Falls Church Distillers: Meet Virginia Makers

Authors: Michael & Lorenzo Paluzzi, Owner and Distiller for Falls Church Distillery

For the first time since 1934, a small batch distillery will be opening in Fairfax County in the city of its namesake, Falls Church, Virginia. Falls Church Distillers is not only the first new distillery to open in the county in over 80 years, but it is also the only privately-owned one operating today.

Our venue is unique in the Virginia craft spirits market, as we have essentially built our distillery and tasting room around a beer and wine restaurant. So, when you’re done with your spirits tasting experience, you can continue relaxing by moving to the restaurant area. You’ll still be in the heart of a distillery with the Angel’s share stimulating your olfactory senses.

The Paluzzi Family takes a lot of pride in providing not only a high-grade product, but a premier experience as well. We will be featuring a wonderfully assorted Italian menu of classic eats, exclusive beer on tap, and an Italian wine menu for those with a discerning palette.  

As father and son, we have banded together to bring a new experience to the Virginia craft spirits distillation market and the growing town of Falls Church. “The Church” (as it has been locally nicknamed) is located just four blocks south of the Routes 7 & 29 intersection, adjacent to the Tinner Hill Memorial.

The relationship between father and son and between the old methodologies of spirit making and our current scientific understanding allows us to pay homage to our forefathers, while improving on the history of bourbon-whiskey. Lorenzo’s goal as Chief Distiller is to not only provide patrons with a wonderful experience and painstakingly produced selection, but a window into the world of spirits and how it has shaped our American communities since its origination.

Distillation is a relatively new development in the 10,000-year history of alcohol, but one that has broadened mankind’s ingenuity and creativity. You see this in the many market offerings of bourbons and Scotches, the variations of rums and brandies, and the flavorings of clear spirits. Spirits, when enjoyed responsibly, can be a tool to communicate, coalesce, and to enrich the spirit.

Our Process

Our process begins with a specially designed five-stage water filtration system that removes all impurities of modern city water, while retaining the minerality of a natural spring specifically picked for whiskey. We take great care to provide the best water for enjoyment throughout the facility via our drinking water and unique one-inch cubes of ice for premium tastings. We follow the filtered water by hand selected grains and malts for full flavor at mash production. This stage in our process is carefully monitored to ensure that every batch is consistent in flavor and aroma.

After our mash is made, we move onto the alcoholic part of the process. Mash fermentation is an art and to achieve the ultimate tasting notes, you must pay close attention to every step in the process. After these steps, we finish the whiskey in a state of the art still nicknamed ”Frankenstein’s Goggles” (quite the steampunk monster you will be sure to stare at) that features a specific copper whiskey head to create a smooth finish.

We have built a still capable of creating warming whiskies, as well as high grade vodka and gin. The differentiator when it comes to vodka and gin is removing the lactones from fermentation to eliminate the dreaded hangover. Frankie’s goggles are two seven-plate column towers that feature copper bubblers to create the highest purity alcohol, followed by further purification in a specifically designed three-stage filtration system. Our vodka is of a unique make that has a light tingle, mild sweetness, and smooth finish like that of our water. We feel that a gin should be simple to understand, which is why we have chosen to limit the number of herbs and spices to only those that feel fresh and new, and don’t overwhelm the palate with perfume-like odors.

Tasting Notes:

A slightly sweet taste is the result of a combination of wheat and cane neutral spirits. One of the variants is flavored with pepperoncini to provide a spicy kick.

A flavor packed gin that uses a minimum number of herbs to allow the palette to experience each unique enticing herb. Two of the variants are then herbally enhanced with either lemon verbena or pineapple sage to distinctly differentiate them.

A three-year-old wheated bourbon that screams for a big mouth glass to breathe a little, and then begs for you to enjoy the complexities of these Virginia grains, American Oak, and the results from allowing the time to fully develop.