GLADSTONE, N.J. – Nov. 12, 2018 – Monmouth at the Team will be more spirited than ever in 2019 with the addition of Sourland Mountain Spirits to its sponsor lineup. The New Jersey-based distillery will serve their award-winning craft spirits in the hospitality tent as the official spirit sponsor of the hunter/jumper show. Monmouth at the Team is scheduled for Aug. 12-19 at Hamilton Farm, the headquarters of the U.S. Equestrian Team Foundation.
Sourland Mountain Spirits was founded in 2015 by longtime Hopewell resident Ray Disch. The distillery is located in a renovated tractor barn on the 800-acre Double Brook Farm, also home to the celebrated farm-to-table Brick Farm Tavern and the Troon Brewing Company. Sourland Mountain is New Jersey's farm distillery.
“The difference between commercial spirits and craft spirits is the difference between homemade food and fast food.” Disch said. “It’s using the best ingredients you can afford, using a slow process made by knowledgeable, passionate people.”
Disch was the co-founder of New Jersey’s original brewpub, Triumph Brewing Company in Princeton, New Jersey. When he sold that business, he shifted his efforts into crafting spirits. Sourland Mountain Spirits produces gin, vodka and rum. The result has been met with rave reviews.
Sourland Mountain Spirits was named 2018 America’s Farm Distillery of the Year by the American Distilling Institution. Their Gin and Silver Rum both earned 92 points from Wine Enthusiast. But Disch is most proud of his Sourland Mountain Spirits Gin’s silver award at the San Francisco International Spirits Competition.
“San Francisco International Spirits is the big dog because it's international and it's commercial and craft,” explained Disch. “A lot of the judging competitions are either commercial or craft. Very few of them are international, commercial and craft. When we won the silver for our gin, we'd only been open a few weeks, so, it was nice to get a tip of the hat.”
Drawing from an aquifer at the base of the Sourland range, the spirits are made using pure water filtered through micro-fractures in the geologic formations of the mountains, protected by the largest contiguous forest in Central New Jersey. The distillery is surrounded by farms, providing an opportunity to incorporate the freshest ingredients into their process. They choose from local herbs, fruit, grain and other sustainable options that make their spirits stand apart.
Disch grew up in Bedminster in a family of equestrians. His parents, three sisters and older brother all rode. He chose polo and foxhunting as his equestrian pursuits.
“I wasn't much for spending time in the ring,” Disch said “I was a teenager. I just wanted to run fast and jump stuff.”
But the need for speed wasn’t Disch’s only passion. From 1970-1975 he was the youth huntsman for the Tewksbury Foot Bassets. He still goes out regularly with the Basset Hound pack.
“Well, what's more fun than walking your dog? Why not walk 40 of them with people you like?” he said.
Sponsorship of Monmouth at the Team makes sense to Disch because of the show’s focus on hospitality and his equestrian roots and ties to the area.
“Having grown up in the horse-and-hound world, there's just a natural synergy and appreciation of spirits, particularly gin, among the group,” he said. “It's something that I want to support.”
For more information about Sourland Mountain Spirits, visit their website at SourlandSpirits.com