Media & Events

By in Media & Events Comments Off on Mad River Distillers to Open Tasting Room in Burlington

Mad River Distillers to Open Tasting Room in Burlington


For decades, the airy corner storefront at 137 St. Paul Street in Burlington was home to the Hempest, the clothing retailer known for its spirited, eco-friendly duds. Shortly after the Boston-based boutique closed earlier this month, Mad River Distillers moved in. Now the craft distillery is hard at work transforming the space into a tasting room and retail shop.

If all goes well, the cofounders of the Warren distillery — John Egan, Maura Connolly and Brett Little — will be offering samples of their whiskeys, rums and Malvados apple brandy later this month — at least on a pop-up basis. The opening date remains fuzzy pending permits, says distillery president Mimi Buttenheim, who joined the company last spring after four years heading Vermont Spirits.

When it opens for regular hours in January, the Burlington tasting room will follow the company’s Waitsfield outlet (open on weekends) as its second retail location. Along with its own bottles, the shop will carry spirits from other Vermont distilleries, plus mixers, glassware, bar tools and gift packs, such as a three-flask holiday sampler of MRD rye, bourbon and maple rum.

Though Buttenheim emphasizes that the new space will not be a bar, the tasting room will have a bar and will host special cocktail nights, workshops and other boozy events in hopes of tapping into the Queen City’s increasing interest in craft food and spirits. “It’ll give us a chance to talk to people about how we make these cocktails and give people a better sense of what craft distilling is all about,” Buttenheim says.

Egan notes that the company decided early on to distill every spirit by hand and from scratch, using as many local and regional raw materials as possible. “We think that’s a point of differentiation for people that are interested in this movement,” he says.

What’s more, Egan says he’s excited to use the space as a tasting lab, where visitors will be able to offer feedback on the test batches, experiments and new products that head distiller Little is working on back at the distillery. “We’re really excited about Burlington,” Egan says. “We think it’s a great place to be.”

By in Media & Events Comments Off on Malvados Named a 2016 Good Food Award Finalist!

Malvados Named a 2016 Good Food Award Finalist!


We are thrilled to announce that our “Wicked Vermont Apple Brandy” was named a 2016 Good Food Award Finalist.

We met all of the responsible production criteria in addition to being a top scorer at the Blind Tasting among a pool of nearly 2,000 entries.

Winners will be announced January 2016. All the finalists in the spirits category may be found here.



By in Media & Events Comments Off on The Mad River Distillers Philosophy – A Distiller’s Journey

The Mad River Distillers Philosophy – A Distiller’s Journey

Fermented, Distilled and Bottled by Hand at Cold Spring Farm, Vermont.

There has been a lot written lately about that fact that many craft distillers are actually selling spirits that were distilled by somebody else.  With the interest in craft spirits and the number of people flocking to the industry, it’s easy to see how some folks can decide to bottle, or rectify, someone else’s spirits so they can get to market sooner. For the same reasons, some people choose to start off making un-aged spirits, like vodkas or gin, that also allow them to get to market.  Some people are completely transparent about doing this; others are less so.  In addition, it is hard to generalize about these approaches since some craft distillers show real talent when it comes to blending or aging and their products are quite good.  Given the focus and controversy, however, we felt it made sense to explain what we do, why we do it and what that means for the spirits we make.

When we started Mad River Distillers, we wanted to really learn the “craft” of distilling and also make differentiated products that were expressive of the grains and fruits from which we made them.  Initially, this led us to buy a German-made still which is tremendous at carrying flavors across the distillation process but which could not make vodka or gin if our lives depended on it.  We then spent a bunch of time canvasing Vermont and much of New England looking for farms, orchards and vineyards producing the best organic and non-GMO grains and fruits. Often, these ingredients were in limited supply and they were much more expensive than the bulk ingredients available through some of the larger agricultural conglomerates. Along the way, we met some great, hard-working people who bring our same craft sensibilities to their work.

