Clayton Distillery to Expand Its Product Line with Flavored Liqueurs, Limoncello

August 29, 2013

by Timothy W. Scee II
Special to

The end of summer marks a new beginning for Clayton Distillery as new liqueurs will be hitting its shelves possibly as early as the weekend. 

Owner Michael L. Aubertine, who opened the farm distillery at 40164 Route 12 in April, said Clayton Distillery will be adding flavored vodka, strawberry rhubarb liqueur and limoncello to its product line.

“Business has been good or better than we expected,” Mr. Aubertine delightfully said Tuesday while he worked in the distilling room, portioning small amounts of ingredients to tweak the sweetness of his strawberry rhubarb liqueur recipe.

Clayton Distillery decided to start producing the new liqueurs as their popularity has rapidly grown throughout Northern and Central New York, according to the entrepreneur.

“The limoncello is really popular down in the Finger Lakes,” Mr. Aubertine said of the liqueur, especially popular in Italy and typically made with lemons and simple syrup. “For the liqueurs we have to have a formula approved by the federal government.”

Approval came last Wednesday from the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, which operates under the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Clayton Distillery’s farm distillery license requires at least 75 percent of its raw materials be purchased within New York State.

“Most of the vodka and the gin are 100 percent corn,” Mr. Aubertine said. “The bulk of what we use is corn.”

The owner certainly does not have to travel far for ingredients, he said, as the grains used at the distillery are grown on the Cape Vincent farm owned by his parents, Terry and Linda Aubertine.

The addition of liqueurs will add some fresh choices for customers only familiar with the distillery’s current products that include gin, vodka and moonshine which are made in three or four 440-gallon batches at a time.

“Everything is made in the same machine,” Mr. Aubertine said. “Right now we just have a little bit of a break in the schedule because we’re trying to get that bottled next week.”

Clayton Distillery will roll out the new liqueurs gradually over the next couple of weeks.

“The limoncello will be rolling out this Saturday probably, the rhubarb a week and a half and flavored vodka in three weeks,” Mr. Aubertine said.

Due to the amount of liquor manufactured at Clayton Distillery and a new local distribution partnership with Eagle Beverage Co., the distillery has not been able to bring some of its initial ideas into fruition.

One of the distillery’s original proposals was to create goods, including hand sanitizer, from the byproducts of distillation.

“Basically our hands are so full with what we have right now,” Mr. Aubertine said.

In addition to producing new liqueurs, Clayton Distillery is also looking forward to appealing to bourbon drinkers early next year.

“We’re going to making 1,000 gallons of bourbon during the months of September of October and getting that into barrels,” Mr. Aubertine said. “Our first batch of bourbon will actually be ready by spring.”

The distillery will utilize 12 traditional oak barrels and smaller five-gallon barrels which will speed up the aging process.

Clayton Distillery is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 12 p.m. through 5 p.m. Sunday.  

More information can be found at

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