Sullivan County gets into the distilling business

The Dancing Cat Distillery and Saloon, a new distillery-and-art-venue combo near Bethel Woods in Sullivan County, looks like it's going to be opening soon, according to David Knudsen, who has been eyeing its orange and "burnt raspberry" color scheme all year:

A big new building with peaked roofs and big windows sprouted in the field behind the house. I've been wondering what it's going to be. A church? A big antique store? The mystery ended this week, with a banner draped over the front porch announcing "The Dancing Cat Saloon and Catskill Distillery — Summer 2010."

An post on All Things New York that ran last year reported that Sullivan county itself actually owns the distilling equipment, which it will lease to Dancing Cat's owners, Monte Sachs and Stacey Cohen. And indeed, a resolution authorizing a deposit for the distilling equipment was on the agenda of the February 9, 2010 meeting of the Sullivan County Industrial Development Agency. If only the rum-runners of Prohibition could see us now.

According to the Sullivan County Democrat, which ran a long article on the project last fall, Sachs and Cohen have big sustainable plans for their new venue, which they're calling a "farm distillery," because the crops to be turned into spirits are grown right on the property:

A total of nine acres spanning 17B will host a vineyard and various fruit-bearing plants, say Cohen and Sachs, which – along with local farmers’ wheat and rye crops – will be distilled into various types of alcoholic beverages. The cafe will serve these products, along with serving as a showcase for local musical talent (Cohen is a musician herself, leading a group called Stacy and Friends) and local history. Sales cannot be by direct-mail but will include local and NYC restaurants. Whatever is not served or sold will be recycled, Cohen adds. “The byproduct of distilled spirits becomes wonderful cow food!” she says. The steam generated from the distillation process will be used to heat the facility’s floors. And thanks to a prime southern view perfect for making electricity from the sun, “this will be the largest solar project in Sullivan County,” adds Sachs.