John Little
Smooth Ambler Spirits
Maxwelton, W.Va.

West Virginia, like the Appalachian region in general, has national notoriety for its moonshine culture. Little is reclaiming the state’s boozy reputation by distilling his own vodka, gin, and (eventually) whiskey using local ingredients.

wv_postWhy we chose this hooch:

The vast majority of the grain that the distillery uses — 95 percent, Little says —  comes from a local organic farmer. “This guy had some extra capacity and he worked out a deal with us,” says Little. “So we buy this grain that is grown especially for us.” In a nice little completing-the-cycle, waste-repurposing practice, the distillery gives its spent grain to a local livestock farmer, who uses the mash to feed his cows and pigs.

Home is where the heart — and hooch — is:

“We didn’t choose West Virginia — it chose us,” says Little. “For me, the distillery wasn’t as much about creating spirits as it was about creating opportunities for the people in our area, and to create a business where we live.”

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