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Finger Lakes Distilling NewsletterMarch 2011
In This Issue
Save the Date
Excise Tax Reduction
In case you missed it...
Cocktail Ideas
Quick Links


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Upcoming Tastings and Events

March 11 - May 22:
Maize - Mystery of an Ancient Grain, Museum of the Earth, Ithaca  

Monday, March 14:
A Taste of Pittsford,
Pittsford Rotary Fundraiser
Nazareth College
6:30-8:30 pm

Monday, March 28:
Whisk(e)y Monday
Tasting of McKenzie Whiskies
9 pm

Tuesday, March 29:
Choice Eats, The Village Voice's Annual Tasting Event
The 69th Armory, NYC
McKenzie Rye and Brooklyn Brine Whiskey Sour Pickles
6:30-9:30 pm

Wednesday, April 6:
Seminar - Prestige Wine & Spirits, Buffalo
7 pm

Friday, April 8:
ROC City Uncorked
Rochester Convention Center
6:30-10 pm

Saturday, April 23:
Acker Merrall & Condit
5-7:30 pm

Tuesday, April 26:
Seminar - Prime Wines, Buffalo
6:30 pm

Friday, April 29:
Hotel Clarence, Seneca Falls
5:30-7 pm

Saturday, May 7:
Kentucky Derby Party at Finger Lakes Distilling
5:30 pm

May 13-17:
Manhattan Cocktail Classic
FLD participating in multiple events at the premier cocktail event in NYC

Saturday, May 14:
Tasting,  Century Pittsford Wines, Pittsford
4-7 pm

Monday, May 16:
Indy Spirits Expo
Soiree Nightclub, NYC
5-9 pm

Tuesday, May 24:
Seminar, Century Pittsford Wines, Pittsford
6 pm

Friday, June 10:
Borisal Liquor & Wine (Drinkup NY), Brooklyn
5-7 pm

Saturday, June 18:
Lighthouse Liquors, Elmira
3-6 pm

Please come out to see us!



Dear Friend of FLD,    

It appears we are in the homestretch of a nasty Finger Lakes winter. Thanks to all of you who have braved the elements to come visit during these cold months.

Things are still busy at the distillery from a production standpoint. Thomas Earl and Brian, our new Assistant Distiller, have been building stocks of our standard products and putting up lots of whiskey for the future.

We've scheduled a number of great events for the next few months, including seminars at Prestige and Prime Wines in Buffalo and Century-Pittsford Wines in Rochester. These seminars go beyond the regular tastings typically held in liquor stores. We'll cover the basics of distillation, some background on our company, and delve deeper into how our products are made.

I'll also be in NYC later this month for a Whisk(e)y Monday at Ward III and an event held by the Village Voice, Choice Eats. We'll be partnering with our friends at Brooklyn Brine to offer picklebacks and provide McKenzie Whiskey tastings.

We're also starting to plan for our 2nd Annual Kentucky Derby party. Please mark May 7 on your calendar as you won't want to miss it.

Finally, I'm disappointed to report that one of our most knowledgeable tasting room staff members, Meryl Bursic, is going to be leaving FLD to pursue another opportunity. Meryl has been a tremendous asset to our organization from the day we opened and we'll miss her.

Meryl's departure and the upcoming tourist season will create many openings for tasting room staff positions. If you are interested in joining our team, please send me a note with your resume to

Hope to see you at the distillery soon!

Brian McKenzie
President, Finger Lakes Distilling  


bfergusonSave the Date -  


2nd Annual Bourbon & Derby Party  

Scheduled for May 7 


derby attendees  


Just ask anyone that attended last year, you don't want to miss this event!  Bourbon, live music, FLD cocktails, great food and the most exciting two minutes in sports. Be on the lookout for your invite in the next few weeks. Tickets will be limited! 


vodkaExcise Tax Reduction for Small Distillers



It should come as no surprise that the alcohol industry is heavily taxed. Still, most people don't realize how high the excise tax truly is on distilled spirits. On a 750 ml 80 proof bottle of vodka, for instance, we pay $2.14 in Federal Excise and an additional $1.28 in State Excise. That's right...a total cost of $3.42 per bottle!
This tax applies to all distilled spirits plants regardless of their size, and is especially challenging to small distillers like FLD.

In an effort to provide some relief to the growing number of craft distillers in America, U.S. Congressman, Maurice Hinchey (representing the 22nd District of NYS), has introduced H.R. 777. This bill will reduce the federal excise tax on distilled spirits from $13.50 per proof gallon to $2.70 per proof gallon for distilleries that produce fewer than 100,000 proof gallons annually.

This tiered approach to taxation is not a new concept. Small wineries and breweries are subject to lower taxation than the larger businesses with whom they compete.

The savings generated by this tax reduction will allow FLD to reinvest in our growing business and continue adding value to the local economy in a number of ways - sourcing additional ingredients from local farmers, promoting tourism to the area, and adding jobs.

Please help us support H.R. 777. We'll keep you posted on the progress of this legislation. What can you do? Take a minute to support the bill by clicking here. Additionally, you can send any letters of support to your local politicians or send them directly to us (4676 Route 414, Burdett, NY 14818) and we will include them in our support packets.

In case you missed it....

FLD continues to garner some good press. Emeri Krawczyk of the Buffalo News wrote a piece on some of the great non-wine alternatives on Seneca Lake.

Another local piece, an article about local whiskey, made it into the Finger Lakes Times earlier this month.

Good Life Magazine, published by the Syracuse Post Standard, had a 4 page spread featuring some FLD designed Winter Cocktails - one of our favorites is listed below in our cocktail section.

Our friend, Liza Weisstuch, recounted her experience joining us for the George Washington Peach brandy distillation in Whisky Magazine this month.  Her article, George and the distilled peach, brought back some fond memories of our memorable experience at Mt. Vernon last October.

Finally, a very interesting illustrated column appeared in the Cornell Daily Sun that highlights author, Maggie Pendergrast's experience visiting the distillery.



cocktailsCreative Cocktails


This month, we're featuring some cocktails that will help you cope with the last chills of winter. Can't wait for spring!

Hot Toddy      

hot toddy   

2 oz. McKenzie Rye Whiskey
1 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
1 Tblsp Honey
Chamomile Tea
Dash of Cloves

Combine top three ingredients in mug. Add hot water and steep tea. Add dash of cloves.

Fireside Chat  

  fireside chat
1.5 oz. McKenzie Rye Whiskey
1 ounce FLD Maplejack Liqueur
1 oz. Cream
Dash of Simple Syrup
Angostura Bitters
Grated Cinnamon

Shake top four ingredients over ice. Strain into martini glass and garnish with several dashes of bitters and grated cinnamon.


Please send us your ideas for cocktails using our products. With your permission, we may feature your cocktail in a future newsletter. If selected, we'll send you an FLD hat or T-shirt.

Want to know more about our spirits? Just visit
Our Products for details and tasting notes on our gin, vodka, whiskey, brandy, fruit liqueurs and other products.