Eda Rhyne Distillery Makes Farm to Bottle Brews
“When we started this project, the idea was to not just make booze, but to make booze that is pretty unique and sort of new and very traditional at the same time,” says Rett Murphy. The project he’s speaking of is Biltmore Village’s new distillery, Eda Rhyne Distilling Company.
Although the distillery is part traditional and part modern, it’s all Western North Carolina. The ingredients that make up their inaugural lineup—which includes an Appalachian Fernet, Forrest Floor Amaro, Pinnix Gin and Herbal Rye—are locally and organically sourced, many of them native to the region and pulled from the dirt of Murphy’s own Aardvark Farm.
“We have this bounty of agricultural biodiversity here, and also natural native flora biodiversity,” explains Murphy. “Our whole thing is to take advantage of both of those resources. We’re not only trying to use local grains and botanicals in the products, but also native plants.”
It’s not just the ingredients that are native to the region, but the traditions of distilling too. We all know the famed stories of the origins of Nascar, moonshine runners and rugged car chases, but the history is so much more than that. For centuries mountain dwellers have used our native botanicals for their medicinal benefits, and spirits provide a perfect (and tasty) vehicle for delivering them. Eda Rhyne taps into that history with their own spirits.
The result, however, is as Murphy said: new. The distillery is the contrivance of four passionate souls: Murphy, who’s been active in the local food scene through his Aardvark Farm for seven years; Chris Bower, proprietor of hip dives The Double Crown and The Lazy Diamond; Andrew Bertow, a Kentuckian with a knack for whiskey; and Pierce Harmon, owner of River Birch Builders. “All four of us were kind of tinkerers. We love fun projects and we’re pretty creative. This is like a really interesting chemistry project, mechanical project, science and magic and biology and all these things, and in the end you’re making really delicious booze, and that’s fun,” Murphy Notes.
With a tasting room in historic Biltmore Village set to open any day, the distillery is well on its way to becoming a new—and fun—Appalachian tradition.