Well, after eight months on the road, we’re officially back East and comfortably settled down just outside Middlebury, Vermont, which will be our home base for the summer. Our last few weeks were quite busy--we made it back from Colorado to Vermont in less than two weeks, even while hitting up a number of distilleries and two national parks along the way.
After the ADI conference, where I had the pleasure of being a speaker, we spent some time visiting distilleries in Denver and Boulder. Then we took a rare weekend for ourselves to explore the still-pretty-wintry Rocky Mountain National Park. After a few days getting work done in Fort Collins, we started our journey back East: first in one long haul to Omaha, Nebraska, where we found a speakeasy, had lots of steak, and stopped by the single malt distillery Cut Spike; then to Iowa and Cedar Ridge, one of the prettiest distilleries we’ve seen. We headed further south in the Great Plains to Kansas City, where we visited distilleries on both the Kansas and Missouri sides of the border. Then it was onward into Appalachia: first, we cut through Kentucky (we’ll be back later, for longer!) and stopped by New Riff, one of the new wave of Kentucky distilleries, then into West Virginia (surprisingly beautiful!) for an extremely fun visit at Smooth Ambler, and lastly western Virginia, where we finally found spring. We spent a day in Charlottesville, stopped by and saw our friends at Virginia Distillery Co., then closed out our adventure with two days in Shenandoah National Park. After that, it was an easy half-day drive back to Albany for a few days, then to Vermont. What a whirlwind!
Now that we’re back, it’s full steam ahead on Lost Lantern, as we move into the really nitty-gritty details of the process: We’ve already sourced casks and developed our first blend (more on that relatively soon!), but now we get to actually put it together. We’re buying bottles, ordering labels, submitting COLA approvals, talking to distributors--all that fun stuff that will make Lost Lantern an actual whiskey, on an actual shelf, that you can actually buy. And we’re moving very fast! After months of working on the road with whatever spare hours we can get, having actual uninterrupted time allows us to be even more efficient.
Just yesterday, we finalized our release plan through 2020, including both our first blend and our first lineup of single casks, sourced from craft distilleries across the country. I’m incredibly excited to share the details, but the time isn’t quite ripe yet. Soon, though. Soon.
In the meantime, we’re actually still traveling a fair amount in the next few months. Next week we head to our old stomping grounds in Brooklyn for a wedding, and (of course) a bunch of meetings. Afterwards, we’re taking a short tour of the New England coast to visit some distilleries there, and then we’ll probably be heading back down South within a month or so. See? It’s like I said before: Even though our long journey is over, the fun is just beginning.
Total miles driven so far, as of April 18th: 23,000
States we've been in since last update: Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont (probably a record!)
States we’ve been in, cumulative: 32!!!! (New York, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, Oregon, Washington, Texas, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, California, Nevada, New Hampshire, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland)
States we've spent the night in since the last update: 9 (Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, New York, Vermont)
Most beautiful drive: Up to Estes Park, into Rocky Mountain National Park, and down from Estes Park to Fort Collins
Most beautiful single spot: Beaver Meadows in Rocky Mountain National Park (so many mountains, everywhere!)
Number of National Parks visited since last update: 2 (Rocky Mountain National Park and Shenandoah)
National Parks visited, cumulative: 20 (Badlands, Wind Cave, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, North Cascades, Mount Rainier, Olympic, Crater Lake, Redwood, Yosemite, Kings Canyon, Sequoia, Joshua Tree, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon, Saguaro, Carlsbad Caverns, Rocky Mountain, Shenandoah)
National Parks we most want to go back to: Yosemite, Sequoia, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Rocky Mountain
National Parks we’re saddest to have missed: Glacier, Death Valley, Arches
Most harrowing experience of the whole trip: Having about half an hour to flee Sequioa National Park when a snowstorm arrived 12 hours early, and we had a flight to catch, and we had no idea how to put our tire chains on, and the roads almost closed
Animals we saw: Mule deer, white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, hawks, and, back in Vermont, a robertcat
Top animal sightings of the whole trip: BUFFALO!!!! in South Dakota and Wyoming; Moose in Grand Teton; black and grizzly bears in Wyoming; a whale in Oregon; Bigfoot in Washington; elephant seals in California; bighorn sheep in Utah
Favorite places of the whole trip: Custer State Park in South Dakota; Yosemite and Sequoia in the Sierra Nevada; southern Utah
Number of distilleries visited so far (cumulative): 50! (actually probably slightly more)
State we spent the most time in this month: Colorado
State we spent the most time in overall: California
State we spent the least time in this month and overall: Maryland, which we drove through for 11 miles
Places we’re looking forward to visiting later this year: New England, Kentucky for more than a day, Tennessee, coastal California this summer--and generally everywhere we missed!
Miles to Wall Drug: 1,734