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Valley’s new ‘grain to glass’ distillery |

Valley’s new ‘grain to glass’ distillery

Last winter, two craft distilleries set up shop in the Lehigh Valley: County Seat Spirits in Allentown and The Social Still in Bethlehem.

This winter, distilling will debut in the Valley’s countryside.


Eight Oaks Craft Distillers, set to open Jan. 10 at 7189 Route 309 in Lynn Township (just north of Blose’s Market), will offer rum, vodka and applejack upon opening, according to co-founder Chad Butters. Gin and an unaged-rye whiskey will be introduced “probably in February” with an aged-rye whiskey planned for 2017, he added.

All of the grains used in the spirits’ production are grown within six miles of the facility; barley and rye are grown on-site and wheat is grown on Butters’ farm. In the spring, corn will be planted directly behind the building.

“We are very much a grain-to-glass distillery,” said Butters, who recently retired from the Army. “Being able to control everything from the seed to the bottle is very cool. You get a real sense of where your product is coming from, how the weather impacted your crops in a certain season and so forth.”

Construction workers broke ground on the 4,500-square-foot facility in June. About 3,500 square feet is devoted to production space with the remainder being used for a tasting room.

The grains are stored in a nearby barn before they are milled in an adjacent mill house and cooked in a 3,000-liter mash tun.

There are two 3,000-liter fermentation tanks, where the products ferment for about three to four days before being pumped into a pot still and other equipment, depending on what is being made.

Eight Oaks’ most unique product is its applejack, made with apples from Scholl Orchards in Kempton. It’s comparable to an apple brandy and its history runs deep among locals, Butters said.

“It’s definitely the area’s original spirit, dating back to the 1740s,” he added. “… When they [farmers] stored apple cider in wooden kegs outside, the top would freeze during the winter. As they removed this layer of ice, what was left underneath was more potent. This freezing distillation became known as jacking.”

The business is a family affair with Butters’ daughter, Carly, heading the marketing, social media and tasting room operations and Carly’s boyfriend, Logan Snyder, helping in the distillery.

The tasting room, which can be reserved for private events, will house high-top tables, a television (showing clips of the distilling process) and merchandise such as flasks, glasses, hats and bottles.

All of the alcohol will be sold in 750 mL bottles, $25 to $28, except for the 375 mL applejack bottles, which will be $20.

Walnut bars face an interior wall, which has windows showing the distillery’s massive copper and stainless steel columns. Guests will be able to watch the workers in action while enjoying a classic or signature cocktail.

“On the flip side, I’ll be able to turn around and get an unfiltered opinion about the drinks,” Butters said.

Customers will be able to participate in one-hour tours on the weekends, which will include samplings, a cocktail and detailed explanation of the distilling process, for $20. If you just want a tasting, it will be $5 and that goes toward the purchase of a bottle.

You will be able to order bottles online and have them shipped to your house, as long as you live in the state, Butters said. You’ll also be able to find the products behind the bars of many local restaurants and on state liquor store shelves within a few months.

Tasting room hours will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Info: 484-387-5287 or eightoaksdistillers.com.

In less than a year, the Lehigh Valley’s first MOD Pizza in the Airport Pointe shopping center on Airport Road in Hanover Township, Lehigh County, has proved very popular. I know because I enjoy the pies quite frequently among crowds.

Now, the Seattle-based chain specializing in artisan-style “made-on-demand (MOD)” pizzas has signed a lease for a 2,470-square-foot space at The Shops at Madison Farms on Freemansburg Avenue in Bethlehem Township, according to The KRE Group and The Silverman Group, the complex’s developers.

The new eatery, scheduled to open in February, will include roll-up doors that give the restaurant an open-air feel.

Founded in 2008, the company allows customers to create their pizzas and salads using any combination of 30 featured toppings, including arugula, Italian sausage and sun-dried tomatoes. Also available are classic pizza options, hand-spun milkshakes, homemade iced teas and other beverages.

Pizzas, cooked in an 800-degree oven in less than three minutes, are the same price regardless of the number of toppings. Info: modpizza.com.

Also at Madison Farms, Verizon Wireless opened Dec. 10, making it the eighth business to open there. Businesses that are coming soon to the complex include Chocolate Works, Pure Barre and Supercuts.

As my colleague Jen Sheehan reported Wednesday, the owners of Bolete, Salisbury Township’s award-winning, fine-dining farm-to-table restaurant, will open an Asian noodle bar inside the planned Easton Public Market.

Mister Lee’s Noodles” will be a farm-to-table noodle bar, featuring seasonally sourced and inspired noodle soups. It will be fast and casual with counter seating for about 20.

Lee Chizmar, Bolete’s executive chef, and his wife, Erin Shea, Bolete’s general manager, are both passionate about ramen and recognized the lack of restaurants in the Valley specializing in the Japanese noodle soup dish.

The Easton Public Market, at the site of the former Weller Center at 325 Northampton St., is slated to open in late February with about 16 vendors.

Among the other vendors that will offer locally produced products are Dundore Heister, a whole-animal butcher from Wyomissing, Berks County; The Taza Stop, a fresh Egyptian cuisine destination from the owners of The Taza Truck; Tolino Vineyards of Washington Township, Northampton County; Debbie’s Pie in the Sky of Bethlehem; Full of Crepe of Bethlehem; Third Ferry Fish Market of Easton; Apple Ridge Farm of Saylorsburg, Monroe County and Shawnee Craft Brewing Co. of Shawnee on the Delaware, Monroe County; Fieldstone Coffee Roasters of Clinton, N.J.; More than Q of Stockton, N.J.; and Chocodiem, a chocolatier from Clinton, N.J.

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