Less than a year after unveiling its first batch of vodka and gin, Grandview’s Watershed Distillery is gaining attention at the local and national level. The evidence lies in the pile of magazines – Budget Travel, Imbibe, (614) and more – sitting on top of an old barrel in the distillery’s front store area.
Watershed is on the frontlines of a nationwide micro-distillery renaissance – we have three right here in Columbus, out of six in the state and a total of 301 nationwide. In an act of camaraderie, Watershed has filled its small shop area with bottles from Columbus peers Middle West and Veriano, as well as other Ohio-based distilleries like Woodshed.
This recent trend of local distilleries that use locally sourced ingredients (as of just recently, Watershed can say that it uses only Ohio-sourced corn in both its products) is great news for Ohio; not just for the economy, but for its national reputation too. Both Watershed and Middle West remind visitors to their facilities that prohibition was spurred into action in this state when the Anti-Saloon League was formed in Westerville.
Distillery tours are offered every Wednesday evening and cost $5. Owners walk visitors around the facility, recount the short history of the company, describe how the products are made and play a game of hammerschlagen (winner gets a free t-shirt).
While mind-bending local liquor laws prohibit selling bottles at the distillery itself, nearby bar Matt the Miller’s has a partnership with Watershed that offers special cocktails crafted with their gin and vodka at a dollar off after touring the distillery.
For those who prefer to drink in, Watershed’s Facebook page features a frequently updated list of cocktail recipes suited to their fresh, citrus–accented gin and quadruple-distilled vodka. You have a while to wait for Watershed bourbon, however. It is sitting in the barrels for another couple of years – set for a 2013 release.
This is a guest post from Karen Dion. In a previous life, Karen worked as a Tokyo bar hostess where her income depended upon the number of Champagne bottles consumed. Despite this, she still loves a glass (or two) of champers. Karen has written for Honolulu Weekly, therumpus.net and matadornetwork.com.