A. Smith Bowman Distillery logo with still.

A. Smith Bowman Distillery

  • USA, Virginia
  • 2019 Los Angeles International Spirits Competition, 2019 American Whiskey Masters Competition, 2019 New York World Wine & Spirits Competition,
  • https://www.asmithbowman.com/
Phone Number
  • (540) 373-4555
  • 1 Bowman Dr, Fredericksburg, VA 22408

History of A. Smith Bowman Distillery

A. Smith Bowman Distillery was established in 1934 by Abram Smith Bowman and his sons in Fairfax County, Virginia. The founding of the distillery coincided with the end of Prohibition in the United States, marking a new era for American spirits. The distillery began its operations by repurposing a dairy barn on the Bowman family’s Sunset Hills Farm into a distillation facility.
Early Production
The first years of the distillery were focused on producing whiskey. By 1937, A. Smith Bowman Distillery shipped its first batch of bourbon, signifying its formal entry into the American whiskey market. During this time, the distillery primarily served the local Virginia market.
Growth and Development
In the initial decades, the distillery grew under the management of the Bowman family. It gained a reputation for producing high-quality spirits, mainly focusing on bourbon. This period was significant in establishing the distillery’s footprint in the American whiskey industry.
Relocation and Expansion
Facing the need to expand and modernize, A. Smith Bowman Distillery relocated in the late 1980s to Spotsylvania County, near Fredericksburg, Virginia. This move was part of a larger plan to increase production capacity and to embrace new distilling technologies while maintaining the traditional distilling methods.
Modern Era
Today, A. Smith Bowman Distillery continues to operate as a notable player in the American spirits industry. It has maintained its commitment to producing high-quality bourbon and other spirits, combining traditional distilling methods with modern techniques.
Distillery Ownership
Initially a family-run business, the distillery underwent changes in ownership over the years. It is currently owned by the Sazerac Company, a large American spirits company, which acquired it in 2003. This acquisition has allowed the distillery to leverage broader distribution channels while retaining its unique distilling processes.
Distillery’s Legacy
A. Smith Bowman Distillery’s legacy is marked by its continuous commitment to quality and tradition in bourbon production. Its history is a significant part of the American whiskey narrative, illustrating the evolution of bourbon production through the 20th and into the 21st century.

A. Smith Bowman Distillery’s history is deeply rooted in the American tradition of bourbon making. From its humble beginnings on a family farm to its current status as a renowned producer of fine spirits, the distillery has remained an integral part of Virginia’s and America’s distilling heritage.

Awards Won by A. Smith Bowman Distillery

2019 Los Angeles International Spirits Competition:

Isaac Bowman Port Barrel Finished Virginia Straight Bourbon: “Best of Category Bourbon with a Unique Finish” and Gold Medal.
Bowman Brothers Small Batch Virginia Straight Bourbon, Tinkerman’s Citrus Supreme Gin, Tinkerman’s Sweet Spice Gin, Tinkerman’s Curiously Bright & Complex Gin: Gold Medals.

2019 American Whiskey Masters Competition:

Bowman Brothers Small Batch Virginia Straight Bourbon, Isaac Bowman Port Barrel Finished Virginia Straight Bourbon, John J. Bowman Single Barrel Virginia Straight Bourbon: Gold Medals.

2019 New York World Wine & Spirits Competition (NYWSC):

Isaac Bowman Port Barrel Finished Virginia Straight Bourbon, Tinkerman’s Curiously Bright & Complex Gin, Tinkerman’s Sweet Spice Gin: Gold Medals.

2019 North American Bourbon & Whiskey Competition (NABWC):

John J. Bowman Single Barrel Virginia Straight Bourbon: Double Gold Medal.

2019 World Whiskies Awards:

Isaac Bowman Port Barrel Finished Virginia Straight Bourbon: Gold Medal.

2019 San Francisco World Spirits Competition:

John J. Bowman Single Barrel Virginia Straight Bourbon, Abraham Bowman Limited Edition Port Finished Bourbon Whiskey: Gold Medals.
Tinkerman’s Citrus Supreme Gin, John J. Bowman Single Barrel Virginia Straight Bourbon: Double Gold Medals.

2017 Whisky Magazine:

John J. Bowman Single Barrel Virginia Straight Bourbon: “World’s Best Bourbon.”

2016 and 2017 World Whiskies Awards:

A. Smith Bowman Distillery: “World’s Best Bourbon,” solidifying its status as Virginia’s Most Award-Winning Distillery.

A. Smith Bowman Distillery Tour Information and Experience
Overview of A. Smith Bowman Distillery

Virginia’s Heritage Distillery: Recognized as the oldest and most awarded distillery in Virginia, A. Smith Bowman Distillery, established in 1934, stands out for its rich history and acclaimed spirits.
Prestigious Awards: The distillery has earned notable accolades including “World’s Best Bourbon” in 2016 and 2017.

Tour Experience at A. Smith Bowman Distillery

Historical Insight: The tour begins with a detailed introduction to the distillery’s establishment, growth, and its pivotal role in Virginia’s spirit-making heritage.
The Art of Distilling: Visitors are taken through the distilling process, showcasing the importance of the distillery’s unique stills, Mary and George.
Barrel Aging Warehouse Exploration: A key highlight of the tour is the visit to the barrel aging warehouse, where guests learn about the aging process and its impact on the quality and flavor of spirits.
Spirit Tasting Session: The tour offers a guided tasting of the distillery’s spirits, available for those aged 21 and over. This provides an opportunity to taste award-winning bourbons and other spirits.
Museum and Gift Shop: The tour includes a visit to the on-site museum, offering a deeper understanding of the distillery’s history. The gift shop presents a variety of souvenirs and distillery products.

