Owners, Christopher & Tracy Burk
Cathedral Ledge Distillery is a family-run business, started by Christopher and Tracy Burk. When their three boys were all off to college, they were looking for something new and exciting to do. Distilling seemed like it definitely fit the bill.
Master Distiller, James McCoy
While a love of spirits is certainly a plus when it comes to operating a distillery, it helps to have a bit of expertise thrown into the mix as well. Our master distiller, James McCoy, comes with a good bit of both. James is a true whiskey lover, and his education and career have been focused on brewing and distilling. He and distillery owner, Christopher Burk, began working together well before we opened the doors of Cathedral Ledge Distillery. James has helped with planning, construction, recipe development and more. We got him to sit down for a few minutes, to tell us about what he loves about spirits, bourbon in particular, and the world of distilling.
James received his Bachelor's degree in Food Science from The University of Vermont followed by a Masters degree in Brewing and Distilling from Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland. Since earning both of his degrees, James has worked within every aspect of brewing and distilling products. He has worked retail in a wine and spirits shop; done quality control for breweries, been a head distiller, worked with a software company that supports craft distilleries, and owned his own malt company.
James is passionate about all aspects of distilling, but the process of making whiskey truly excites him. "There is nothing else like it," James says. "Whiskey takes a lot of hard work and patience, but creates a spectacular, tangible reward." James says the best part of this career is finding out that people have enjoyed the labor you have put into making something and are excited about it.
James can't wait to open our aging barrels for the first time to see how the whiskeys and bourbons are doing in June! He is also looking forward to doing some secondary aging in the future.
Favorite Cocktail: Old Fashioned