Columbus, Ohio, June 16, 2014 – Watershed Distillery business partners Greg Lehman and Dave Rigo may not have expected that, in less than four years of being open, they would be purchasing their third still, but that is exactly what recently happened.
Several short months ago, the order was placed to Kothe Distilling Technologies and development on the new, custom-built copper still went underway. When Watershed launched in 2010, they operated with their original 66-gallon custom copper still. Two short years later, a second copper pot still was added, measuring a 250-gallon capacity.
In early May 2014, that particular still was sold and renovations to the production space were undertaken with hefty modifications made to the steel platform on which the stills reside. Length was added, height was reduced, and the stairs moved location, all to accommodate the new still – a massive 3-column, 660-gallon copper pot behemoth. As production prior to the new addition was maxing out at about 60,000 bottles a year, demand dictated the need to grow the local micro-distillery’s equipment.
In addition to the new still, a new corking machine was added to the bottling line to allow for quicker, easier, and safer bottling. Prior to the corking machine, every cork in every bottle was put in by hand. Watershed Distillery’s growth in 2014 is evident, through the partnership with Heidelberg Distributing in early April, as well as growth into brand new markets – Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Georgia, and Grand Cayman Island have all picked up Watershed Distillery products within the first half of this year.
“The new still is necessary to meet the overall demand of our products. Our home state and others have shown great support for our small business and, while it’s scary to grow, we know our community will support us now and in the future. We will be able to produce almost three times as much bourbon, vodka, and gin than we could just a few weeks ago and we can do it using half the energy because of the overall efficiency of our new still,” says co-owner Dave Rigo.
Watershed Distillery was founded by Greg Lehman and Dave Rigo in 2010, but the idea was conceived years earlier while Lehman was playing professional volleyball in Switzerland. Inspired by the locally produced spirits that were common in the area, Greg thought about the possibility of creating spirits in his Ohio hometown. He shared his idea with Dave and they began working on what would become the newest addition to the very long history of micro-distilling in Ohio – Watershed Distillery, known for its handcrafted, artisan-quality vodka, gins, and bourbon.