FAIRFIELD, NJ — Claremont Distilled Spirits of Fairfield, the largest craft distillery in New Jersey, recently hosted a casual outdoor gathering for the adult beverage industry to “Celebrate the Garden State.”
New Jersey-themed food, live music, games and cocktails made with Claremont Distilled spirits accompanied personal tours of the distillery so that guests could experience the ambiance and see why Claremont Vodka was rated a 93 out of a 100 by Wine Enthusiast. The rating, according to Founder & CEO Tim Koether, means that Claremont Vodka received a higher rating than Tito’s, Chopin, Ketel One and Grey Goose.
Claremont Distilled Spirits’ specialty “Jersey Devil Moonshine” has also been recognized as a superior product, being awarded a silver medal at the Denver International Spirits Competition. “Leeds Legend,” a specialty cocktail offered during the event on Aug. 21 that featured the Jersey Devil Moonshine, was among one of the favorites of the night.
“Our vodka is the only spirit ever produced in New Jersey to win a gold medal in the San Francisco World Spirits Competition and a month ago we got contacted by Wine Enthusiast that they gave us a 93 rating, which is higher than any major brand that you know,” said Koether. “There’s a reason we’re called the Garden State—we have everything we need to make a really good vodka in New Jersey.”
When he founded Claremont in 2014, Koether was convinced that a world-class spirit could be produced right here in New Jersey, despite common beliefs. Koether, a proud New Jerseyan, said every ingredient used in Claremont Spirits comes from the Garden State, including urban potatoes, blueberries and peaches.
“We can get pretty much everything we need to run this business within a 5-square-mile area,” said Koether, who was even getting his labels from California before he realized he could buy them right there in Fairfield. “Really the only ingredient we can’t get from New Jersey is barley for the corn whiskey and bourbon. But we’re really trying to stay local, eat local, shop local.”
Koether said that Fairfield has been extremely welcoming and that it and surrounding towns have made it extremely easy for the distillery to be part of the community. Claremont Vodka is currently sold at several local restaurants, including but not limited to Cloverleaf Tavern in Caldwell, Pig & Prince Restaurant and Gastro-Lounge in Montclair and Upstairs Restaurant and Bar in Montclair.
Claremont is currently distilling bourbon in traditional 53-gallon-barrels, pictured above, at the Fairfield location at 25 Commerce Rd., which is a feet that Koether and his staff are proud of.
Claremont Distilled Spirits is open seven days a week for tastes and tours and will never turn anyone away.