Simple Pleasures Are What We Need
By Noel Raskin, M.D.
Noel Raskin, M.D.
There’s so much gloom and doom in America these days that I was pleased to stumble across some inspiring indications that we’re still the land of opportunity for the optimistic and adventurous, and that some simple joys still exist.
Visiting in upstate New York, I came across Brian Lee, a health gym guy who wanted to start a rock climbing camp but couldn’t get the permits. He fell in with a pal, Ralph Erenzo, an electronics engineer and his wife Vicki Morgan and they got so fascinated with the old Tuthilltown Grist Mill in Gardiner in the Hudson Valley that they took it over.
What to do with the place? Well, for a couple hundred years it had produced flour from local grains, and before Prohibition more than 1,000 farm distillers produced alcohol from New York grains and fruits. That apparently inspired a rock climber and an engineer without background or experience to turn it into a distillery.
Thus was born Tuthilltown Spirits, distilling whiskeys which were the first legally distilled and aged grain spirits produced in New York since Prohibition. Two and a half years later, Tuthilltown Spirits produced their first batches of vodka from scraps they collected at a local apple slicing plant.
What is this? A couple of local yokels going into the whiskey business? Well, they persevered, grew to take on 14 employees and produced Hudson Valleys first bourbon, Hudson Baby Bourbon, distilled from 100 percent New York corn.