Our Story

Welcome to
Barr Hill

Our Story

Founders Todd Hardie and Ryan Christiansen; View from Barr Hill Natural Area
Todd Hardie and Ryan Christiansen; The view from atop Barr Hill in Greensboro, Vermont

The story of Barr Hill begins in 2011 with a beekeeper and distiller working together in one of the most beautiful agricultural regions on Earth - the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.

Our original 6,000 square foot distillery was located in Hardwick near the town of Greensboro and the Barr Hill Nature Preserve, our namesake.

Todd Hardie tending the bees; Ryan Christiansen preparing a mash
Todd tending the bees; Ryan preparing a mash

Todd, a lifelong beekeeper, had been caring for bee hives across Vermont and the world. Ryan, a fermentation enthusiast, had previously founded a home brewing supply store in his hometown of Plainfield, Vermont.

The original 15-gallon direct-fire copper still; NYISC Double Gold Award; The Hardwick, Vermont distillery
The original 15-gallon direct-fire copper still; NYISC Double Gold Award; The Hardwick, Vermont distillery

Distilling with a single 15-gallon direct-fire copper still, Ryan and Todd sent their gin to the New York and Hong Kong International Spirits Competitions, where it won Double Gold and Best Gin of the Year, respectively - the two highest honors.

By the end of 2012, production increased from one to three distillations per day.

Open bee hive; raw Northern honey
Todd tending his bees; Northern Raw Honey

Todd and Ryan perfected the use of raw honey in the distillery, capturing the countless botanicals foraged by honey bees into a bottle of gin.

The honey would always be kept raw to retain the depth of character of the land.

Barr Hill Walk on Water cocktail; Scott Emery and our 16 plate column still inside the Hardwick distillery
Walk on Water cocktail; Scott Emery and our 16 plate column still inside the Hardwick distillery

Barr Hill Vodka is distilled entirely from raw honey. In fact, it takes 4 pounds to make each 750mL bottle - equivalent to the life’s work of 893 honey bees. As Ryan says, “It’s easy to make great spirits when you start with great raw materials.”

A Barr Hill Bee’s Knees cocktail; Juniper berries
A Barr Hill Bee’s Knees cocktail; Juniper berries

Barr Hill Gin is distilled with juniper in a custom-built botanical extraction still and is finished with raw honey - the delivery vessel for countless other botanicals and a hint of sweetness - to perfectly balance the juniper.

Ryan Christiansen sampling some Tom Cat while it ages; Preparing American oak logs to make Tom Cat barrels
Ryan sampling some Tom Cat while it ages; Preparing American oak logs to make Tom Cat barrels

Tom Cat Gin is distilled in the same way as Barr Hill Gin, and becomes Tom Cat after it has been aged for 6 months in new American oak barrels, the same type of barrels used to age bourbon.

Tom Cat is perfect for whiskey drinkers and gin drinkers alike.