Columbus' Spirit Scene is Rising
April 1, 2011
Today’s post is written by one of our interns, David Jolly, who is a junior at Ohio Dominican University studying public relations. _____________________
Distilleries disappeared in Ohio during the pre-prohibition era, but within the past year two micro-distilleries opened for business in Greater Columbus. With the addition of Middle West Spirits and Watershed Distillery, Columbus can now proudly serve its own vodkas, gin, whiskey and in 2013 its very own Bourbon.
Middle West Spirits
Middle West Spirits is now Central Ohio’s first and only true “grain-to-bottle” micro-distillery. Co-Owners Ryan Lang and Brady Konya produce OYO Vodka and OYO Whiskey. Ryan’s a third generation home distiller and his grandmother was even arrested for bootlegging during prohibition. He and Brady met after the two were relocated to Columbus when their significant others took jobs for the same local company. After watching the micro-distillery trend grow on the west coast, the two felt the time was right for Columbus and Ohio to get into the scene. They decided to name their artisan OYO after the original name for the Ohio River Valley (pronounced O-why-O).
Located in the Short North Arts District, the 3,200-sq-ft. open-air boutique distillery produces high-quality, artisanal spirits from scratch using only the best ingredients sourced from farms across Ohio. The distillery also serves as a brand showcase, spirits shop, educational venue, and art gallery. OYO demonstrates a perfect balance of cutting-edge technology, old-world traditions, and the finest, farm-fresh Ohio ingredients. The result is a vodka that comfortably sits shoulder-to-shoulder with the finest spirits in the world.
Middle West offers tours by appointment, and can accommodate groups ranging in size from 6-40. Tours and tastings last 30-60 min, depending upon group size, and can include additional cocktails showcasing local mixology at a variety of neighboring restaurants. All guests must be 21 years of age. Tours are free, with all donations going to the Ohio Art League.
Middle West Spirits offers OYO Vodka, OYO Honey Vanilla Bean Vodka and, most recently, OYO Whiskey. All of their products are sold on site, through state liquor agencies, at bars, and through their website. For more information, to schedule a distillery tour and tasting, to find a retailer near you and to purchase OYO to be shipped anywhere in the U.S., visit www.middlewestspirits.com.
While playing volleyball in Switzerland, Greg Lehman was so inspired by the small town he lived in and how it sourced everything locally that he became a hardcore locavore. Upon returning to Ohio, founder and head-distiller Lehman began work on what would become the newest addition to the very long history of micro-distilling in Ohio, Watershed Distillery. Located in Grandview Heights, Watershed Distillery offers two distinct spirits: Watershed Gin and Watershed Vodka.
With the creation of gin and vodka, Watershed Distillery is committed to creating small-batch artisan quality spirits using the finest ingredients available. In every aspect of the process, from the 100% natural ingredients to the custom built copper still, the care put into each bottle comes through in every sip.
Gin from Watershed Distillery, the company’s signature product, is a light, modern gin with a smooth body and a unique and aromatic blend of botanicals. Layered over the juniper note that one typically associates with gin and a combination of citrus peel which emphasizes an orange and grapefruit note, Watershed Distillery infuses a proprietary blend of seven other carefully selected botanicals and is 100% gluten free.
Vodka from Watershed Distillery is made of 100% corn grown in the Midwest, and is quadruple-distilled, giving the spirit a light body and smooth drinkability. Using corn allows a very subtle sweetness to the vodka, but the main attribute is its sheer purity. Like the gin, their vodka is gluten-free. Vodka from Watershed Distillery will appeal to lovers of traditional cocktails, as well as connoisseurs of ultra-premium sipping vodkas.
Watershed Distillery is expanding its product collection to include bourbon in 2013. The bourbon will be the first of its kind to be made in Columbus since the pre-prohibition era, making it Central Ohio’s first legal barreled bourbon.
Watershed offers tours for groups of up to 20 people. A tour through the facility consists of a walkthrough of the process from start to finish – everything from mashing to writing the batch number on the label. They also have a newly built tasting room where you can try spirits and play their official distillery game, Hammerschlagen.
For more information, to find a retailer selling or a bar serving gin and vodka from Watershed near you or to schedule a tour and tasting, visit www.watersheddistillery.com.