After becoming one of the Hudson Valley’s first whiskey distilleries since prohibition, it seems that Tuthilltown Spirits – owners of Hudson Whiskey – is only getting bigger. Cofounder Ralph Erenzo took to the stage last week at White Plains’ Koi Creative Space as part of its Spirit of Business series to discuss the progression of his burgeoning company.
By lobbying in Albany to change distillery laws while expanding his company’s presence overseas and drawing rave reviews from drink critics, Erenzo has quickly grown Tuthilltown. “We started out in our first year, we made maybe 500 gallons [of spirits]. Last year we made 80,000,” Erenzo told 914INC. “We have been growing constantly and we have finally reached a point now where we don’t actually have to physically grow anymore. Now it is just the efficiency of the operation.”
The number of employees has risen alongside the number of bottles being produced. “Originally the company was just Brian [Lee] and me and then, shortly after, my son, Gable, came on board and really ran the distillery while I was on the road and lobbying up in Albany,” says Erenzo. “We now have 35 employees.”
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This success has also extended to the grounds of Tuthilltown in Gardiner, much of which had to be sold by Erenzo in the early years of his company. Originally occupying 36 acres, just a few years ago Tuthilltown’s footprint was a mere fraction of that.
“Slowly, we bought back all the property I sold… including the entire waterfront and a mill,” shares Erenzo. “We have a great chef who came up to us from Le Bernardin in New York and we have a shop now on the property near the riverfront. We have backstage tours of the distillery all day long Saturday and Sunday, where you see how the spirits are made and end up at a tasting.”
The Thursday event at KOI — which included a business presentation, Q&A, and tasting — was just one of several successful recent engagements at the White Plains co-working space. The space plays host to several events throughout the year, including meet-ups, fundraisers, and informative panels.