My relationship with whiskey is now over 40 years old, but my idea of opening a distillery is only a few years old. I had talked to a number of friends who were equally interested in distilling, but no one was interested in spending the money and time to be properly licensed by the federal, state and county/city governments. So, I decided to go it alone.For the past several years, I have been working very hard to open Irons Distillery. It has been a long and difficult process, and it is expensive. Regardless, my love of whiskey, and my sincere desire to be able to offer a superior bourbon, and bourbon mash whiskey, to my friends and our community, will be well worth all of the effort.
I have made some great friends, and met some fascinating people with whom I have worked closely to make my dream a reality. Plus, I have gotten great support from our local community. Everyone is excited to have a local distillery they can call their own.
During the start up phase, I have talked with a lot of distillers, tasted a lot of whiskey and traveled many miles for tours/tastings. I have learned a great deal, and I have seen a lot of similarities and some differences. And I want to share my observations.
All, and yes, I mean all, of the small craft distillers that I have observed, have had to grow to meet market demands (which is a good thing), but a number of these folks have forgotten how they got started – small, hand tending their product, taking their time and producing a superior product. Some of these people are trying to sell as much of their product as they can in as short a period as possible. That being said, I want to make my point about being on the beginning of a new business boom. Many of these new craft distilleries are skipping over the steps crucial to ensure a top quality product. Others, have already been sold to the big whiskey producers – who are trying to enter the craft market, by buying many small distillers. The big boys come in and take over their operations. They keep the small business label, feel and mystique. But they compromise the true art of craft whiskey. I am not going to do that.
I love making whiskey. From mashing, to fermenting, to distilling, to aging and bottling – I love this process. My goal is simple – provide the finest whiskey that I can make for our local community and those who will travel to get Irons ONE. I want my customers to enjoy my whiskey and drink it with pride.
The only way I know how to make the best whiskey is to be totally involved in every step of the process. I can only do that if I stay at a small enough in size to manage each step. That is what I plan to do – stay small and stay involved. So, if the market demands my product, I will respond to the demand with increasing production. But, I will not become a large distillery – I will stay true to my roots. Small, hand-crafted whiskey.