Copper Fox distillery draws a crowd at opening

If Saturday's soft opening is any indication, Copper Fox distillery has found an audience in Williamsburg.

At 3 p.m. the distillery's tasting room was packed two rows deep at the bar, as customers enjoyed cocktails made with the compay's rye whiskey and Vir gin.

The gin was actually made on premises over the last few days, since gin doesn't have to age. The whiskey came in from Copper Fox's original Sperryville plant in barrels and was bottled on site.

The company will soon be adding a single-malt whiskey and eventually, a bourbon made especially for Williamsburg.

"Let me know when that's ready," Del. Monty Mason, D-Williamsburg, said to Copper Fox owner Rick Wasmund, who was leading a tour of the facility.

Wasmund said Copper Fox had a good crowd all day Saturday.

The re-development of the former Lord Paget motel is still a work in progress.

While the tasting room is finished and another building houses the stills, bottling operation and a temporary barrel room, there's still a lot to do.

The main building of the former motel will eventually be converted to Copper Fox's retail store.

"See that building over there?" Wasmund said. "Looks like just another motel building right?"

But, inside, the building had been gutted from the crawl space to the roof.

'We're going to pour concrete in here next week, and this is going to become our barrel room," he said.

He said the one building would allow for storage of more barrels than the current Sperryville operation.

"It will hold about 700 barrels," Wasmund said. "Eventually, we'll need space for 1,500, so we'll use parts of the other buildings."

Mayor Paul Freiling, who was also taking the tour, was surprised at how small the stills were.

"We can run that once," Wasmund said, indicating the pot bellied still the company uses for the gin. "And get 40 cases of gin."

He said it takes about 20 hours for one run of the still.

Freiling noted that Copper Fox was doing a great job of refurbishing the old motel.

"What better use for this property, to bring something new to town and give people a reason to come to this part of town?" he said.

Vaughan can be reached at (757)345-2343.

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