Ryen Van Hall – Founder/Distiller
Ryen Van Hall was born and raised in Saratoga Springs with hometown pride. His dream was to open a distillery in Saratoga. Saratoga is rich in history and is home to the world famous Saratoga spring waters. The iconic Saratoga Spring Water Company is Upstate’s neighbor on Geyser Road, which made the 12,000-square foot facility an ideal location to open a distillery! Ryen has enormous pride for his town, and hopes Saratoga will take pride in the distillery.
Ryen’s background is in the scrap metal business, so he’s accustomed to working in an industrial setting. Wanting to combine those skills with his creativity, Ryen sought to produce a product that complements Saratoga’s rich history and culture. People have been coming to Saratoga Springs for over a century for its famous waters. The Spa City’s famed water can be found from New York to California. Blinders vodka is made with Saratoga water and organic New York-grown grains. Ryen invites everyone to taste Saratoga’s unique mineral waters, as well as Upstate’s handcrafted spirits!
Glenna Joyce – Chemist
Originally from Marblehead, MA, Glenna studied Biochemistry and Health & Exercise Sciences at Skidmore College. During her time at Skidmore, Glenna took classes in biochemistry, organic chemistry, and food chemistry. In addition, she participated in research on the effects of alcohol on neurological membrane proteins and co-authored a lab manual for a freshman seminar about the properties of ethanol.
With a great passion for food science and a love for Saratoga Springs, Glenna enthusiastically accepted a position at Upstate Distilling Co. soon after graduation in 2016. In her free time, Glenna loves dancing and rock climbing as well as enjoying fine spirits with friends and family. She is excited to be working at Upstate Distilling Co. where the best spirits are produced in all of Saratoga County.
Todd Gordon – Minority Owner / Director of Marketing
Originally from Queensbury, NY, Todd joined the team with a minority ownership to assist Upstate Distilling’s business strategy, marketing, and sales. Todd attended St. Lawrence University in upstate New York where he studied economics and competed on its D1 alpine ski racing team. After college, Todd pursued a career in the investing world, which led him to a career on Wall Sreet. Today Todd runs his own investing strategy and trade advisory business from his home office. Todd is an on-air contributor to CNBC and has appeared regularly since 2008. Todd brings his financial experience to Upstate Distilling to assist with marketing, sales, and distribution strategy.
“When the opportunity to join the Upstate Distilling team became available, I jumped on it immediately. Saratoga’s rich history and culture, a world famous location within a few miles of the Saratoga Race Track, Saratoga Performing Arts Center, the Saratoga Mineral Water company, and a bustling night life of downtown Saratoga, I knew it was time to reconnect with my upstate roots. Ryen’s vision to operate the first distillery in Saratoga since Prohibition was perfectly in line with the booming international bull market in handcrafted American spirits. American whiskey is taking an increasing amount of market share from the more traditional Scotch whiskey. Not only will Upstate become the premier spirits maker of the north country, but within a few years I expect to see our products available on the international market. I have high hopes for our business and encourage you to stop in to see the amazing progress our team has made. Feels great to be back home.”