due to the pandemic, the campaign centers around 15 craft cocktail recipes created by local bartenders and inspired by and named in collaboration with Berkshire-based cultural institutions. They’ll bolster connectivity during the high season, May through October, while generating regional excitement across local bars, venues, restaurants, and cultural institutions. More information to come on BMD’s Cultural Cocktails website.
How has your business changed or adapted during the COVID-19 pandemic?
As soon as emergency federal law changes were made in 2020, allowing distilleries to produce hand sanitizer, BMD started production and distribution of sanitizer to help combat the spread of COVID-19.
Most of this hand sanitizer was donated to first responders – police, fire departments, ambulance squads – and to local food banks, pantries, and non-profit organizations. In addition, at the height of the pandemic, BMD was delivering approximately 1,000 bottles of sanitizer weekly to the community.
BMD is looking forward to an exciting season of visitors to their tasting room and retail store this season.