It’s been a while since we’ve been able to hop a flight to some exotic overseas locale to revel in the stimulation of new perspectives, flavors, and people. Many of us are craving novel experiences and, luckily the Hudson Valley has so many enticing destinations that are in proximity. No flight required! Among them is The Hudson House New York – a waterfront craft distillery that opened in September 2021 in West Park.
When you arrive, you’ll be greeted by panoramic views of the Hudson River. A former monastery is home to this recently opened distillery, which crafts ultra-premium, limited batch spirits. The majestic, Italian Villa-style building is situated on 27 acres, dotted with trees and walking trails that meander down to the water. Indulge in the beauty of the green hues of the lawn, which offer a striking contrast to the azure shades of the flowing river and daytime sky.
Built in the 1850s, The Hudson House most recently served as a 100-year-old monastery. In 2015, co-founders Paul Seres, COO and Charles Ferri, CEO of The Hudson House switched things up. They became the fourth proprietors to hold the title to the building in more than 150 years. The Vatican had to approve the sale of the property. From start to finish, it was a six-year journey to launch the business.
Seres and Ferri shared a vision to create a destination distillery – one that would produce fine spirits, but also double as a magical venue for events. “When we found this location, it checked off so many boxes, including a hotel. It’s such an iconic property in such an ideal location,” said Paul Seres.
Beyond operating as a distillery, The Hudson House offers a grand event space – the perfect backdrop for all types of fetes. A boutique hotel is slated to launch within the next few years.
In keeping with the tradition of the original Italian villa revival style of architecture, Seres and Ferri committed to restoring and maintaining the property to showcase the original character while modernizing the property’s look and feel.
The venue currently boasts a spacious deck offering unobstructed views of the river and historic landmarks such as the Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site and the historic Hyde Park Station. It’s the perfect place to spend as summer afternoon or evening.
Seres and Ferri certainly recognized potential in this stunning, serene riverside locale and the duo also shared a vision for the business. Prior to launching The Hudson House, Seres held many entrepreneurial roles. His resume highlights various stints in hospitality and branding.
Although Ferri’s career was steeped in banking, he is also the producer of Star Vodka – a premium craft vodka that was produced on the west coast and has now migrated east and evolved into Altair Vodka. The brand supports local businesses by utilizing grains from New York State.
Although the approval process from the Vatican was a simple feat, navigating the town’s approval process proved to be challenging at times. “In our early phases of development, we had a difficult time getting people to buy into our vision,” admitted Seres.
“We are truly on Holy ground. We have an old artesian well, which is tapped into a Catskill aquifer that flows with naturally soft water, which contains light minerals. It’s called ‘sweet’ water and is the foundation of all our spirits,” revealed Charles Ferri. This special water source sets The Hudson House apart from other craft distilleries and enhances both the aroma and taste of its spirits, while reducing the “heavy burn” associated with many other alcohol brands. The Hudson House is currently the only destination that offers its small collection of spirits, but that will change when Seres and Ferri ramp up production soon.
As demonstrated, Seres and Ferri certainly believe in supporting local businesses as well as other companies that produce ingredients and materials that are Made in America. They’re also proud to support US jobs. Most of the grains utilized in The Hudson House’s products also hail from the Empire State. Its elegant glass bottles are crafted in a 100-year-old factory in Pennsylvania. The factory uses top notch glass standards for its production.
“Sadly, most distilleries are sourcing glass overseas to save money. They’re using less expensive glass, but we feel that is not in the best interest of our customers and our business in creating luxury ultra-premium brands. Our labels are even made in Upstate New York,” said Ferri.
Cheers! The spirit portfolio
The Hudson House’s collection includes Black Creek NY Bourbon, which is crafted using a four-grain mash (which includes corn that touts a “non-GMO” standard, Empire rye, European wheat, and malted barley). It is aged for three-and-a-half years in heavy charred barrels. Infusing the local water makes for an incredibly smooth sipping bourbon. The suggested retail is $65 per bottle.
Another star is The Hudson House’s Black Creek Empire Rye – a “high rye” (which means it contains a high percentage of rye), which is generally very challenging to tone down due to the harsh spiciness that many ryes on the market exhibit.
The Hudson House’s smooth pour is achieved through a distillation process that lasts a minimum of five-and-a-half years. Heavy charred barrels are used in the process. “These factors, coupled with the dynamic weather in New York provide much better infusions of oak and char than a typical barrel from, say – Kentucky, to help settle our Rye into what we feel is one of the most pleasant rye whiskeys on the market,” said Ferri. The suggested retail is also $65 per bottle.
Finally, The Hudson House’s menu also offers Altair Vodka, which is crafted from non-GMO corn that hails from farms in Upstate, NY. A 12x micro distilling process is used to create the vodka – this means there are shorter distilling runs and they run more times, so the flavor is maintained while still achieving purification. After the sweet water is infused, Altair Vodka is transformed into a vodka unlike others on the market. The result is a vodka with a floral aroma and a flavor that is more like a gin with absolutely no harsh burn. The suggested retail is $49.
Look out for another bottle to be added to the mix – a Black Creek NY Bourbon Anniversario Special Edition, which will retail for $150. At press time, The Hudson House expected to launch this bottle in July. Stay tuned – a special event will be held in the new ballroom.
Of course, wines and beers are also offered at this waterfront hideaway. The Hudson House has partnered with the Millbrook Vineyards & Winery and Mill House Brewing Company to offer a portfolio of Hudson House branded wines and beer.
Taste the Hudson
Whether spirits enthusiasts are interested in sampling The Hudson House’s limited batch Black Creek Bourbon and Rye Whiskey, or they prefer to unwind with a glass of wine or beer, there’s a seat in the house for every libation lover.
Tasting rooms are located throughout the sprawling property. Tours take guests of The Hudson House through the distillery, which is in the cellar of the former monastery. All tours include a private tasting. Tastings can be enjoyed at any time during business hours and may be arranged via the website, thehudsonhouseny.com.
Those who are planning to host a party, gathering, reunion, wedding, or other celebration, may be interested in reserving The Hudson House for the occasion. Although the setting oozes ambiance, hosts can dial it up by bringing in their own cuisine, florals, and music. The venue has an in-house wedding planner and event director who will assist with all planning needs if hosts would prefer to leave the details to the experts.
The entire first floor of The Hudson House serves as an event space. It can accommodate cocktail receptions and events up to 300 people for standing room. “We are nearing completion of our ballroom, which will more than double our capacity for events,” said Seres. The elaborate ballroom – like all The Hudson House’s other spaces – will open onto a 4,000-square-foot deck.
Beyond the hotel, which is currently in the works, Seres and Ferri plan to have a dock installed next year, enabling boaters access to the property.
The Hudson House is open every Thursday and Friday from 3pm to 10pm and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 10pm for tours and tastings. Curbside pick-up is offered from Tuesday through Sunday, from 9am to 5pm.
To learn more about The Hudson House & Distillery, they are located at 1835 US Route 9W, West Park, NY. You can call them at (845) 834-6007 or visit them online at www.thehudsonhouseny.com.