James River Distillery Header

Our Story

The James River Distillery is located in the heart of Richmond, Virginia. Our team of Dwight Chew, Matt Brophy, Kristi Croxton and Jonathan Staples are hard at work using world-class Vendome stills to make regionally focused, craft distilled spirits. Relying on over 20 years of alcohol production experience and the highest quality, organic ingredients, the James River Distillery's exciting and unique line up of products is designed to capture the imagination of bartenders and make spirit lovers rejoice.

Our Products

Commonwealth Gin Label

Commonwealth Gin

Each bottle of Commonwealth Gin is handcrafted from start to finish using the finest ingredients. Our gin is a unique blend of 10 botanicals in a “New Western” style - one where juniper is still a star but shares the spotlight with the botanicals. The result is a gin with greater complexity and depth of flavor. For Commonwealth, our botanical lineup features two types of hops, Cascade and Amarillo, with hints of cantaloupe for a crisp finish.

Commonwealth Gin is perfect for mixed drinks and for the gin lover who prefers to drink their gin straight.

Continental Gin Label

Continental Gin

Our second of our handcrafted, artisanal gins, Continental Gin is done in the classic "London Dry" style. Continental Gin is a juniper-forward gin that will make the traditionalists rejoice. We also added our own unique flair with 9 different botanicals, including coriander and cardamom seed, as well as sarsaparilla and angelica root for depth of flavor.

Continental Gin is a great, modern replacement for the more mainstream gins who's pedigree originates on the other side of the Atlantic.

Øster Vit Label

Øster Vit

A truly Virginian take on an Aquavit, the traditional Scandinavian spirit (meaning “water of life”). We start by crafting a triple distilled spirit before combining the Old World-style flavor of Aquavit with some New World flair: Using several pounds of oyster shells, we steep the distillate for 48 hours along with caraway, fennel and orange peel, before doing one final distillation.

With Øster Vit we continue our commitment to using local products, procuring the oyster shells from Rappahannock River Oysters, an award-winning leader in the effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay through aquaculture and sustainable seafood.

Best enjoyed straight or in cocktails that call for vodka or gin, we hope you enjoy this truly novel spirit.

Gwar Vodka Label

Arctic Snow GWAR Vodka

In an intergalactic collaboration of epic proportions, the James River Distillery crew teamed up with the twisted minds of GWAR to create the beast that is Arctic Snow GWAR Vodka.

Arctic Snow is a traditional 80 proof potato vodka. It has been distilled four times with the end result being a deliciously smooth vodka with a hint of potato character.

Enjoy Arctic Snow over ice or however you prefer it - it’s a perfect drink for the “Scumdogs of the Universe”, Bohabs and civilians alike!

Jackson & James Rum Label

Jackson & James Rum

Jackson & James is a collaborative effort between James River Distillery and some of the talented bartenders in the Jackson Ward district of our home in Richmond, Virginia. In particular, John Maher of The Rogue Gentlemen and James Kohler of Saison lent their knowledge and expertise to this cool project that brings the bartender into the distillery.

The historic district of Jackson Ward is symbolized in the tribute to wrought iron captured on our label. Jackson Ward is second only to New Orleans in its usage of this material and it is a fitting homage to our home.

Jackson & James Copper Pot Rum is made from the finest unrefined sugar and is handcrafted from the fermenter to the finish in a copper pot at our Richmond distillery. Even at 94 Proof, the soft caramel and toffee notes of Jackson & James ensures this rum will make a smooth and interesting addition to any collection of spirits.

James River Distillery Wave

Our Process

Every batch of our gin is handcrafted from mashing to bottling. After the mash of organic malted barley and Virginia corn finishes fermentation it is first distilled in a 500 gallon stainless steel Vendome pot still, followed by a second distillation in a 100 gallon copper Vendome spirit still. It is during the third and final distillation in a 20 foot rectification column that the alcohol vapor is passed through the "gin basket" that holds our blend of botanicals. Using this rare vapor infusion method to craft our gin allows for the capture of delicate aromas and flavors, creating a truly unique and exceptional spirit.

Corn and a small portion of organic malted barley are milled to crack the kernels into smaller pieces. This "grist" is then conveyed to the mash cooker where it is heated. This process gelatinizes the starch rich kernels. At this point enzymes present in the malted barley break the starch bonds converting them to the sugar that the yeast will ferment later.
The mash is cooled to room temperature and transferred to one of our 1,000 gallon fermentation vessels. Yeast is added and fermentation begins. A typical fermentation will take four to six days and will conclude with the yeast consuming all of the fermentable sugars present in the mash.
The mash is transferred to our 500 gallon Vendome pot still and undergoes its first distillation. Steam jackets on the still are carefully controlled to achieve a slow, gradual heating of the mash. The first distillation yields a spirit containing approximately 30-35% alcohol by volume (60-70 proof).
The second distillation takes place in our 100 gallon copper Vendome spirit still. To achieve a clean neutral spirit, only the "hearts" of the run are collected. The less desirable "heads" and "tails" are discarded. The purified spirit is now over 75% alcohol by volume (~150 proof).
The final distillation is conducted in our 20 foot rectification column. Here the spirit reaches its highest degree of purity before the vapor is exposed to the gin basket containing our select botanical recipe, thereby transforming the spirit into gin.
Prior to packaging the gin is "proofed" or brought to package strength using pure water. Finally, our gin is packaged, labeled and ready to be enjoyed straight up or in your favorite cocktail.
James River Distillery Wave

Our Location

We are located in the city of Richmond, the capital of Virginia. The James River flows directly through the city and much of Richmond's spirit revolves around the river. The amazing talent of Richmond in food, drink and the arts, not to mention the beauty of the river and it's parks, provide ever increasing recreational activities. Groups dedicated to preserving and taking care of all that Richmond has to offer have made our area better than ever.

Just as gin is experiencing a renaissance, so too is the city and the river. All three have a very rich history and we hope to help promote each as Richmond's premier distillery. We pay homage to this history and spirit in the names of our distillery and our flagship gin, Commonwealth.

Our distillery store is now open for sales, tastings and tours!

Monday through Friday between 12PM-5PM or
Saturday anytime from 1PM-4PM.

James River Distillery Wave

Contact Us

Need more information about the James River Distillery or how to get our products? Feel free to contact us at the distillery or check in with us on our social media pages.

James River Distillery
2700 Hardy Street
Richmond, Virginia 23220

Phone: 804-716-5172
Email: info [at] jrdistillery.com