Spirits on the Shores of Lake Erie
If beer isn’t your thing, Cleveland has you covered when it comes to locally-produced spirits as well. From Cleveland’s first distillery since prohibition to another rapid-aging whiskey in just two weeks, hand-crafted liquor from Lake Erie’s shore is making waves.
“Radically different” is the perfect motto for Cleveland Whiskey and people are starting to take notice. Instead of the typical eight to 12 years it requires to age whiskey, the company is capable of producing a similar product in approximately a week. Tom Lix, the owner of Cleveland Whiskey which debuted this March, keeps the specifics to himself about the process but essentially he takes soaks, agitates and pressurizes his spirits in a stainless steel tank filled with cut-up bourbon barrels. This allows the spirit to be absorbed and expelled from the pores in the wood chips in order to pick up the color and flavor of a more traditional whiskey. In just five months they’ve sold more than 20,000 bottles in the Cleveland area and are expanding to markets throughout Ohio.
Cleveland’s first distillery since prohibition recently opened on the East Bank of the Flats. Using time-honored traditional distilling techniques, Portside Distillery first distributed small batch artisan white rum made from 100 percent cane sugar and distilled on in a locally-made hand-crafted pot. The 80 proof drink is hand-bottled on site. Now open for eight months, Portside is distilling spiced, vanilla and a “Hops Infused Rum,” as well as four varieties of beer. They plan to open a 5,000-square-foot restaurant sometime this year.