In the News – Progressive Index Article – Aug 13 2017

Check out the article from the Petersburg VA Progressive Index from Aug 13, 2017

Three Brothers to roll out second product line – corn whiskey – next weekend

DISPUTANTA — Driving down the mile-long unpaved driveway off County Line Road, across wide fields thick with soybean plants and through vales of shaded woodland, you cross the unmarked county line from Prince George into Sussex and seem almost to enter another era.

It’s easy to imagine that someone might have chosen this secluded place to set up an illegal still long ago, but Three Brothers Distillery is perfectly legal, and what owner David Reavis is making here is nothing like moonshine.

“I wanted to make something different,” said Reavis, a North Carolina native and Navy veteran whose full-time job is teaching performance management and process improvement for the U.S. Army.

An experienced beermaker, Reavis spent more than three years researching the distillation of spirits, travelling around the country and studying the distilling industry and its history, in preparation for opening Three Brothers. “My goal is to bring back those awesome traditional big flavors” from the era before Prohibition, he said.

A Navy friend invited Reavis to locate his craft distillery on the Sussex site, where his friend was planning to open an agritourism destination farm. That part of the plan is on hold for now, as his friend has been called back to active duty. But Reavis went forward setting up the distillery with the help of his two brothers and their friends.

In April, Three Brothers released its first product, Silk Jacket Naval Strength Compound Gin, and there’s no doubt that it is different. The bottle and label, like the gin, hark back to the period of the Roaring ’20s and the Great Gatsby, when Americans first adopted the cocktail and the sophistication of the cocktail party.

But Silk Jacket’s history goes back even further, to the days when the British Navy issued daily rations of alcohol to sailors – rum for the enlisted ranks and gin for the officers. According to Reavis’ research, the officers wanted to lock up their gin in their ships’ gunpowder lockers to keep it from being stolen, but the Admiralty worried that the liquor might leak and dampen the gunpowder, making it useless. So they ordered that any liquor stored in the powder locker had to have a high enough alcohol content to be combustible – a minimum of 57 percent, or 114 proof. And that’s what Silk Jacket delivers, in contrast to most mass-production gins, which are only 80 proof.

It also looks and tastes very different from standard gin. The color is amber, not clear, and the flavor is rich with Reavis’ proprietary blend of botanical ingredients, starting with juniper – which is what makes gin gin – but including others that give the product the “big flavor” Reavis is looking for.

Next Saturday, Three Brothers will introduce its next product, Kablam Unaged Corn Whiskey. And later on, when it’s had enough time to age, they will roll out George Aged Rye Whiskey, named in honor of George Washington, who operated a distillery himself at Mount Vernon.

All of Three Brothers’ products are made from locally sourced corn and other grains, something Reavis is just as passionate about as the liquor itself and which has earned the distillery the “Virginia’s Finest” designation. “We’re able to provide a secondary market for the local growers,” he noted, adding that he hopes eventually to set up a grain mill and make flour on the property. Meanwhile, he’s providing his used corn mash to local farmers for use as hog feed.

And once word of the distillery gets out, Reavis hopes it will help draw visitors down U.S. Route 460 to the Disputanta-Waverly area, where they could also increase business for the antique shops and restaurants. “We’re all about helping develop Sussex County,” he said. “We’re looking to support other things, to collaborate to draw a bigger crowd. It’s all about creating a community of mutual support.”

Three Brothers Distillery’s products, including both its liquors and non-alcoholic items such as ball caps and drinking glasses with the company logo, are available for sale at the distillery, and the liquors can be ordered through Virginia ABC stores. The distillery and its tasting room are open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sundays by appointment.

To schedule a visit, call (757) 204-1357. For more information, including driving directions, visit

• Michael Buettner may be reached at or 722-5155.


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