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Gingerwolf Distillery
Terry and Kathy Sullivan

Gingerwolf DistillerySummary: If enthusiasm is contagious, after meeting Josh Cohen of Gingerwolf Distillery, you may find yourself contemplating starting your own distillery, or at least returning to Gingerwolf for the ambiance and spirits.

Gingerwolf Distillery, in the old Wayside Theater in Middletown, Virginia, is the product of owners Josh Cohen and Brett Wolfington. Josh mentioned that he drank spirits around a bonfire and enjoyed whisky, gin, rum and flavored moonshine. Josh recalled that he and Brett were talking about the economy and pondered what remains stable when the economy is good as well as bad. They concluded that alcoholic beverages was a stable item in an ever changing economy. They conducted research on the alcohol industry and developed the idea of starting a distillery.

Josh believes that “a liquor should have multiple levels." He mentioned the aroma, taste and finish, adding that the finish should be smooth and not burn and that all the flavors should come together.

We enjoyed meeting Josh and discovering his “can do” spirit. Josh noted that he is the type of person who when told he cannot do it, finds a way to succeed. For Josh the optimistic attitude that they could purchase property in April, establish a distillery and open by the end of the year was the type of challenge he could make work.

They drafted a business plan, found sources of financing and began looking for real estate. Finding a place to house a craft distillery was “easier said than done,” recalled Josh. They discovered the old Wayside Theater in Middletown, a structure that had been vacant for over three years. They looked at the old building and did not see it for the way it was. Instead, they saw the potential for what it could become one day. Potential, enthusiasm and financing can do a lot in any economy. These two owners developed plans to turn a vacant structure into a two-story destination craft distillery almost overnight, or at least by the end of 2016.

They settled on the building in April 2016. By July, they opened the restaurant section of the building and experienced instant success. They like the idea of having a restaurant adjacent to the distillery. Once spirit enthusiasts taste the spirits, it is nice to send them to the restaurant for food and custom-made cocktails.

The Den

Hard work, around the clock, does pay off. The owners opened The Den in early July, finished in just a few months. Green window paned glass doors announce the entrances to the restaurant. The dark wood tables, chairs, bar and flooring contrast with the light colored walls and ceiling. In one corner of The Den there is a small stage for performing groups. Walls have framed images of cocktails as well as movie images. The owners want people to remember the building’s past.

Gingerwolf Distillery   Gingerwolf Distillery

Josh spoke about the products they hope to craft. At first, they will make clear moonshine, gin and rum. Eventually they will age some spirits and will produce the golden colored spirits. Josh spoke a bit about his philosophy. He would like the distillate to be made from local grains. He sees the distillate as very important and should be the focus of the distiller. When speaking about craft products, Josh said, “ Passion is what makes craft, craft.”

For Josh the “whole experience is about the patrons and the guests.” The owners want people to experience Gingerwolf Distillery and after leaving say, “Wow!” Black wrought iron tables and chairs provide outdoor seating in a small area.

Gingerwolf DistilleryBe sure to watch for the grand opening of Gingerwolf Distillery. Stop by, taste some spirits and amble over to The Den for a bite to eat and perhaps a mixed cocktail.


Gingerwolf Distillery
7853 Main St.,
Middletown, Virginia 22645

GPS: N39º 01.722’ W78º 16.789’


Article written October 2016


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Copyright: Terry and Kathy Sullivan 2016