With drinks in hand, crowds gathered before noon Monday at the new American Crafted Spirits distillery in Windsor.
It's flagship product -- SILO Vodka -- symbolic of the building itself and the business's deep ties to the Green Mountains. Peter Jillson, the company's founder, is an 8th generation Vermonter. "Right now we are actually getting our grain from a mile down the road at the Great River Farm -- It's a rye. So if you taste the product today, it is rye-based product," Jillson said.
As the community celebrates the new beginning, the day represents the continued growth of the industrial park, now called Artisan's Park. Here Vermont businesses are on display. From the Sustainable Farmer to the Harpoon Brewery, one of region's most popular beers. And now SILO Vodka is added to the mix.
"There is a real interesting synergy evolving as they all begin to work with each other and figure out, whether it's jointly marketing events or how they can share resources. A real boost for this community," said Bob Flint with the Springfield Regional Development Corporation.
"A place that was just an empty field -- turn it into a job center and tourist magnet for Vermont. So it is just a great story about jobs, as well as spreading the word that Vermont has the best food, best spirits, best beer being produced anywhere in the world," said Gov. Peter Shumlin, who declined a sample, saying it was a bit too early in the day.
But on this day, as the company's president pours a drink for his contractor -- the man behind Geo Barns of White River Junction -- spirits are the talk of this party. An industry that's on the rise and one worth toasting. "There is probably on the order of 8 to 10 right now. And the craft distilling industry is still extremely small. There are about 400 craft distillers in the United States. It's akin to what the micro brews were 25 years ago," Jillson said.
SILO Vodka is only available right now at the distillery and Vermont State Liquor Stores, But the company says it will be shipping to New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, and Connecticut by the end of the year. The company also plans to expand into the gin and whiskey market in the near future.