LOGAN — Hocking Hills Moonshine is about to get a little bit bigger and little bit stronger when the business moves to its new location and introduces its house-made bourbon.
The company has not set a date for the opening of the new location, but owners Brian St. Clair and brother Eric, have begun to clean out and come up with a design for their new building at 55 S. Spring St.
“People right now come in, look around, take a quick tour, do some tastings and they leave — they may be here 15 minutes, they may be here 30 minutes. Having this new location allows them to sit down, they can do some more samples, they can do full-size drinks, they can hang out and it’s going to be more of an inclusive tour,” explained Brian.
With the 14,000-square-foot addition, the St. Clair brothers have applied for a liquor license, allowing them to have a bar to serve their own mixed drinks and appetizers.
Wren Valley Truffles has worked hard to create truffles made with the brother’s famous Buckeye Lightening Moonshine, which is just one example of how they want to incorporate their products into other food items on the menu.
When the brothers first opened their company in 2015, they envisioned selling more than just moonshine, but knew better than to jump all in on the first try. Their five year anniversary will coincide with their big reveal of the new Hocking Hills Bourbon — which they hope will turn out to be 110 proof.
After making a small test batch last year, the brothers made their first batch of bourbon this past October. When they open their new location, the barrels will be in the basement to age, waiting to peak at the perfect taste.
According to Brian, Ohio will only recognize bourbon if it has been aged for two years, in a white American oak barrel used once and if the recipe is 50 percent corn-based, which he adds theirs will be 100 percent.
Since the business started the St. Clair brothers have been working hard to keep the small batch moonshine and prohibition feeling environment alive.
“We want to give people that experience, the environment, that prohibition environment when they come in,” shared Brian. “To be honest it’s customer service — I want all of my staff trained to talk about the history and explain to people what it was like back then.”
The small-town moonshine company has an estimated 200 visitors a week during the summertime, which Brian noted he’s expecting that number to double once they have a small menu and larger location.
Currently the brothers ship their products to 70 different counties and are in 275 state liquor stores; having the bourbon on the market will make eight products they provide.
It’s evident when talking with Brian that he’s passionate about what he does. The small-town businessman grew up in New Straitsville and has always wanted to keep the small batch tradition.
When explaining what sets their business apart from others, he noted, “It’s all built by us, it’s all designed by us, so we are small batch — and that’s important — small batch moonshine made the way it was 100 years ago in a pot still method.”
Waiting on state approval for things could take a while, but the brothers are eagerly awaiting the day when they can open to improve upon the business they already have been successful at.
“It’s not only about having a good product, having a good building, having a good location — when they (customers) leave I want them to say, ‘wow man, that was awesome,’ and they do that here out of this little building — something that they’ve never seen something that they’ve never had,” concluded Brian.