What is the history of the Bowman Distillery?

Answered by James Porterfield

The history of the Bowman Distillery is deeply rooted in the rich heritage of Virginia. It all began in 1927 when A. Smith Bowman, a visionary entrepreneur, established the distillery on the sprawling Sunset Hills estate. Originally, the estate was primarily utilized for dairy farming and as a granary. However, with the repeal of Prohibition in Virginia, Bowman saw an opportunity to venture into the world of distilling.

At its inception, the distillery primarily focused on utilizing the grains grown on the estate for distillation. This ensured that only the finest quality ingredients were used in the production of their . The combination of their own homegrown grains and Bowman's dedication to craftsmanship resulted in the creation of exceptional spirits that quickly gained recognition and popularity.

Over the years, the Bowman Distillery has continued to evolve and innovate. The distillery's commitment to quality and tradition has been passed down through the generations, with A. Smith Bowman's sons, Abram and DeLong, taking the reins and further expanding the family business. Under their leadership, the distillery continued to flourish and gain a reputation for producing exceptional spirits.

In the 1980s, the distillery faced a significant turning point when it outgrew its original location on the Sunset Hills estate. The Bowman family made the decision to relocate the distillery to a larger facility in Fredericksburg, Virginia. This move allowed for increased production capacity and the ability to reach a wider audience with their spirits.

Despite the relocation, the Bowman Distillery has remained deeply connected to its roots. The family's commitment to sourcing the finest grains and utilizing traditional distilling methods has remained unwavering. This dedication is evident in the exceptional quality of their spirits, which continue to win awards and accolades.

Today, the distillery stands as a testament to the rich history and heritage of Virginia's distilling industry. It remains the oldest operating distillery in the state, a true testament to the perseverance and craftsmanship of the Bowman family. The legacy of A. Smith Bowman lives on through the exceptional spirits produced by the distillery, ensuring that his vision and passion for distilling continue to be celebrated.

Personal experience: I had the pleasure of visiting the Bowman Distillery during a trip to Virginia, and I was truly impressed by the sense of history and craftsmanship that permeated the distillery. The tour provided a fascinating glimpse into the distilling process, from the sourcing of the grains to the aging of the spirits in oak . Tasting their range of whiskies and other spirits was a delight, as each one showcased the dedication and expertise that goes into their production. It was clear that the Bowman Distillery is not just a place of business, but a labor of love passed down through the generations.