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First new New York whiskey makers since Prohibition looking to grow

Published:  26 July, 2016

An American Whiskey company is looking to expand worldwide after becoming the first American aged whiskey in New York since Prohibition.

The William Grant & Sons Ltd owned Hudson Whiskey is looking to expand its global horizons after becoming the first artisanal micro distillery to be built in New York State since 1933.

Its story begins with Ralph Erenzo, a newcomer to whiskey distilling back in the early 2000s when he took advantage of a change in the law which dropped the craft distillers licence fee from $65,000 to $1000.

Hudson Whiskey was born along with co-founder Brian Lee.

Armed with a small-batch product with but big ambitions, Erenzo played a part in changing another law so that distillers could sell alcohol on their premises directly to consumers - without the need for distributors.

"To get a distillery licence in New York 15 years ago it would cost $60,000, even if what you were making was small-batch and even if you didn't even sell any alcohol," explained Tony Vanaria, global ambassador for the brand and Erenzo's friend since high school.

"In 2002, the state came up with new law for micro distilleries, making it more affordable for start-ups with production capped at 35,000 galloons."

The result was a boom in micro-distilleries popping up across the state, thanks in part to Erenzo's lobbying.

As well as making vodka and gin in the early days, Hudson was also the first distillery to make bourbon in New York State.

The company receives a lot of attention from the strides it made in paving the way for other small-batch whiskey distillers, and now wants to spread its "quality message" to the rest of the world.

Vanaria added: "When people think of bourbon they think of three main guys. We want the world to know that there are other bourbons out there which still have that quality, traditional taste."

Hudson Whiskey was founded in Tuthilltown, in the Hudson valley in 2004 and is owned by William Grant & Sons Ltd.

The range is currently available in UK, France, Australia, USA, the Nordics, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Canada, Romania, Bulgaria, Singapore and retails for approximately £37 in the UK.