Lake Life: Franklin County Distilleries

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BOONES MILL, Va. (WDBJ7) - If you’re spending a lot of time at Smith Mountain Lake this summer, there might be a good reason to take a short drive away from the water.

Franklin County Distilleries is a fairly new place to check out, and it’s located in Boones Mill.

Andy Lumsden is born and raised in Franklin County. And now he’s living his childhood dream.

“I turn grain and fruits into alcohol,” Lumsden said.

He’s the distiller at Franklin County Distilleries.

“I even did a report in high school about what I wanted to be when I grow up, and it was to be a distiller. I remember my teacher telling me that that wasn’t a true profession, and now look where I am,” he said.

The stories he grew up hearing about moonshining are what hooked him.

“The cat and mouse chase…that’s the part that intrigued me the most. The chase. The car races and the running at night without headlights. It was just fascinating to me.”

His job may not be like those stories, but he’s making whiskey, rum, and brandy for his friends, family, and community.

“The coolest part of the job is taking raw ingredients and turning into a highly sought after valuable product. It’s very rewarding,” Lumsden said. “And getting to interact with the community, and having people I grew up with, and friends and family come in and be able to watch me distill and sit down and have a drink with them, that’s very rewarding as well,” said Lumsden.

Franklin County Distilleries uses everything local. They’re getting ready to open a kitchen this summer as well, but of course, customers come for one reason.

“Our 140 proof rye drinks like an 80 proof. The trick to that is distilling that really, really, really, slow, and keeping cold water in my condenser. It helps keep it really, really smooth, and then I put it on the wood. It ages it, it mellows it out. Takes that fire out of it. People love it, it’s our best seller here,” he said.

Which is why he says business has been pretty good since it opened a year and a half ago.

“I’m helping keep a tradition alive.”

Check Franklin County Distilleries out at 25156 Highway 220, Boones Mill, Va. 24065, call 540-334-1610, or visit the website: http://franklincountydistilleries.com/ .