Crafting one-of-a-kind spirits isn’t a simple process; it’s a an artform ignited by burning passion. MurLarkey Distilled Spirits, with a commitment to sourcing grains from the Northern Neck, oak barrels from Roanoke, and malted barley from Sperryville, is meticulously creating a Virginia-specific legacy.
Uniting these carefully selected elements back in Prince William County, the MurLarkey team ages their products in the open, embracing the humid summers and chilly winters—infusing every sip with the essence of Virginia.
Having marked a decade in business, the company's journey has evolved into curating an unparalleled experience for patrons. In a significant step forward, they are set to relocate and expand to a expansive 25,000-square-foot production facility and restaurant, nestled at the heart of Innovation Park on the Farm Brew LIVE campus in Manassas this year.
Cracking open a barrel of aged whiskey is an unparalleled experience—a symphony of caramels, cherries, and tobacco notes that gracefully dance through the air. In contrast to the traditional scotch smoke, MurLarkey whiskey boasts a distinctive profile—a tribute to the intricate tapestry woven by Virginia's dynamic seasonal temperature cycles.
"In the summertime, it can be 150 degrees in [our] metal shipping container," says Kevin Szady, head distiller. "The pores in the wood open and the whiskey goes deep through the char into that oak. When it gets cold, those pores close and push that whiskey out. By having those extreme cycles of hot to cold, we get very complex flavors."
Yet, the dedication to craftsmanship extends beyond the barrel's edge. Within the MurLarkey tasting room, a sense of camaraderie prevails. Here, patrons can often find George "Papi" Zwetkow, the master distiller, meticulously crafting infusions and artisanal drinks to delight and captivate the senses.
"When we started out this business, our goal was to create quality spirits and to be a top Virginia producer," says Jim Larkin, co-founder and COO. "What it evolved into is truly an experience for folks to come in and to enjoy some craft cocktails and the warmth of the family business."
In the past years, the team began to discern the potential for growth on the horizon. Actively seeking opportunities to expand, they discovered a promising partnership with the Farm Brew LIVE campus, signifying the next pivotal chapter in their journey.
In June 2023, the Prince William Board of County Supervisors approved a matching $250,000 Economic Development Opportunity Fund grant toward their expansion, which supports $8.1 million in capital investment and more than 40 new agritourism jobs in the county.
“This is more than just a second career for us; it's our namesake and it’s our legacy,” says Tom Murray, co-founder and CEO. “We want MurLarkey to be the basecamp for the Virginia Spirits trail. This is a very strategic location, and we have some fantastic craft distilleries here in Virginia.”
In January 2024, Governor Youngkin appointed Murray to the Virginia Spirits Board. Murray's position on the board is positioned to enhance the state's spirits landscape, promoting continuous excellence and innovation in the crafting and promotion of spirits proudly made in Virginia.
"You really need to love what you’re doing when you’re crafting a great spirit,” says Szady. “If you don’t have passion, it is not going to come through in the end product.”
Established in 2013 by brothers Mike and Jim Larkin and their cousin Tom Murray, MurLarkey Distilled Spirits is a family-owned business that exclusively uses Virginia-grown corn, rye, and barley to produce award-winning spirits, reflecting the founders' Irish heritage. They embrace sustainable practices through its Farm to Flask® initiative, sourcing 100% of raw materials from Virginia growers and providing spent grain to local farmers for livestock feed, thus reducing waste and supporting the local agricultural community.
Since its inception, MurLarkey Distilled Spirits has challenged conventions in the spirits industry. Pioneering an all-natural method which has become the standard-bearer for the craft industry, MurLarkey Distilled Spirits consistently delivering a diverse range of handcrafted, award-winning spirits.