Distillery and craft cocktail bar Republic Restoratives founders Pia Carusone and Rachel Gardner planned and renovated their warehouse space in DC's Ivy City for over two years, making it home to a bar, retail store, a tasting room and their bourbon distillery. Carusone and Gardner can lay claim to the first women-owned distillery in Washington, DC.
“You can’t make a true bourbon unless you’re an American producer,” Carusone said. “Americans have been perfecting it for generations, and it’s protected from international competition. It goes back to international trade law that protects specialties of certain nations.”
The two-story, 24,000 square foot warehouse located at 1369 New York Ave. NE is in an area that is quickly-emerging as the food and liquor manufacturing hub of DC.
“I want people to feel excited, interested and connected in the same way we feel connected to the neighborhood,” Carusone said. “This whole area is developing very fast.”
Home to Rodham Rye
The owners of Republic Restoratives, spent months concocting a spirit worthy of celebrating their next president’s inauguration. Their creative juices imagined a drink that would be the talk of Washington. And then the roof fell in, and it seemed that Rodham Rye sort of made no sense. This week, after “a period of self-described mourning,” Gardner and Carusone have decided to move forward with the whiskey anyway. Their boozy homage to Hillary Clinton went on sale in a limited batch of 4,652 bottles that could go pretty fast, though the company is already teasing, “You never know, there could be a comeback.”
Hillary Clinton has been known to "throw back" the occasional whiskey, writes The Washingtonian. Priced at $79, 5 percent of each sale goes to support pro-choice Democratic women running for political office with the help of Emily's List.
Carusone, who used to be congresswoman Gabby Giffords’s chief of staff, says Rodham Rye is really a celebration of women in general, which is why they’re releasing it in March, during Women’s History Month. “It’s a tribute to women in history, and a tribute to women in our everyday lives,” she tells Washingtonian. And there are plenty of symbolic eye winks. It’s a blend of one- and three-and-a-half-year Tennessee ryes, teeing up this description on the bottle: “A selection of whiskies that are stronger together than apart.” Additionally, Carusone points out, rye is the “hardiest, sturdiest, most resilient” grain of them all, and it just so happens that they sweetened the whiskey with maple syrup from Clinton’s state of New York.
Rodham Rye launched on March 25 with a “community conversation” at the Ivy City distillery entitled “How to Support Women in the Age of Trump.” After a panel discussion, Republic Restoratives lead tours of their facility, offered samples and cocktails, while female-owned vendors provided food.