Friday, October 10, 2008

Woodstone Creek Now Available at the Distillery

Ohio Governor Ted Strickland has created a new liquor permit, A-3a, which will allow microdistilleries to sell small batch spirits from their own premises.

The very first such permit has been issued to Woodstone Creek. Owners Don and Linda Outterson have been busting their butts for this change, which is a crucial step in allowing small spirits producers to compete with established (and hard-lobbying) liquor distributorships in Ohio’s liquor control system. Since 1933 Ohio's liquor control laws have required all liquor to be distributed through state outlets which buy from a small handful of entrenched distributors.

The new permit allows a distiller to sell his own products with strict (and as usual for Ohio liquor laws, arcane and protectionist) limitations. A single A-3a permit can be issued in any county with a population of more than 400,000 -- essentially limiting the entire state to three permits: one each for Hamilton, Franklin, and Cuyahoga counties. Woodstone Creek may sell two bottles of full-proof spirit to any single customer on any single day at state-regulated prices.

According to the Outtersons, the new licensing is not all they proposed, but it's a step in the right direction. They credit State Senator Bill Seitz for getting behind them early this year and providing crucial leadership in Columbus to finally get this project, which they've been working on for four years, off the ground.

From their press release:
Much remains to be done for artisan spirits to progress in Ohio. Currently, one other micro license has been issued in Clinton County, but this start-up will not be eligible for the self-sales permit under the recent change. Many other states have evolved with the growth of the microdistilling industry. Indiana, West Virginia, and Kentucky have already enacted more liberal changes. Nationwide, microdistillation is the newest growth segment in alco-tourism, which began with wineries and microbreweries. In 2004, the newly formed American Distiller’s Institute listed 50 microdistilleries. In 2008, the list had expanded to 220, with a concentration in California and Oregon, which have the most progessive alcoholic-beverage control laws.
Congratulate the Outtersons by stopping by the shop at 3641 Newton Avenue (off Dana between the Victory Parkway and Montgomery Rd) in Evanston, Saturdays 1 - 5, to buy a bottle or two. For more information call 513.569.0300 or email them.


BustedFlush said...

It's easy to say that the .gov regulations are a sham, because they mostly are, but on the other hand, can you imagine the chaos if everyone had a still in their backyard? Still - I think this is a very nice step forward, and I've heard good things about their bourbon - which I doubt is actually theirs, as bourbon is typically at least 4 years old, so not sure if they borrowed some barrels from Bardstown, KY or what.

Linda Outterson said...

Woodstone Creek started distilling/barreling our spirit when we got our license in 1999. Some are older than the bourbon and have not been released.- Linda Outterson, Managing Partner

BustedFlush said...

Linda - thank you very much on the follow up; I had no idea you got the license that long ago!

valereee said...

bustedflush, waaa-a-a-l, I'm pretty much a civil libertarian at heart. If folks want to make moonshine in their backyard, I may think they're crazy, but I really have no objection. Why do you think it would cause chaos?

BustedFlush said...

Well Val, for one thing you're making a very flammable substance, and if you're heating your still with open flame, there's the potential for a mess, then there are the methanol 'heads and tails' that can end up in the product depending on the distillate.

Now, maybe you're right, all the folk on Rocky Top have been getting their corn from a jar for generations without much need for schoolin' nor license - but on the other hand, you've never met my neighbor. I don't trust the guy with a lawnmower, much less a pot still.

Don't get me wrong; I think there's a happy medium in there somewhere. Quite frankly with gas prices the way they are, I don't understand why every farmer's market across this land doesn't have a still. Here's my idea; all the bruised, spoiled fruits and vegetables that don't sell go into the mash pot. (I'm not saying it will smell really nice, just that all you need are sugars and starches, something fruits have in abundance) The farmers get credit based upon the weight/quality of the donation, and can reclaim it as fuel. I read somewhere that all current cars can run just fine on 15% ethanol gasoline. Make a use out of trash!

valereee said...

bustedflush, interesting idea about the pot still. How would that work? What I mean is, most farmers' markets are tent cities -- there for one day, then the rest of the week the location is a parking lot. Is the still mounted on a utility cart or something?

BustedFlush said...

Yeah, what's up with that? Both of the 2 farmer's markets near me have some permanent structures. Durham's are much more minimal, but the Raleigh State Farmer's market - it's impressive:,-78.662024&spn=0.004222,0.01192&t=h&z=17

Wouldn't it be nice if all cities and communities built such facilities?

So I guess that's my new step 1. :)

valereee said...

bustedflush, maybe it's because you're in NC -- longer growing season means a permanent structure is more likely to be used year-around? We have only a couple of markets here that have winter market days, and even those are only once a month.

The Baklava Queen said...

valereee, you might want to check out Gene Logsdon's book Good Spirits, which has a good bit of information about distilling. My guess is he would be pleased with the loosened regs, though he makes a convincing case to let people do as they damn well please. True, some folks might be daft enough to blow themselves up, but certainly not a majority... :-)