Smith River Spirits is a distillery located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Our area is rich with entrepreneurial spirit, regional leaders who helped form the commonwealth, furniture manufacturing, our beloved Martinsville Speedway, and naturally scenic favorites such as Philpott Lake. Smith River Spirits is located steps from the banks of the Smith River, well known for its citation brown trout and accessibility for kayaks and canoes.
In 2019, a vision became reality when Smith River Spirits was founded by Kevin Nelson, Alan Black and Wes Mills. This group of men is comprised of individuals that bring a diverse and unique experience in the growth of apples, small batch distilling and wine making. This is our story...
Our journey began when Alan and Kevin began growing grapes and producing wine nearly a decade ago. In hopes of streamlining wine usage during difficult wine production years, Kevin was sent to see a man not far off the beaten paths of the Blue Ridge Parkway. To protect the innocent, we’ll name this fella Jim! Jim was expecting Kevin and, as is southern tradition, spent a few moments on the front porch getting to know him before proclaiming “I guess you’re alright…come on, we’ve got to work to do!”. Jim educated Kevin on what could be done with wine during years that conditions weren’t ideal for bottling. After several visits with Jim and refining techniques, Masters Blend Brandy was created. We owe a debt of gratitude to Jim for his time, patience and endless knowledge in helping us get to where we are today!
We are proud to distill American wines and locally sourced apples. While Virginia has a vast array of vineyards, we looked outside of the region due to volume of supply needed to produce brandy, and found what we needed in Washington State. Our apples are sourced from different areas of southern and central Virginia, such as Winchester, Woolwine and Meadows of Dan. Under Alan Black’s guidance and expertise, we are currently planting our own variations of apple trees throughout the area for future distilling purposes.
What makes Smith River Spirits products so special? Our philosophy begins by utilizing naturally-derived sugars found in our specially selected fruits, rather than adding sugars from other sources. We also use American white oak barrels for our aging processes; creating a totally unique and pure brandy experience.