Richmond-based moonshine maker Belle Isle Craft Spirits has introduced a new variety of moonshine and is planning an expansion of its production facility in Manchester.
The company’s Blood Orange Moonshine — a bright orange moonshine infused with citrus flavor — recently started arriving at ABC stores in Virginia and Maryland.
Although the official launch date for Blood Orange isn’t until Oct. 1, some ABC stores already put the moonshine on their shelves and have reported selling out quickly, said Belle Isle co-founders Vince Riggi and Brian Marks.
The company, founded in 2013, also recently signed a lease for more space adjacent to its current production facility and office at 615 Maury St. in Richmond’s Manchester area. The new space will double Belle Isle’s current size from 7,000 square feet to 14,000 square feet and provide more room for production and bottling.
“When we were road mapping our five-year production forecast, we realized that sooner rather than later we were going to need that additional space for production and efficiencies, tanks and bottling lines,” Riggi said. “It isn’t necessarily about needing it today, but being more proactive than reactive.”
Belle Isle’s moonshine brands are sold in 12 states, but the company is expecting to expand its distribution.
Blood Orange is one of several flavor-infused moonshine brands made by Belle Isle. The others are Honey Habanero, Ruby Red Grapefruit and Cold Brew Coffee. The company also makes straight moonshine that isn’t flavored.
Belle Isle put more than a year of research and testing into developing Blood Orange moonshine. Marks described it as “extremely versatile” — good for any occasion and good with a variety of mixes.
Riggi said Blood Orange was designed to appeal to a wider consumer base than its Honey Habanero and Ruby Red Grapefruit moonshines, which are its two best sellers.
Honey Habanero is popular, “but some people are averse to heat,” Riggi said.
With Blood Orange, “we wanted to find something that all of our fans can enjoy,” he said.
Gregg Brooks, Belle Isle’s production director, who worked on developing the new flavor, said he was aiming for something with a good balance of citrus aromas, tang and sweetness.
“You’ve got to make it accessible — that is the key thing,” he said. “I’m happy with the way it turned out.”