Historic Miami County distillery now open for business

BETHEL TWP., Miami County — After a full year spent navigating a bureaucratic maze of licensing issues and finally obtaining all of the necessary state and federal permits, the historic Indian Creek Distillery has opened to the public and is now able to sell the first spirit made in its 1820-era pot stills, an unaged rye whiskey.

Melissa Duer, a sixth-generation Miami County resident, her husband Joe Duer built the distillery on the Staley Mill Farm at 7095 Staley Road on the very land where Melissa’s ancestors produced rye whiskey for 100 years — until Prohibition put an abrupt halt to the family business in 1919. Their 21st Century whiskeys are made in the same copper-pot stills that her great-great-great-grandfather Elias Staley used to distill rye whiskey in the early 19th century — the same stills that her great-grandfather George Washington Staley hid from nosy federal agents nearly a century later during the height of Prohibition.

The whiskeys are named for her ancestor: the Elias Staley unaged rye whiskey is for sale at the distillery, and sometime this spring, the couple will roll out its aged Elias Staley Rye Whiskey. The distillery’s hours are Thursdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Fridays 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tours are available on Saturdays only for $10 per person, and includes a tasting.

Melissa Duer said the unaged rye that is currently available “isn’t the more common ‘moonshine,’ which is a corn whiskey. This is frontier early-American rye whiskey, very smooth, with pleasant spicy earthy notes that linger and change long after the first taste.”

Grain that is used to make the rye whiskey “is locally grown, and we grind it here on the farm, using our 1880 grinding mill which is original to the farm,” Duer said. “The mash is stirred by hand, double-distilled in our 1820 pot stills and bottled, dipped in wax and labeled by us.” The bottles retail for $50.

The Duers plan to offer their whiskeys at local restaurants and bars.

For more information, call (937) 846-1443 or check out the farm and distillery’s web site at staleymillfarmanddistillery.com.

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