Orange County Distillery and Orange County Brewing Company at Brown Barn Farms
286 Maple Ave.
New Hampton, NY
The whiskey, vodka and gin crafted in small batches at the Orange County Distillery start with John Glebocki and the crew working the land his great-great grandparents turned into a farm in the last years of the 1800s.
Glebocki raised onions and other vegetables in the uncommonly fertile black dirt before dabbling in – and then converting entirely to – raising grains for spirits.
That’s where the excellence begins. At the New Hampton, N.Y., distillery run by Glebocki and partner Bryan Ensall, the liquor is extracted from the grains with devotion to craft and quality. You can sip the results of this farm-to-bottle process in the beautifully rustic and comfortable barn that gives Brown Barn Farms its name. (The upstairs is a vast, wooden-floored living room under the gambrel roof.)
“If you ever want to know exactly where a bottle of our vodka, whiskey or gin comes from, all you have to do is take a step out our front door and look at our fields,” Glebocki says.
He started the distillery about nine years ago. But he didn’t stop there. About this time last year, he added a brewery. Last March 18, the Orange County Brewery introduced a pilsner, a pale ale and an IPA. That began as a pandemic-era strategy, to add more take-away offerings in cans and bottles. But the brews are enhanced by the proximity to the spirits. Some of the brews are aged in bourbon barrels.
“The aging imparts some sweetness from the oak and bourbon-forward flavors in the stout,” Glebocki said.
The Brown Barn also serves hard ciders from local cideries and New York State wines.
There’s often something going on at the Brown Barn, like Trivia Thursday and live music on Saturdays. Step in and you may see, not far from the door, an urn warming cider from one of the local apple orchards. The autumn nectar is dispensed with a dollop of the distillery’s rye whiskey, a house favorite, for a simple, comforting concoction. Or you can order house cocktails from classic martinis and Manhattans to more elaborate recipes with names to match, such as “Not by the Hair of My Ginny Gin, Gin” and “A Barn Cat Named Pepper.”
Whichever way you enjoy the spirits, they are made with the same devotion to farm-bred excellence. As the distillery’s website says: “Quality ingredients, small batches, hands-on processes.”