Curtis Perone, managing director of Blue Rascal Distillery, and his team started off their business by using one of South Jersey’s greatest resources—blueberries.
In 2013, when New Jersey law changed to allow craft distilling, Blue Rascal saw an opportunity to take advantage of the Garden State’s abundance of blueberries to make an Eau De Vie Clear/European Fruit Brandy. It was the team’s belief that it would also be a great way to also help support the region’s farmers.
The actual location of Blue Rascal Distillery opened March 18, 2021, and is nestled right in Hammonton, the deservedly self-proclaimed blueberry capital of the world.
“We started construction in 2017 and because of COVID-19, we were delayed with various issues for over two years,” Perone explains. “We have had a great first year and are looking forward to the future with more new products. We will release a cask/barrel-strength brandy later this summer that will be 113 proof.”
Currently, Blue Rascal offers 13 products, including six different fruit liqueurs, a gin made with fresh local blueberries in a botanical recipe, vodka made from corn and a rum made from blackstrap molasses. They also offer a straight rye and straight wheat whiskey, a coffee-infused rye whiskey and, of course, blueberry brandy.
“Because we use our CARL—the name stands for the world-renowned custom-fabricator of artisan distilling, mashing and brewing equipment, working in copper and stainless steel and the freshest ingredients we can find—we are able to distill a wonderful final product for the consumer to enjoy. By controlling the fermentation and making our cuts appropriately during the spirit run, we are left with a delicious product,” says Perone.
At the heart of Blue Rascal is their specialty, blueberry brandy. According to Perone, each batch is made with about 1,000 pounds of fresh Hammonton blueberries at the peak of ripeness.
“The berries are fermented, distilled and bottled here at the distillery,” he says. “The simple yet complex blueberry distillate is something unlike anything else on the market. You get the essence of blueberry without being super sweet, that is where our fruit liqueurs come in.”
Blue Rascal Distillery
8 West End Ave., Hammonton
Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family Magazine, Volume 13, Issue 1.
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