Our passion required that we learn everything for ourselves.  Which meant that there were ups and downs along the way and often some false starts and wrong turns.  When we didn’t like the way our first corn whiskey tasted, we went back to school and learned about the chemistry of corn and starches and the practices of 19th century distillers.  In the end, this enabled us to produce a much smoother bourbon although our mashing process takes a lot longer and involves a number of extra steps.  When it came to fermentation, we bought some shiny closed top tanks that looked great but didn’t work so well with grain fermentations. We ended up having open top fermenters fabricated to our specs and the result has been a much better fermentation.  When the extreme heat this summer caused our fermentations to start running too hot we had to reconfigure our fermentation room to keep the ambient temperature within a range we liked better.

We have had similar experiences with barreling, aging and blending. We have started to age our products longer and are blending small batches to optimize the qualities we derive from different barrels. We are also experimenting with different barrels for finishing our spirits. And we love to try our hand at new spirits. Last year, we made some grappa on a lark and it was extraordinary. Unfortunately, there was only enough for us.  Today, we are working with a local craft brewer to make some smoked and hopped malt whiskies.  We have no idea how that will turn out but we are excited to try it.

In the end, there are a lot of different approaches to making craft spirits and we are not going to criticize anyone who is providing consumers with differentiated products that represent a break from the monolithic offerings of the big spirits conglomerates.  Our approach may not always produce the very best spirit in a class and there may be variation from batch to batch.  But our passion requires that we source the best raw ingredients, and do all of the mashing, fermenting, distilling and aging ourselves and that is our pledge to anyone who buys our products.

John Egan

August 2015

By in Media & Events Comments Off on MAD RIVER HIRES NEW PRESIDENT


Warren VT (May 6, 2015) – Mad River Distillers is pleased to announced that Mimi Buttenheim has joined the distillery as its President. Mimi brings a decade of experience in the premium wine and craft spirits industries. A seasoned professional, Mimi will oversee all distillery operations with an emphasis on marketing, branding and distribution. When she is not working, Mimi is a competitive equestrian and loves spending time with her Australian Cattle Dog, Jazz.

“Mad River Distillers is a great group of people making authentic craft spirits in the beautiful Mad River Valley of Vermont and I look forward to helping them expand their markets and introduce their spirits to consumers across the country,” Mimi Buttenheim stated.

“Since our inception, we have been focused on making great spirits. In the last year, we have won close to a dozen awards. With Mimi on board, we will now be able to extend that same level of passion and focus to all aspects of our business and we are tremendously excited,” said Brett Little, Founding Distiller.

“Everyone knows that the right chemistry is a critical part of distilling, but it’s just as important for our team here at Mad River. We all hit it off with Mimi right away and I am truly excited to work with her to build upon our initial success,” noted Al Hilton, General Manager.

Mad River Distillers was founded in Warren, Vermont in 2011 with a focus on making authentic and sustainable craft spirits from the finest locally sourced ingredients. Using Vermont spring water from their farm and local organic and non-GMO grains and fruits, Mad River Distillers distill bourbon, rye, rums and brandies. Their spirits have won numerous awards, including gold medals for their Maple Rum and Malvados apple brandy.

By in Media & Events Comments Off on Whiskey Rebellion – March 21st & 22nd

Whiskey Rebellion – March 21st & 22nd

Join us for the 2015 Whiskey Rebellion Boston hosted by eatBoston in Cambridge, MA this weekend -March 21st & 22nd! We will be sampling some of our Rye, Bourbon, and Maple Rum alongside a ton of other great distilleries.

If you are interested in buying tickets or finding out more, head here

We look forward to seeing you guys in Beantown!

By in Media & Events Comments Off on 40th Annual North American Telemark Festival at Mad River Glen

40th Annual North American Telemark Festival at Mad River Glen

We’re psyched to be a part of the 40th annual (and  last) North American Telemark Festival being held at Mad River Glen this weekend.  It’s sad to see such an incredible event leave the Mad River Valley – but we assure you that this festival will go out with a bang!

We will be sampling at the event today, March 7th from 2:00pm – 4:00pm, so swing on by our table and warm up with some of our finest whiskey, rum & apple brandy!  Cheers!

For more info about the event click here!


