MurLarkey Distilled Spirits: A Family Business

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By Amy Falkofske

On Friday, May 19, Bristow-based MurLarkey Distilled Spirits held a media event that started with an overview of the company’s history by general manager Jim Larkin. That was followed by a tour of the distillery and topped off with a tasting of the distillery’s fine quality spirits.

Larkin explained how MurLarkey started with “a bunch of Irish kids who grew up in New England.”  Larkin was the first to migrate down to Virginia in pursuit of a career in golf, but built a second career for himself when he joined his cousin, Tom and his brother, Mike in the distilling business.

“The story behind MurLarkey is about family and Irish roots,” said Larkin. In fact, the name MurLarkey, which is a play on the Irish word malarkey, is a combination of three family names, Murry, Larkin and Kelly.  Larkin’s brother, Mike Larkin and their cousin, Tom Murry, started the company a little over two years ago. The name Kelly comes from their grandparents.

Larkin told the story of his grandparents distilling years ago in Ireland. They made a potato-based whiskey called Poutin (poo-teen), the recipe for which was passed down to their grandchildren. That was the start of the product that MurLarkey produces today.

Attendees were next treated to an overview of the distilling process and a look at the distilling equipment by MurLarkey’s head distiller, Jesse Puckett. Currently, Puckett is working on a batch of one of MurLarkey’s whiskeys called Brutality.

“Each batch of Brutality is going to be radically different. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. We only bottle it a barrel at a time. There are about 230 to 260 bottles per barrel,” said Puckett.

Puckett also talked about some of the other spirits that the distillery has made and is working on.

“We’re constantly working on new products. We’re constantly trying new things,” he said.

Puckett pointed out that all of MurLarkey’s spirits are bottled and labeled right in the distillery and revealed plans for the company to expand into the rest of the building that it occupies in its Bristow location.

Next George Zwetkow, MurLarkey’s product master who is affectionately known as “Papi” and is Mike Larkin’s father-in-law, guided attendees through a tasting of MurLarkey’s spirits.

MurLarkey Distilled Spirits is a Certified Craft Distilled Spirit producer, recognized and certified by the American Distilling Institute, according to its website, The company has also won many awards for its products including a gold medal this year from the American Distilling Institute for its Divine Clarity vodka.

MurLarkey products are distributed in 80 ABC stores in Virginia. They are also found in Prince William restaurants such as Grafton Street and Jimbos Grill & BBQ in Gainesville, and City Grille, CJ Finz and El Cactus in Manassas. It addition, they are served at Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow.

MurLarkey is located on 7961 Gainsford Court in Bristow and is open for tours and tastings on certain days and times. For more information, go to


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