CLEVELAND — Earlier this year, we told you about a Cleveland businessman who was making his own unique brand of aged bourbon right here in Northeast Ohio.
The locally made whiskey was shipped to stores on Friday and it’s now flying off the shelves.
What’s in a name? Apparently a lot when you combine it with aged bourbon.
“It was selling out very quickly, people were buying it and people were going to stores and unfortunately finding out stores were already sold out,” said Tom Lix, the CEO and founder of Cleveland Whiskey.
Lix said that he and his staff are so busy they are even working weekends to fill all the orders for their black bourbon.
“We hope to ship about 7,000 full cases through the end of the year. Next year, 20,000 cases, so we hope to grow pretty significantly,” said the CEO and founder.
Lix keeps his patent-pending aging process behind tarps so no one can see them. It usually takes about six to 12 years to make bourbon but with Lix’s process, it only takes six months.
“We are taking something that’s done naturally in a barrel and it’s very slow, we apply pressure, large pressure in vacuums to squeeze the wood like a sponge. That forces the alcohol into the wood,” Lix explained. “Eighty percent of the flavor of a whiskey comes from the wood, so it goes deeper, there’s more flavor that way. Age is sort of irrelevant, it’s nice that it happens a little bit faster, but the beauty of it is that it makes for a fuller body, better tasting whiskey.”
Lix plans on expanding his 3,000 square foot distillery on East 25th Street in Cleveland, plus adding more employees to meet the growing whiskey demand.
And no matter how big his brand gets, Lix said he and his whiskey will never leave the place they call home.
“We are staying in Cleveland, we’re named Cleveland Whiskey, we are gonna stay in Cleveland,” Lix promised. “This is our home, this is where we’ll make the whiskey. I expect the product to leave Cleveland, we will go national with this as soon as we can boost our capacity. This is Cleveland Whiskey, born and bred.”