Ruxton Resident Crafts Premium, Small-Batch Whiskeys
While most financial planners spend their free time relaxing, playing golf or otherwise blowing off steam, Ruxton resident Brett Goodrich rolls up his sleeves and follows his passion: crafting premium, small-batch whiskeys with his partners at their Pottstown, Pennsylvania-based Manatawny Still Works.
Over a glass of whiskey at a friend’s house in 2012, Goodrich and a fraternity brother, graduates of Gettysburg College, found themselves discussing the idea of chasing their passion and tapping into a resurgent spirits industry. Fast forward to today, and the partners have already begun to see their “crazy” side project turn into a thriving business.
The company’s state-of-the-art distillery is located near the banks of the Manatawny Creek, named by the Lenape peoples who inhabited the area as “the place we meet to drink.” All but one of their products are “grain to bottle,” meaning that everything from grain milling to fermenting, distilling, aging, bottling and, of course, tasting is done at their facilities near Philadelphia.
The property is replete with gleaming copper and stainless steel stills imported from Italy, rows of American oak barrels and a tasting room/bar that welcomes crowds for food trucks, live music, special events and, of course, great cocktails featuring Manatawny Spirits. Goodrich, his wife Becky and some of the other partners can often be found here on weekends, giving tours and tastings, working behind the bar and mingling with patrons.
“Not a bad way to spend a weekend,” he says with a smile.
Though small by traditional industry standards Manatawny is bigger than many new craft distilleries and has attracted the attention of connoisseurs since it’s official opening three years ago. The company has won several national awards for its whiskeys, as well as its gins, vodka and rum.
Because their flagship whiskey is aged in 53-gallon oak barrels for two years or longer before bottling, the company actually got started by distilling high-quality gin, vodka, rum and a white “virgin” whiskey, none of which require the time-consuming aging process that contributes to the color, flavor and smoothness of their signature whiskey. The partners have instituted a very popular small-batch whiskey series; each batch is unique and is available in limited quantities. Batch 14 will be released this summer.
As the company has grown, so too has the number of partners involved. All are successful in their given careers and, despite their shared passion for Manatawny, they have all kept their day jobs. But that doesn’t mean they are any less committed to the success of the company or the quality of their product.
“This is a business first and foremost,” Goodrich says. “Our goal is to grow it into a leading regional distillery.”
With distribution currently stretching from Washington, D.C., to New York City, they seem to be well on their way to realizing that goal.
where Goodrich can often be found extolling the virtues of his little passion project and telling the story of how it all came to be.
“One of the best parts of owning a distillery is that I get to meet people and share our story,” Goodrich says. “Our spirits are exceptional. They really should be enjoyed with friends.”