Thistle Finch Distillery is up and running, turning out a double-distilled white rye whiskey, which can be enjoyed on-site in its tasting room.
The new operation is located in an unassuming former warehouse on West Grant Street. It's so new, patrons that want to visit the small 25-seat tasting room need to follow cardboard sings.
“It is very satisfying, starting with bags of grain up there and being able to pour someone a drink at the bar,” owner Andrew Martin said.
In a business that boasts aged products, the customers we ran into seemed to enjoy the fresh spirit. Patrons can enjoy a free sample and purchase bottles and drinks.
“It's fantastic. I think they did a real nice job,” Caleb Lewis from Lancaster said.
Touted as the city's first distillery since Prohibition, Thistle Finch operates with a limited distillery license, regulating the amount produced per year. There are 11 other active licenses, according to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, but there is only one other in the area.
On the heels of a craft beer boom, some say craft distilleries with the ability to sell on site may be the next big thing.
“A lot of people are saying it's mimicking the craft brewery phenomenon,” Martin said. He added, “It's definitely the upcoming thing, the explosion of craft distillery.”
While that may be years away, Martin—a former web developer and self-taught booze maker—will be hard at work.
He is hoping to have aged product in the near future and get the liquor into stores and area eateries. He is currently working on his third batch from his homemade still.
Thistle Finch Distillery is located at 417 West Grant Street in Lancaster City.
For more information, visit their Facebook page.