Southern Tier Distilling Company Celebrates Grand Opening

Southern Tier Distilling Co. held its grand opening Saturday in Lakewood. The company produces a variety of spirits for sale. P-J photo by Katrina Fuller

LAKEWOOD — Southern Tier Distilling Company proved Saturday they are full of more than just the Christmas Spirit.

Ross Seely, owner, and James Walz, distiller, opened the doors of their facility to the public as part of a grand opening party, as well as the public reveal of their new Smoked Bourbon Whiskey.

The new business had a soft open in October, Seely said, but Walz and Seely wished they had held a celebration. The opportune time presented itself, leading to the Grand Opening complete with barbecue from The Que Abides food truck from Erie, Pa., the release of the new Smoked Bourbon Whiskey, musical performances by Tyler Smilo, a specialty drink called the “Holiday Mule,” and access to the warehouse.

The distillery has a variety of options available, Seely said. The choices include vodka, London dry gin, citrus gin, 2x Hopped, American whiskey and a maple-aged spirit which is rum.

Seely said the plan for the distillery came together approximately five years ago, and has blossomed into reality.

“We have 600 barrels on the premises, and about 450 of them are already filled,” he said. “We’re launching many new products in the future – a citrus vodka, a cold press coffee vodka and we also have over 300 barrels of bourbon that will be two years old soon. We’ll launch that next year.”

Seely said there is also a new American whiskey Southern Tier Distilling will debut in the future called “50/50” because it is 50 percent corn and 50 percent wheat. He said there are big plans for the distillery in the future.

“We’re going to be one of the largest craft distilleries in Western New York,” he said. “Everything is made here. We don’t add dyes, no sugars – we don’t make sugar cocktails.”

He said the company is a sister company to Southern Tier Brewery.

“It’s the real deal,” Seely said.

The distillery and their pub, The Empty Bottle, are open on Friday from 4-10 p.m., Saturday from 2-10 p.m. and Sunday from 1-6 p.m. It is located at 2051 Stoneman Circle in Lakewood. For more information, call 763-5479.