KO Distilling now open in Manassas Virginia 32


Have you ever dreamed of opening your own business? I know we have a few ideas in our own family hoping to one day open a food truck or a restaurant.  A few weeks ago we had the pleasure of meeting Bill Karlson and John O’Mara, two college classmates who became lifelong friends.  Bill and John just had their dreams come true when KO Distilling celebrated their grand opening.  Their long time vision just became a reality with the grand opening of KO Distilling in Manassas Virginia.  This brand new attraction, a true labor of love, is the perfect destination for any visitor to Virginia.  Why is it called KO Distilling?  Combine the first letters of Bill and John’s last names and you have the KO.  We recently had a walking tour of KO Distilling and it was fascinating.  Who knew how complicated it was to make spirits?  Bill and John had been dreaming of opening a craft distillery since their days spent together in the Merchant Marine Academy.  We learned about the entire process, stage by stage, the state and national level regulations, and wow, the process is really complicated.  But in the end it is all worth it.  This new location allows them to both create their products as well as have a sample room (which doubles as an ABC location so you can buy bottles and merchandise right there) a small bar, a comfortable couch, tvs and get together areas.  Our behind-the-scenes tour of the facility was fantastic and so informative. We were so impressed with the amount of care and quality that goes into the making of their spirits.  This 550 gallon Vendome copper pot still is worth the trip alone!



KO is currently distilling 8-10 new barrels of bourbon each month using local corn, wheat, rye and malted barley. They are taking the farm to table movement seriously, in the form of grain to glass.  Every ingredient that they use is locally sourced.  As they create their new products they are being stored in brand new charred American Oak barrels and will remain there for 6-8 years before they eventually bottle them. The smell of the oak barrels is earthy and woody, you can even smell some of the bourbon that manages to find a way out – the angel’s share.  Pictured below you can see Barrel #1 which is signed by the owners and will be ready for tasting before you know it.  The room where they are storing their barrels has space for over 700 and they are ramping up production to fill that space.  It really is quite a sight to see the barrels all stacked up waiting for their time to come.  The barrels themselves have quite a story.  Quality oak barrels are not easy to come by and there are very few producers out there.  Barrels are essential to the process for a variety of reasons – the wood removes unpleasant compounds like sulphur, it adds flavor from the charred wood, and the porous nature allows the whiskey to interact with the atmosphere which enhances the flavor even more. As Bill and John began to look for the barrels they would need, they kept running into roadblocks and found out that it would take them months if not years to obtain the barrels.  They decided to take a more direct approach and went to meet directly with a barrel producer who, impressed with their tenacity, agreed to produce the barrels they needed to get started.

Barrel #1 – see you in 6-8 years!



KO Distilling has three products currently for sale.

  • Code 27910 – Virginia Moon White Whiskey – 750ml – $30.80 per bottle
  • Code 29314 – Battle Standard 142 Navy Strength – 750ml – $35.00 per bottle
  • Code 29316 –  Battle Standard 142 Standard Strength – 750ml – $33.50 per bottle
I tried all of these products at the Grand Opening.  I’m generally not a big fan of gin, but the smell of both of the gins was intoxicating (pun intended).  The Navy Strength Gin was smoother and obviously stronger than the Standard strength version.  Both were flavorful, fragrant and easy to drink.  The White Whiskey was clean and smooth with a very nice kick to it.  I am looking forward to seeing these products on store shelves in Virginia in the near future.  Please bring the codes above so you can special order them at your local VA ABC store.


KO Distilling would be the perfect destination for a Girls Night Out, a Bachelor or Bachelorette Party, or a Guys Night Out if you live in DC Metro Area.  Stop by on a Sunday and you can catch one of the Football games on a big screen.  You can even get a nice limo to bring you to KO Distilling as well as some close by vineyards. What a wonderful time you will have.  Don’t you just want to sit back and relax right here?  The lounge is comfortable and inviting, filled with copper and oak, just waiting for you to visit.

There is an incredible painting on the wall, done by Nathan Loda, a local George Mason University graduate student.  You need to see the intricate details of this painting for yourself. It is ia great mix with parts of the civil war along with KO Distilling.  Not only is this a manufacturing plant, but it is a wonderful destination, right next to one of the most visited Civil War battlefields.  KO Distilling hopes to have more than 25,000 visitors a year, don’t be left out!


There are many ways that you can keep up to date with all the exciting things happening at KO Distilling.

“Like” their Facebook Page here.

Follow them on Twitter here.

Catch their recent photos on Instagram here.

or visit them for a tour and a tasting at 10381 Central Park Drive Suite 105 Manassas VA 20110.


KO Distilling has a one time only program for you to join.  Each PlanKOwner member will receive 20% off all distillery merchandise until August 2016, unlimited free tours of the facility, 1 free guest each visit until August 2016, a PlanKOwner challenge coin, invitations to private events, a PlanKOwner hat and t shirt, their name on the PlanKOwner plaque & webpage for life, a PlanKOwner certificate and card as well as a newsletter.  This is a one time only program, don’t delay.


We had so much fun at the Grand Opening Festivities.  Tours and tastings were plentiful.  Live music was enjoyed by all the attendees.  The kids enjoyed amazing face painting.  Food trucks fed the hungry visitors.  All of the grand opening visitors received a cool souvenir, a KO Distilling shot glass.  A local vineyard was also in attendance sampling their bottles of wine.  It was so much fun and wonderful to see that hard work and dedication pay off.

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KO Distilling in Manassas Virginia is now officially open!  How often can you take a walking tour and see how a product is made?  KO Distilling is currently hosting walk-in tours of the distillery  for $6 per individual (You must be at least 21 years old).  We were fortunate enough to be able to take this tour before the grand opening and it is definitely worth your time.  We learned more than we ever thought there was to know and we now have a new appreciation of both the process and the amount of care that goes into the making of each product.  When you find yourself near Manassas make sure you make a trip over to KO for a tour and tasting.

  • Tuesday-Friday: 1:00-6:00 p.m.
  • Saturday: 12:00-7:00 p.m.
  • Sunday: 1:00-6:00 p.m.

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