Cemetery Gin: A Nevada-made spirit to die for
For more than seven years, Virginia City, Nevada, has been having fun with the “Cemetery Gin” name, using it as part of a tall tale from the Comstock’s rich mining days of the 1850s.
On Nevada Day, Oct. 31, the spoof becomes reality with the debut of Cemetery Gin, a home-grown Nevada spirit. Spearheaded by the Virginia City Tourism Commission, the gin is a product of Frey Ranch Estate Distillery, located in Fallon, where all the ingredients were grown, it was distilled and bottled. The product is distributed through Southern Wine & Spirits.
“The illusion of Cemetery Gin was an easy one to carry on, but we never really thought much of it past that until recent legislation in Nevada made distilling a possibility in the state,” Deny Dotson, tourism director for the Virginia City Tourism Commission, said. “We said, ‘what if,’ and the rest, as they say is history. We couldn’t have asked for better partners than the Frey family. They knew exactly what we were trying to accomplish and came up with a combination of ingredients that would make our Muckers proud. With the key ingredient being Nevada pine nuts, our goal is to make it a true signature piece for our town.”
A Nevada born spirit from the town that helped bring Nevada to statehood just over 150 years ago, the gin’s signature ingredient is Nevada pine nuts found exclusively from the region. The bottle design was birthed under the premise that it needed to stand out from other gin products and be highly desirable. Designed in deep black with gold accents, a peep-through window displays a vintage 1850s horse-drawn hearse.
“The excitement for the product was contagious. So much so that one of our business owners in town, Nick Guerra, donated one of his antique hearses to use in promoting the gin. It’s one of the best marketing tools we’ll have and we’re very grateful to Nick for all he did to restore the hearse.”
The official product unveiling will be during the Nevada Day Parade on Saturday, Oct. 31 in Carson City, complete with vintage hearse. A sampling event takes place that evening at the Haunting of the Opera House, a Halloween celebration at the historic Piper’s Opera House in Virginia City.
For a town with a population of approximately 800 and roots steeped in the late 1800s, marketing the town’s history is accomplished through the integration of modern marketing tactics. “We’re not one to shy away from opportunities to expand our reach to new visitors while enhancing the experience for those here using technology and unconventional methods,” Dotson said.
Over the last year, Virginia City has launched town-wide free Wi-Fi access, a refreshed mobile app available on iTunes and Google Play, surpassed 22,000 likes on Facebook and now has its own spirit.
For more details on Cemetery Gin including locations where it is served and available for sale, visit CemeteryGin.com.
“I think, ultimately, it was a great awareness for these restaurants and it kind of gave them a little boost for the week,” says Cheree Boteler, event organizer.