As our award-winning Beverage Director, Jon knows a thing or two about bar & beverage service. And when Beverage Journal came calling to talk to him about his specialized, innovative work in creating the custom-built, fully functioning micro-batch distillery housed within client Farmers Restaurant Group’s latest Washington, D.C. outpost Farmers & Distillers, Jon was happy to speak about Founding Spirits.
In keeping with the restaurant group’s commitment to farming, especially with their ongoing partnership with North Dakota Farmers Union, and their local community, Jon said, “The Farmers Union is a big part of what we do and who we are. I thought getting North Dakota wheat into our vodka would be a great way to extend the relationship further. We source out our wheat directly from [NDFU President] Mark Watne Farms, we’re using Virginia rye in the vodka, and we’re also using a barley that is part of the single malt barley that we use in our gin.”
Jon went on to speak to the day-to-day excitement, and challenge, of running a distillery as unique as Founding Spirits. Located on-site, near the bar area of Farmers & Distillers, guests get a real sense of this distinctive endeavor. Jon and his team even go so far as to give special up-close tours of the distillery. “Our tours are very small and intimate,” he says. “It’s also our first location with a private dining area that is located underneath the restaurant where the kitchen is. It’s called the General’s Parlor. We take our guests down a staircase, through the kitchen, and to the General’s Parlor where they get to sit down in a beautiful and sophisticated room, and we do a little tasting.”
Their latest spirit launch, which was timed perfectly to coincide with this year’s Kentucky Derby weekend, is American Whiskey. “It’s a little project that we’ve been working on for quite some time, even prior to opening our distillery. We’ve had some access to some bourbon whiskey that we will be bringing in and doing a blend in our distillery, filtering it and bottling it. Instead of being aged in new American oak barrels, it’s aged in used American oak barrels,” he says.
Founding Spirits is a unique project that Jon’s passionate about and thrilled to share. To read the full Beverage Journal article, click here.
*photo: just a few offerings, (l-r) Founding Farmers Rye Whisky, Founding Farmers Gin, Founding Spirits Amaro, and Founding Spirits Vodka, from Farmers Restaurant Group’s collection of The FF Spirit Project’s Proprietary Beverages and Founding Spirits as seen in the Beverage Journal.