Old Republic Distillery seeks to create unique, flavorful, high-end spirits, defined by their distillers as “liquid art.” Located in York, PA, ORD is the county’s first distillery since Prohibition. Their space includes a 5,000-square-foot building that features their distillery operations, a distillery tasting room, and a party rental room called “the copper room.” When asked why he started the distillery, owner Bill Mathias says he was born to do this. “I’ve had a fascination with the fermentation sciences since I was a teenager, especially spirits. It’s all about following your dreams, setting your goals high, and doing everything possible to accomplish them. For me, this is my dream come true.” And you can taste the passion in every drop.
Their team produces their handcrafted, small batch spirits utilizing as much local agriculture as possible. Visit the distillery on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays to taste the local difference. With so many flavors and styles, there’s something for everyone. Some favorites include an American Single Malt Whiskey, Gates House Rum, Battlefield Vodka and Love Potion, a libation that combines bold strawberries with blueberries for an incredibly sweet, yet tart, liquor. While you’re visiting, make sure you ask if there are any other experimental varieties in the tasting room.
Something to remember before you go: ORD is a BYOF (bring your own food) establishment. Pack a snack—or a full meal—to enjoy with your spirits. Check their calendar, though, as sometimes there’s a local caterer or food truck on-site. In addition to these special days, there are also plenty of events on the calendar, including bike nights, Rum Fest, holiday parties, 70s and 80s dance parties, and a variety of live music.
ORD is a proud member of the Keystone Craft Spirits Trail and is working with state lawmakers to officially identify South Central PA as the “Birthplace of American Whiskey.” The distillery’s dedication to the exploration of the fermentation sciences is what makes Old Republic unique and what will continue to attract craft spirits enthusiasts from around the world.