Young and Hungry

Filibuster Distillery Coming to D.C.

It's taken more than a century for D.C. to get its first legal distillery. Now, a second is in the works.

Sid Dilawri, owner of Modern Liquors across from the Convention Center, says he's scouting for a warehouse in northeast D.C. to produce his Filibuster whiskey. He hopes to finalize a lease in the next month or two.

A year ago, Dilawri began blending bourbon from a distillery in Kentucky, meaning he ages the alcohol but does not produce it. Dilawri currently sells a rye whiskey and a bourbon whiskey, both of which are aged first in American white oak barrels and then finished in French oak barrels, giving them additional depth and complexity. He'll age his whiskey the same way when he opens his distillery, but it'll take him at least four years to complete his first original batch. In the meantime, Filibuster made with alcohol from the Kentucky distillery is already available at several bars and retailers in D.C., Maryland, and seven other states.

Dilawri says he was interested in opening a distillery because of the bourbon market's growth potential. Whereas there's a lot of variation among scotches, Dilawri says bourbon offerings are less diverse. He initially considered setting up shop in Virginia, but ultimately, he says "D.C. is the market that I know."

Meanwhile, New Columbia Distillers is awaiting final inspections and expects to begin gin and whiskey production this month. "What they've been doing, it definitely helps," Dilawri says. "They were definitely an inspiration."

Photo courtesy Sid Dilawri

  • EP Sato

    Wait, Filibuster is theirs? Too cool.

    I'm a big fan of Sid and Modern Liquors! They've got an amazing craft beer selection, and just added a new expanded beer cooler. It's like a walk in humidor for hop heads.

    The shop's also one of the best sources in DC for rare and hard to find rum, scotch and bourbon. I just about had a heart attack the first time I found they had "Ron Del Barrilito" for sale. Normally I have to buy it by the case in Puerto Rico and bring it back with me.

    Funny enough, Sid recommended the bourbon a few times, but gave no indication he was making it! I'll have to stop by and pick up a bottle now.

    The prices at Modern are downtowny, so it's not the cheapest shop. But if you're seeking something special, or hard to find, I highly recommend them. Shop's right on 9th and M, tell them I sent you so I can get a discount next time ;)

  • Pete

    With a product like spirits, I'm surprised there aren't more "craft distillers" who just age the neutral spirit produced at another distillery. Like the many Virginia wineries which don't grow their own grapes, the magic takes place after the raw material is created.

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