Our Story

Tenmile Distillery is focused on making hand-crafted single malt whisky, gin, and vodka the way they were intended to be made, cutting no corners and using only the best ingredients.

Master distiller, Shane Fraser has extensive experience producing handmade, small-batch whisky and before coming to Tenmile, he served as Master Distiller for Wolfburn Distillery, the most northerly malt whisky distillery in Scotland. The single malt he made for Wolfburn has already won a number of prestigious awards. We have tasked Shane with developing an innovative, unique New York State whisky, made in the Scottish style.

We have worked hard to source everything locally and it pleases us enormously that in an ideal year all the wheat and barley grain is grown by local farmers in Dutchess or Columbia Counties. (In a non-ideal year all the wheat or barley is still grown in NY State, we’ve just been forced to go outside our 30-mile local radius due to the vagaries of nature.)

John Dyson, Owner and Chairman

When John Dyson was 15, his parents bought a farm in Millbrook, New York. It was at Spring Hill Farm that John baled hay, drove tractors and developed a love of life on the land that has shaped and guided his choices to this day. The greater Millbrook area has had the benefit of his thoughtful care and effort for 60 years and he has made an indelible mark, from creating the Millbrook Winery, to helping conserve and preserve the land. The Dyson Family is starting on their fourth generation in and around Millbrook and we hope there will be many more to come!

John attended Cornell University and studied Agricultural Economics and afterwards went to the Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy at Princeton. Since then, John has alternated between public service and private business. He served as Agriculture Commissioner, Commissioner of Commerce, and Chairman and CEO of the Power Authority. While in charge of the Commerce Department, John commissioned the famous “I love New York” ad campaign to promote tourism in New York.

He has also created, refurbished and “managed-up” a globe-spanning roster of wineries, the most well known of which is Williams Selyem in California, which makes a world-renowned Pinot Noir. John was instrumental in the 1976 Farm Winery Act, which served as the blueprint for the 2008 Farm Winery, Distillery and Brewery Act, supporting local agriculture with sound public policy. With this latest venture, John is paying tribute to his Scottish roots, the love of farming he got from his grandfather Lewis MacGregor, and to his own lifetime of public service to New York State.

Joel LeVangia, Owner and General Manager

Joel LeVangia was born and raised in Kingston, New York. He has worked on large-scale political campaigns, large-budget Hollywood films, and for a real estate development firm in New York City. Now teamed up with his father-in-law, John Dyson, Joel has delivered a working, modern single-malt whisky distillery – installing it into a beautiful old dairy barn expertly renovated by architect Allan Shope. Tenmile Distillery is the result of many years of hard lessons in doing things the right way.

Shane Fraser, Master Distiller

Shane grew up just outside Aberdeen, Scotland and started his career at Royal Lochnagar in 1990. He has since worked at Oban (2004), Glenfarclas (2007) and most recently a startup distillery: Wolfburn (2012). Shane was Distillery Manager there and was able to develop the type of whisky he wanted to produce, in the way he wanted to produce it. Wolfburn has since won many awards – its first Gold medals in 2016, and continues to impress. Expectations are high, but great things should be expected of Shane’s ability and Tenmile’s commitment to quality.

Shane’s first new make for Tenmile was produced and barreled in January 2020, and will be ready for consumption on 2023. He is making the best spirit he can by taking his time and carefully returning to the fundamental tenets of single-malt whisky distillation. Using 100% New York Grain grown locally by New York State farmers, and taking great care at every step of the process – everything is done with thought and attention. Our fermentations are nearly 7 days, distillations are slow too, taking the full working day for both wash and spirit runs. Shane has been tasked with producing a world class spirit using his knowledge and experience of traditional small batch whisky making techniques.

Cole Peck, Distiller

Cole’s journey into the beverage industry began at Appalachian State University where he received a Bachelors of Science in Fermentation Sciences and a Minor in Chemistry and Business. While attending college, he worked as a Production Assistant for two vintages at Grandfather Vineyards in Banner Elk, NC. Making small batches of wine in the mountains of Western North Carolina began his fascination with the art of fermentation. After graduation, he moved to the Hudson Valley to begin working as the Assistant Winemaker for Millbrook Vineyards and Winery. During this time, he experienced winemaking on a larger scale as well as the craft of creating many different styles of wine. At the start of the distillery project, he seized the opportunity of helping to build Tenmile Distillery from the ground up. Here he is learning the tradition of Single Malt production.

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The singular purpose of Tenmile Distillery is to produce a world-class single malt whisky out of highest-quality local ingredients through the careful use of traditional methods and a fanatical attention to detail.