French Distillers & Alchemists

FDA Opens Doors

Posted by  //  February 26, 2017  //  Local Business

10 Walker Ave. Lisle, NY 13797

A new craft distillery has opened here in Central New York. French Distillers & Alchemists(FDA) is a New York State Farm Distillery located in the Village of Lisle at the head of the Finger Lakes Winery, Brewery and Distillery Trail. FDA are in a new facility they built to house still-house, rack house and tasting room. They are the first distillery in Broome County since prohibition (1920-1933).

FDA is the brain child of Phil French. One might say distilling is in his blood. He built the distillery at the site that a relative, Dr. Selphonius French, settled in the early 1800s. Going back further, another distant relation, John French, wrote the first book in english about distilling — “The Art of Distillation” published in 1651.

After teaming up with Larry Berger, they spent a couple of years in the process of planning, setting up the business, building, and obtaining federal and state licenses. Contrary to what some believe, it is illegal to distill spirits without a federal license. Production started in late January 2016 and the tasting room was opened in May last year.

FDA is an artisanal distillery dedicated to making hand-crafted whiskeys. Using all locally grown grains including corn, rye, wheat and malted barley the crew carries out the entire process of mashing, distilling, aging and bottling right here. They use a double-distilling technique for their spirits. In their small batch process the mash is, then fermented before being distilled to produce “low wines” which are then run through the still a second time. During the second distillation they make tight cuts separating the fore shots, heads, hearts and tails. The heads are then aged in oak barrels until ready to be bottled. Once in bottles the spirits are then available to sample and buy in the tasting room or in many area liquor stores.

The spirits currently available include Lilah’s Lighting and the Village Idiot. Lilah’s Lightning is a young whiskey made from a bourbon mash. The grain bill of corn, wheat, and malted barley and aging for a short period (over 2 days according to the label) yields a strong (100 proof) spirit that is surprisingly sweet with a smooth finish. The Village Idiot is a young whiskey made from a rye mash (rye and malted barley). This, too, is a wonder. It’s not as strong (90 proof) starting sweet and finishing with a gentle spiciness of the rye — all in all quite agreeable. Soon they will crack open their first fully aged barrels and release a wheat whiskey and their bourbon.

FDA is open everyday from 10 am till 5 pm. When you visit you can watch the process in action while enjoying their spirits. The Still-house and tasting room are at 10 Walker Ave. just 150’ off NY Route 79 in the Village of Lisle.

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