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Side Dishes: New distillery to open in Windsor

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The state’s craft spirits explosion has arrived in Windsor. A new vodka distiller, American Craft Spirits, will break ground there within months, fueled partly by a $101,250 grant from the Vermont Economic Development Authority.

The distillery is the brainchild of Peter Jillson, a retired pharmaceutical and biotech executive whose Vermont family roots go back to 1775. “I’m very passionate about the state. I wanted to do something that would take advantage of the natural resources in our backyard,” says Jillson, who lives in Barnard. The remainder of his roughly $938,000 project cost came from various sources, including Connecticut River Bank.

The flagship vodka will be called Silo and should flow by late summer. Though Jillson is still deciding whether it will be corn or wheat based, he says he’d like to use local grains and will work with a 30-foot column still from Germany.

Jillson, who is formally trained in distilling, says that gin, flavored vodka and unaged whiskey will emerge next from the planned post-and-beam distillery. He projects the company will create at least five new jobs in the next three years.

The distillery, complete with a tasting room, will be built by Hartford’s GeoBarns and adjoin Harpoon Brewery and Vermont Farmstead Cheese, increasing the draw of Route 5’s Windsor Industrial Park as a foodie destination.

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