3036 Church St., Pine Plains, New York 12567

Dutch's Spirits in Pine Plains

By Patti Vincent
4 Jul

Dutch’s Spirits History and their schedule of events for the Summer of 2017

I would like to share information about Dutch’s Sprits, which is here in Pine Plains. Below is a brief history behind the farm and I also wanted to share the events that will be happening over the summer.

 

 

Since the death of mobster Dutch Schultz in 1935, rumors have proliferated about the whereabouts of his buried treasure up near the craggy ranges of the Catskill Mountains– one of his favorite getaways. In 2010, a different kind of fortune was unearthed in the town of Pine Plains, New York. Unlike the many other searches made over the previous decades, here lay a find discovered almost eighty years earlier. Less than a mile from the town center stood a 400 acre swath of land known as Harvest Homestead Farm, owned and operated by the Adams family for generations. It was in the heart of this land, beneath a nondescript bunkhouse atop a hill, that the treasure was buried. It wasn’t the legendary suitcase of gold or cash. It wasn’t a trove of jewels or stacks of bonds. It was a find much more rare and valuable to its beholders. Discovered on this farm were the foundations of a sprawling complex – a clandestine distillery, the likes of which had never been seen before.

Financed by Schultz and built by rotating teams of local workers during the last gasps of Prohibition in the spring of 1932, this massive underground distilling operation produced thousands of gallons of moonshine against the idyllic backdrop of rural Pine Plains. Here, a sprawling network of interconnected tunnels, bunkers and false chimneys ensured, for short while at least, that detection by the authorities was avoided. The “hooch” was produced in an elaborate distillery cleverly secluded in an old cow barn, and constructed of steel reinforced concrete, valves, and pipes scattered throughout the property. Spring houses supplied water from underground aquifers, and a swimming pool served as a cooling reservoir. Tunnels spread throughout the farm, serving as secret passageways between the structures for its workers and as a means of speedy exit in case of trouble. An open secret to his own family, co-founder Alex Adams’s grandfather, Charles, worked the farm at the time as a young “potato harvester.”

Despite their best efforts, the production of moonshine in a sleepy country town did not escape detection. After numerous previous failed attempts, just after dusk on Monday, October 10, 1932, Federal agents raided the site. Among the items found were two 2,000 gallon stills in operation, two high pressure boilers, over 15,000 gallons of mash, 10,000 pounds of sugar, two Ford trucks, one Reo truck, and a Lincoln sedan. Two workers were arrested, and two days later, twelve federal agents returned to destroy all of the equipment seized.

Over the next 78 years, the farm would undergo many changes. Its owner, Patrick Ryan, was a retired New York City policeman, which may have played a part in his avoidance of prison for harboring the distillery. After the raid, he quietly reverted the property back to its turkey farm origins. A few years later, it was purchased by the German group, WDAN, turning the farm into an old age commune. Although they worked tirelessly raising corn, cows, pigs, horses and chickens, this too, did not last. The property then passed into the hands of those who managed it as a guest house and retreat, a butcher who converted one of the buildings into a slaughterhouse, and finally, in 1969, to Janet and Charles Adams, the same “potato harvester” who had worked at the distillery over thirty years earlier. For forty more years, the Adams family kept watch over the farm and its buried secrets. Then, in the spring of 2008, Charles’s grandson Alex Adams and close friend Ariel Schlein learned of the passage of the New York farm distillers’ law. They decided it was time to write another chapter in Dutch’s history.

In July 2011, after an extensive archaeological survey and review, the site was added to the New York State Archaeological Inventory as a “Bootleg Era Bunker Complex”, while the New York State Historic Preservation Office deemed it eligible for inclusion in the State and National Register of Historic places. Now, over eighty years later, Dutch’s Spirits is building a new distillery in the footprint of the original bunkhouse site, reviving the farmland, and restoring the bunkers for a rick house and museum that will help bring this rich history to light.

dutchs-newsbg2.jpg

dutchs-spirits-media-bg3.jpg

UPCOMING EVENTS @ DUTCH’S SPIRITS

From June- October look for us at the following Farmer’s Markets:
Saturdays:
9-1pm Millbrook
9-2pm in New Rochelle
8:30 – 2pm Tarrytown

Saturday July 8th – 8:00pm outdoor movie screening, Billy Bathgate, and food truck, Farmers and Chefs – Movie cost $10 food a la cate *please bring chair

Farmers & Chefs Food truck on site at 8. Movie will be shown at 9 on 10 feet screen against the historic Dutch Schultz bunker. $10 per person. Bring a blanket and chairs and sit out on the lawn under the stars. If inclement weather, screening will be moved indoors. See a movie about Dutch Schultz on a site he created. The movie is about a teen in 1935 who finds first love while becoming the protege of fledging gangster Dutch Schultz. Based loosely on the organized crime syndicates of the 20’s and 30’s, Billy Bathgate is the story of a young man’s rise from gopher to right hand man in Dutch Schultz’ gang. Having been impressed by the youth, Schultz takes him under his wing so to speak. Billy soon finds himself in a world where wealth and fortune live next door to danger and death.

July 20th: Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for One Year Anniversary

July 21st: 6pm Comedy Night

Saturday July 29th: Prohibition and Mobsters Trivia Night

Saturday August 5th: Twisted Cabaret, dinner-theater $60pp RSVP required

Saturday August 12th: 1pm: Essential Oils Class- Free

Saturday & Sunday October 7th & 8th: 12:00-5:00PM Path Through History

Friday October 13th: 2017, History Tavern Trail Event

Saturday October 14th: 12:00 – 5:00PM Mid-Hudson Etsy Makers Pop-Up Boutique

Sunday October 15th: 4 – 6pm – Chaine/CIA Invite only event

Sunday November 5th: 2pm – Candle making workshop $10

 

FUTURE EVENTS, DATES TBD: 

Reading of Play about Prohibition

Nature Walk

Hot Air Balloon Launches

Preserving Class

Chef’s Farm to Table

Candle Making Workshop

 

Please contact us at 518-398-1022 with any questions!

By Patti Vincent

Leave a Reply