Tour Schedule and Details

Operating Hours:

Regular Hours: Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Complimentary Tours: Available hourly within the regular hours.

Closed on Major Holidays: The distillery is closed on Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.
Online Reservations Required: Visitors are encouraged to book their tours online in advance to ensure availability.

Additional Offerings

Group Tours: Group tours are available, with advance notification recommended for larger groups to enhance the experience.
Unique Event Venue: The distillery also serves as a distinctive venue for weddings and other events, offering a blend of industrial charm and the warmth of bourbon heritage.

The A. Smith Bowman Distillery tour presents a comprehensive and engaging experience, blending historical insights, hands-on exploration, and the pleasure of spirit tasting, suitable for enthusiasts and newcomers alike.
Flask & Barrel Review of A. Smith Bowman Distillery
I recently had the pleasure of visiting A. Smith Bowman Distillery, and I must say, it was quite an experience. As a whiskey collector who has toured numerous distilleries, I can confidently give this place a solid 4.7 out of 5.

First off, the location in Fredericksburg is quite charming. The distillery itself has a welcoming vibe, balancing modern facilities with a touch of historical ambiance. It’s clear they take pride in their heritage and the legacy of A. Smith Bowman.

The tour was insightful and not too lengthy, which I appreciated. Our guide was knowledgeable and engaging, sharing interesting anecdotes about the distillery’s history and the Bowman family. As someone who’s seen a fair share of tours, I found this one to be informative without being overwhelming.

Now, the tasting session was the highlight for me. I got to sample a variety of their spirits, including some of their award-winning bourbons like the John J. Bowman Single Barrel. The flavors were complex and satisfying, clearly showcasing the craftsmanship that goes into each bottle.

What I particularly admired was their experimental spirit. They’re not afraid to try new things, and it shows in their unique offerings like the Isaac Bowman Port Barrel Finished Bourbon. It’s a delightful twist on traditional bourbon, offering a richer, more nuanced taste.

The only slight downside, and the reason for my 4.7 rating, was the size of the tasting portions. I understand the need for moderation, especially when dealing with high-proof spirits, but a little more generosity would have been nice, given the variety they offer.
What To Do Nearby A. Smith Bowman Distillery
Fredericksburg’s Craft Beer Scene: A paradise for craft beer enthusiasts, the city boasts a vibrant craft beer culture. Key spots include Red Dragon Brewery, known for its artisanal brews, and Strangeways Brewing Fredericksburg, offering a unique array of flavors. Each brewery presents a distinctive atmosphere and selection, ideal for sampling local brews.

Historical Exploration at Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop: Step back in time at this museum showcasing 18th-century medical practices. It provides an intriguing glimpse into the medical history of the era, highlighting treatments by Dr. Hugh Mercer, a prominent figure in Fredericksburg’s past.

Artistic Retreat at Gari Melchers Home and Studio: Art enthusiasts can immerse themselves in the world of Gari Melchers, an American artist. The estate is not just a gallery but a journey through the artist’s life, showcasing his works, personal collections, and the beautiful surroundings that inspired him.

Nature’s Getaway at Alum Spring Park: This park is an ideal escape for those seeking tranquility and natural beauty. With its picnic areas, walking paths, and serene environment, it’s perfect for family outings or a peaceful stroll.

Wine Tasting at Bacchus Winery: Wine lovers can indulge in tastings and even participate in winemaking classes. Bacchus Winery offers a diverse selection of wines and gourmet foods, making it a must-visit for connoisseurs and enthusiasts alike.

Architectural and Historical Wonder at Chatham Manor: This historic mansion provides a window into the past with its stunning architecture and gardens. It’s not only a feast for the eyes but also a significant historical site with a rich narrative.

Presidential History at James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library: Dive into the life and legacy of the fifth U.S. President, James Monroe. The museum houses a comprehensive collection of his artifacts and documents, offering a deep insight into his presidency and contributions.

Exploring Downtown Fredericksburg: The heart of Fredericksburg is a blend of modern and historical charms. It’s a bustling area filled with shops, restaurants, and historical sites, offering a complete experience of the city’s culture and heritage.
Frequently Asked Questions
What restaurants are near A. Smith Bowman Distillery?
Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen: It has a rating of 4.2 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at (540) 548-2469. Their address is 3722 Plank Rd, Fredericksburg, VA 22407.

El Patron Mexican Restaurant: This restaurant has a rating of 4.6 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, their contact number is (540) 507-8277. The address is Patron #2, 9112 Old Battlefield Blvd Suite 112, Spotsylvania Courthouse, VA 22553.

El Pino Mexican Restaurant: It has a rating of 4.4 stars on Google Maps. You can contact them for reservations at (540) 548-4332. Their address is 4211 Plank Rd A, Fredericksburg, VA 22407.
What hotels are near A. Smith Bowman Distillery?
Hampton Inn & Suites Fredericksburg South: It has a rating of 4.4 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at (540) 898-5000. Their address is 4800 Market St, Fredericksburg, VA 22408.

Best Western Fredericksburg: This hotel has a rating of 4.1 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, their contact number is (540) 371-5050. The address is 2205 Plank Rd, Fredericksburg, VA 22401.

Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Fredericksburg: It has a rating of 4.0 stars on Google Maps. You can contact them for reservations at (540) 891-9100. Their address is 10330 Spotsylvania Ave, Fredericksburg, VA 22408.