Flying Buck Distillery opens; two others licensed

Flying Buck Distillery is now officially open in Augusta, West Virgnia, becoming the second legal distillery in Hampshire County. 

Calvin Riggleman (right) and Jim Gearing
Calvin Riggleman (right) and Jim Gearing attended the 2015 WVABCA trade show to promote their new farm distillery project, Flying Buck, which they hoped to have operational in early 2016.

Calvin Riggleman, proprietor, has been working on the project for some time and has to be pleased to finally get his products on the market. Brilliant Stream first ran into Calvin and his Flying Buck crew at the WVABCA liquor trade show in Charleston back in September 2015. Production began at Flying Buck in September 2016, and the first Flying Buck moonshine was sold at the distillery store on December 10.

The distillery is located on Riggleman’s Bigg Riggs Farm at Pleasantdale along U.S. Route 50 between Augusta and Capon Bridge. In addition to whisky, the farm also sells fresh produce in-season and jarred products year-round.

Flying Buck
Photo credit: Bigg Riggs Farm Facebook page

Initially, three products make up the Flying Buck line. There’s an unflavored, clear Moonshine, an Apple Pie Moonshine, and a Naughty Oak Moonshine. The regular Moonshine is $25 per 750 ml bottle of 80 proof whisky. All are produced primarily from corn grown on the family’s Bigg Riggs Farm. In the future, the distillery plans to make vodka, for use in cordials, from apples grown at the family orchard.

Flying Buck uses reflux still 

Flying Buck
The Reflux still. Photo: Bigg Riggs Farm Facebook page

Their first still is a 200 liter, electric heated, reflux still from Mile Hi Distilling in Colorado. The manufacturer describes a reflux still thusly:  A reflux still does multiple distillations in one single run, by having packing in the tower allowing vapor to condense and drop back down through the packing. This “reflux” of liquid helps clean the rising vapor and increase the % purity. The taller the packed column, and the more reflux liquid, the purer the product will be. The advantage of doing this is that it will result in a pure spirit. 

The distillery operates out of a small, renovated, 1960s milking barn on Bigg Riggs Farm.  A short dirt road leads from Route 50 up to the distillery. The distillery store is open Thursdays through Saturdays, 11:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M.

Flying Buck
Bigg Riggs Farm. Photo: Google Maps Street View

Riggleman also runs Froopers Gourmet Central, a Romney-based co-packing company. For more info on the distillery, see the  distillery’s Facebook page.

The Flying Squirrel Distillery, near  Purgitsville, was the first distillery in Hampshire County. It started up in 2015.

Another Hatfield joins distillers’ ranks

West Virginia already had two moonshine distilleries owned by descendants of the famous Hatfield & McCoy feuding families. Now, it has three.

Mark Hatfield, who bills himself as an “outspoken hillbilly,” this month produced his first batch of legal moonshine from his distillery called The Sweeter Side of the Feud Spirits. His operation is really a winery and distillery combined, operating from his farm in Roane County, just outside Spencer.

While we haven’t tasted his moonshine, we know Hatfield is quite a character and is dedicated to making wine and spirits in a traditional manner. Brilliant Stream first met the Mingo County native a couple years back at a Country Roads Wine Trail organization meeting hosted by the Jackson & Roane County Development Authorities.

Check out this Facebook video for a look at the man and his still.

 

Elkhorn Mountain Distillery receives license

Elkhorn Mountain Distillery received its state distillery license on January 5. It will be located near Moorefield, WV. Ryan Rohrbaugh is the founder and owner. We expect to hear more about his plans in the near future. As of our publication date, the distillery had not established a website or Facebook page.

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