Ohio Crops Fuel Micro-Distilleries

In 2011, Ohio’s governor signed House Bill 243, which opened the door for more businesses to produce liquor throughout the state. Though permits are limited, the passage of HB 243 was timed perfectly with a growing national trend — micro- distilleries.

Micro-distilleries, or craft distilleries, make small batches of spirits, such as vodka, whiskey or gin, which are typically crafted from artisanal, locally grown ingredients. Micro-distilleries usually produce less than 100,000 gallons of spirits a year, though most produce far less than that. In comparison, corporate distilleries produce 100,000 gallons a day.

According to the website microdistillerymap.com, there are currently seven craft distilleries operating in the state and most proudly promote their use of Ohio-grown crops.

Middle West Spirits, a 3,200-square-foot micro-distillery in Columbus, uses Ohio crops in its line of vodkas and whiskeys, which are sold under the brand name OYO — the Native American word for the Ohio River Valley.

“Railcars full of corn and wheat roll out of this state every day,” said Ryan Lang, co-founder of Middle West Spirits, in a hiVelocity article. “Our spirits are made using 100 percent Ohio grains like corn, rye and soft red winter wheat.”

Ohio-grown apples are at the core of the brandy produced at Tom’s Foolery, a family-owned distillery in Chagrin Falls. The distillery’s brandy begins as apple cider, which following fermentation, distillation and being aged in charred oak barrels for two years, develops into Applejack — a classic, American spirit that all but disappeared with the commercial production of liquor following the repeal of prohibition.

Dancing Tree is another micro-distillery committed to using locally grown products. The distillery produces gin, a coffee liqueur and a vodka, which according to the company’s website, is made primarily from corn grown within 20 miles of its facility in Meigs County.

So, are micro-distilleries a potential boon for Ohio growers and farmers? Greg Lehman, co-owner of Watershed Distillery in Columbus thinks so.

“With more distilleries using Ohio grains, it will lead to an increase in consumption of our state’s agricultural resources,” said Lehman in The Metropreneur. “This is a win for Ohio farmers and consumers.”

Have you sampled spirits from an Ohio micro-distillery? What do you think about the trend? Please share your thoughts and opinions.

Photo obtained from: www.alocalchoice.blogspot.com

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