We had an idea and a location. Nothing was built, there was an old barn, a plot of dirt and an idea, there was no formal plan and we were at a loss as to how we would pull off building a distillery. Who knew what we were getting into.. We sure did not.
The Spring, Many challenges but great water!
Our water was flowing, out of the ground and over the hill, it was surrounded by mud that was so deep you could not walk to the source without being up to your waist in mud.. This project would take months to dig through.
This is where things started getting out of hand.. Found Mine #1 and realized our budget was not gonna cut it.
Inside Mine #1
This was a total suprise, we never expected to find this! Now we had other issues to think about, how to protect this mine from freezing and collapse, how to protect the water, how to prevent animals and people from going inside.. The list went on.
As we were cleaning up from Mine #1 we found Mine #2, and at this point we had no idea what to do to protect these mines. Fun fact, This is the picture that is on the bottle labels, it is truly the Mann Cave (yeah thats where the name came from.. We just yanked the space out.
The mines were hand dug in the 1930’s or so, based on the bottles we found in the mine. Mine #1 is approximately 300 Ft deep into the mountain, and Mine #2 is approximately 500 Ft deep. Only one person has been to the end of both mines, and no one has explored the entirety of the mines, as there are many branches and hazards. Hopefully future will hold more info.
So we were almost a year into working on this project to develop the water supply for the distillery and we had several issues.
- How to capture the water with no electricity
- How and where to store the water
- How to protect the water from contamination
- How to prevent the mines now exposed to the weather, from freezing and collapsing
- How to prevent animals from getting into the mines and the water
- How to get the water to the distillery building site, 1500ft away in the valley.
- How to get this all done before winter, and how to pay for it all..
Here is what the distillery looks like in May 2017, not a whole lot.. Barn is gone, getting ready to call in TKS in Buchannon WV. They are the ones that got us back on track. Highly recommended by the way!
Distillery Site prep
So it begins, the long process of working on the distillery, all the while still working on the water system up the hill. Even TKS with all their expertise had no idea how we would pull this all off.. Took a lot of negotiation and patience on the part of Tom Shaw, but we pulled it off in the long run as you will see.