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James River Distillery makes first delivery to Virginia ABC

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James River Distillery is officially in business.

The North Richmond distillery delivered 120 cases of Commonwealth Gin three blocks down the road to the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control on Monday. That’s 1,440 bottles of gin, each containing 750 milliliters of spirits.

The company is run by Kristi Croxton, Jonathan Staples and Matt Brophy. Staples, who was born and reared in Richmond, said he believes this is the first gin distilled in Richmond — at least legally — since before Prohibition.

Croxton said the gin will be available at more than 100 ABC stores around the state, including several in the Richmond area, by the end of this week or early the following week, with a retail price of $33.90 per bottle.

“Gin is seeing a big resurgence,” Croxton said. “The classic cocktail is back.”

Staples said the top-selling gins in the United States are British.

“There’s no reason that needs to be so; there’s no reason the British should dominate,” he said. “We want to give people an option to drink American.”

Dwight Chew, the head distiller, has been working since November to get the equipment and first batch ready. He said it takes about two weeks to make each run of gin.

Chew said the distillery makes its gin from corn grown near Tappahannock. The corn is not genetically modified and is organically grown, he said.

Staples purchased the building and equipment — which previously was owned by Paul McCann and operated as Cirrus Distillery — at a 2013 bankruptcy auction. The Frederick, Md., native grew up in Richmond and drove past the auction on a whim.

He paid $375,000 for the building at 2700 Hardy St. and the distilling equipment inside. The distillery is in the same neighborhood as Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, which has drawn beer aficionados to the industrial neighborhood since opening in 2011.

(804) 649-6874

For more business news visit the Times-Dispatch business section

Jacob Geiger is online business editor of the Richmond Times-Dispatch. He can be reached by e-mail at, by phone at 804-649-6874 or on Twitter at @TDBusinessDaily.


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