On October 10, 1932, the FBI descended on a secluded, pretty spot in quiet Pine Plains. The innocently named Harvest Homestead Farm was a cover for what might’ve been the most impressive operation of the entire bootlegging era. Owned by mobster Dutch Schultz, the property encompassed a warren of underground tunnels and bunkers where the Feds found two 2,000-gallon stills and 10,000 pounds of sugar.
On September 12, 88 years later, the property will at last open to the public, legally, as Dutch’s Spirits, and carefree guests at Harvest Homestead Farm will openly toast with an updated version of moonshine. If there’s an afterlife, surely that enigmatic gangster Dutch Schultz is grinning somewhere.
“The operation was only open for a year before the raid, but it was breathtaking in scope,” says owner Branden McAlpine says. “No living person knows the full extent of the tunnel system—I’m itching to get a remote control vehicle with a camera in there. The guys that worked for Dutch never had to see daylight and he didn’t want anyone seeing them. I don’t think there’s anything quite like this anywhere else on the continent.” (El Chapo might give ol’ Dutch a run for his money.)
The 400-acre farm is laced with OG mystique to uncover and cultivate—and McAlpine is obsessed. The previous owner, Ariel Schlein, had done some restoration and renovation on the property and built the current distillery. McAlpine knew he’d come across a potential tourism gem—prime real estate and a killer backstory (ha).
The first label from the new stills at the farm-to-bottle distillery will be an homage to one of Shultz's 1932 recipes, updated for modern palates. Dutch's Sugar Wash Shine, made with raw turbinado sugar, is an 80-proof liquor that can sub in for light rum or even vodka. “It’s not what most people would associate with moonshine,” says McAlpine. “It’s not rocket fuel. It’s very drinkable on its own.” The nose bears aromas of cut grass and rich butterscotch. Succulent vanilla and grapefruit notes envelop the mouth and a medley of tropical fruit and maple flavors linger in a pleasantly long and smooth finish.