The BHAKTA Philosophy
BHAKTA Spirits is built on a simple, optimistic premise: the world abounds with treasures. We seek these treasures - forgotten spirits, decrepit properties - with an eye for overlooked quality and latent potential. Our search spans continents and centuries. Our foundation rests on Four Pillars: we seek the Rare and the Exquisite, in the service of Value and Purpose.
An Adventure of Acquisition
The acquisition of our flagship Armagnac began, as many good things do, with a Cadillac. In the summer of 2008, our founder Raj Peter Bhakta traversed the countryside of southwestern France in an Escalade as wide as many of the local roads. He knew this by reputation to be a land of reclusive, overlooked craft spirits. The reality left him flabbergasted.
Pastoral craft and an unswerving dedication to quality: here, production reflected the traditions of bygone times, and a path to a better future, abjuring the standardization and industrial production that had overtaken much of the distilled spirits industry. Half a lifetime in the spirits industry, both as an occasionally prolific consumer and as a pioneering business owner, convinced Raj that old Armagnac was the best - and that it could be better.
A faded dynasty was selling its estate, and Raj was buying. They’d guarded their wares too zealously, or perhaps precisely enough - truly ancient spirits awaited a finishing flourish. Exchanging part of his fortune from the sale of WhistlePig, in return he received the brandy, cellars, and entire chateau. And now, he’s sharing them with the world.
The Four Pillars
We are intrigued by the RARE. Only the elusive is alluring, and only the uncommon can be distinctive. The level of craft we demand precludes the mass-produced.
Scarcity alone is insufficient – we pursue the EXQUISITE. Life is too short for simple swill, and too hard for ostentatious austerity. Live well.
An ancient spirit is an appreciating asset. History suggests that a limited release will eventually sell for many times its original value (business tip: buy a bottle to drink and one to save).
Though occasionally quixotic, we do everything with PURPOSE. The goal of BHAKTA Spirits is Revival: of overlooked spirits, of decrepit farms, and more! We aim for excellence, not mere wealth.
Though our ambitions in the realm of fine spirits are vast, we see beyond the ephemeral. Field by field, stone by stone, we are revitalizing farms, businesses, and communities. We begin at our properties (three as of this writing).
The Shoreham Farm
Established in 1785, the Rich Farm in Shoreham (named for its founder Thomas Rich) encompasses 700 acres of rolling fields and woodlots in Vermont’s Champlain Valley. Once the prosperous home of an innovative agriculturalist and five-term U.S. Congressman, it had fallen into disrepair. Today, the grand farmhouse has been restored and the fields planted with grapes and grain.
An 18th century mansion in the heart of France’s Armagnac region, it most recently passed five generations in the Ryst-Dupeyron family. Now in the first generation of Bhaktas, Raj has begun the painstaking task of restoring baroque glory (and yes, a touch of ostentation) to the abode of the oldest spirits known to man.
The Griswold Campus
Built as a college in 1834, the campus has 22 buildings comprising over 400,000 square feet, and is anchored by the mythical Griswold Library. What are we doing with a college campus? Visit us in Poultney, Vermont and find out.
A fair question: why bother restoring something old when you could build something entirely new? Any builder will tell you that it is far harder and more costly to renovate an old house than it is to simply tear one down and start afresh. Why incur that cost and struggle? History.
Our past is the foundation of our present, and offers lessons for our future. There is a certain prescience in antiquity that offers profound wisdom to those willing to listen. We hope you will join us in pausing.
Slow down. Sip your drink; don’t swig it like a brute. All ground is hallowed if you know who has come before you. Their trials can spare us our own errors. We honor history by preserving it, and we honor it by building it. We will not sit by in idle comfort and anonymity. (Raj faced that choice, and declined - taking a fortune that could have lasted a lifetime and investing it in BHAKTA Spirits.) Yes, there is a cost to restoring the old, but there is a far greater cost to discarding it.