By in Media & Events Comments Off on Tasting at the Stowe Liquor Store – Feb 20th

Tasting at the Stowe Liquor Store – Feb 20th

We are pleased to announce that we will be doing a tasting at the Stowe Liquor Store on Friday, February 20th from 4:30 to 6:30PM!  We will be sampling our entire product line, including our recently released Apple Brandy – Malvados!  If you haven’t had a chance to check out our products, here is your next golden opportunity!

By in Media & Events Comments Off on WhiskyLive NYC – Feb. 25th & 26th

WhiskyLive NYC – Feb. 25th & 26th

We will be sampling some of our finest spirits at the WhiskyLive NYC event in New York, NY February 25th and 26th!  WhiskyLive is the international celebration of whisky, bringing all the whiskies of the world together under one roof.  What could possibly be better than that?

Aside from all of the whisky, there will be great food and a range of education and entertainment to make learning about whisky both fun and stimulating.

If you have any interest in attending WhiskyLive this year, additional information and tickets can be found here.

By in Media & Events Comments Off on American Craft Spirits Association Convention 2015

American Craft Spirits Association Convention 2015

We are very excited to be headed to the American Craft Spirits Association Convention & Trade show February 14-16th in Austin, TX. This event is the largest gathering of licensed craft spirits producers in the U.S. and we are proud to be one of them!

We’ve entered four of our products into the competition to see how our spirits stand up to some of the best craft distilleries in the country.

If you are interested in attending the event or finding out more, check out the ACSA website here.

By in Media & Events Comments Off on Events This Upcoming Weekend – Feb 6th & 7th

Events This Upcoming Weekend – Feb 6th & 7th

We have a very busy weekend coming up!  With 5 different locations to taste our product (tasting room included), this upcoming weekend is one of your best opportunities to try our booze and meet the distillers who make it.  Here is a list of the events & places that you will be able to find us:
  • Feb. 6 – Beverage Baron Liquor Store Tasting. 4-6pm. Barre, VT
  • Feb. 6 & 7 – Hotel Vermont Ice Bar. 6:30-9:30pm. Burlington, VT.  Tickets can be purchased here!
  • Feb. 7 – Taste of Vermont. 6:30-9pm. Stratton Mountain Restort Base Lodge. Stratton, VT.  Tickets and info can be found here!
  • Feb. 7 – Meet the Distillers. 6-10pm. Castlerock Pub at Sugarbush Resort. Warren, VT.  Additional info can be found here!

So do your best to get to one of these locations this weekend, we promise you won’t regret it!


By in Media & Events Comments Off on Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America Website Feature

Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America Website Feature

We are very excited to have a photo of some of our award winning spirits featured on the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America website! Take a look at their site for updates on events and competitions happening in the wine & spirits world.

By in Media & Events Comments Off on Spirits of the Americas results are in!

Spirits of the Americas results are in!

Mad River Distillers is pleased to announce that both our Maple Finished Rum and Corn Whisky have returned from the Spirits of the Americas competition donning Gold and Bronze Medals respectively.

Tasting Rums from both continents (a tough job for sure), judges had this to say of our Maple Rum…”Rich, tropical and confectionary nose, with a bourbon quality that shows good balance and great promise. American rum returns to greatness with this sipper, rich in flavor and substance”


Check out the full results with tasting notes here

By in Media & Events 2

Join our Distillery Tours

Mad River Distillers tours now available.

Come see us in action! Tour the distillery and see the process unfold first hand.  Tours are $15 per person, with the admission fee waived with the purchase of a bottle.  We are currently scheduling by prior appointment only, you can sign up below or give our Distillery a call!

(802) 496-6973

By in Media & Events Comments Off on Maple Rum and Corn Whisky medal in Las Vegas

Maple Rum and Corn Whisky medal in Las Vegas

Mad River Distillers just returned from warm and sunny Las Vegas for the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) convention and spirit competition.  A four day event at Caesar’s Palace, the WSWA hosts the largest gathering of wine and spirits industry reps in the country.

Check out all the happenings and results here

Read the write up from the Valley Reporter here

You must be 21 years old to visit Mad River Distillers.

Please verify your age to enter