Fire damages Tuthilltown distillery

A fire broke out at the Tuthilltown distillery in Gardiner yesterday morning, leaving the roof and upstairs portion of the building damaged.

According to a release from the Ulster County Sheriff's Office, the fire was discovered by an employee:

A lone employee was working in the office area when he heard a rumbling sound coming from the production room. Upon entering the production room he saw flames, at which time he exited the building without incident.

Investigators believe a tank containing alcohol may have ruptured and come into contact with a heat source. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

The fire could have been much worse, the Times Herald-Record reports:

Brian Stiscia, assistant fire chief of the Gardiner Fire Department, agreed it was a good thing the spirits were housed elsewhere. If Tuthilltown's inventory — mostly whiskey, gin and vodka — had been stored in the same space as the stills, "it would have been a nightmare."

Fortunately, owners Ralph Erenzo and Brian Lee told the Herald-Record, the huge copper stills used to make Tuthilltown's microdistilled whiskey, gin and vodka survived the fire intact.

The Freeman reports that the tasting room, store and business office at Tuthilltown remain open.