April 17, 2014 By Michael Florio
A local resident is in the midst of launching a craft spirits company—aptly called Astoria Distilling Company.
Chris Murillo, a 35-year-old lawyer who has lived in the neighborhood since 2008, plans to produce his first product this summer—an “Old Tom” gin, which he will call “Queens Courage.”
Old Tom gin is different to the type of gin most people drink today. It is much sweeter and was particularly popular in England in the 1800s. The product is difficult to find today, since most companies have stopped producing it.
However, Murillo said that Old Tom gin is a great for making cocktails and predicts a revival.
“Any aficionado will tell you Old-Tom gin is necessary for any craft cocktails,” Murillo said. “It is a great tool for mixology and will be something new for this generation.”
Murillo said that he plans to sell “Queens Courage” by going store to store.
“It will literally be me walking into bars and liquor stores with a bottle saying ‘I’ve got something new, do you want to try it?’’ Murillo said. He will start selling in Astoria and then fan out from there.
Murillo got the idea for producing spirits after his friend started a brewery. He said that brewing interested him but he realized that there are so many people doing it..
However, “No one is distilling in Queens,” he said.
Murillo will be producing his product in Rochester, NY, at Black Button’s Distilling. He hopes to move production to Queens within a year.