GALION — Since March of 2018, the Iron Vault Distillery LLC in Galion has been producing and selling its own beverage products and business has been steady during that time.
“We make everything in house; it’s all done by hand,” said John Bassett, son of co-founders John and Lori Bassett. The Bassetts and longtime friend Sam Thacker are the co-founders, owners, and operators of Iron Vault Distillery.
“It’s more of a labor of love than anything else,” Dad John Bassett said.
As noted, all of the products they sell are made at their 134 Harding Way West location. They produce four kinds of bourbon, two kinds of whiskey, two kinds of vodka, two kinds of rum, moonshine, gin, and an aquavit.
An upgrade in equipment is now allowing the Iron Vault Distillery to produce significantly more product in much less time.
“Until recently we were doing 50-gallon mashes, but we purchased some new equipment and now we’re doing 400-gallon mashes,” the younger John Bassett said. “It’s a pretty big increase. It’s really helpful because we can now do what used to take us a month in a weekend.”
Bassett, who is a commercial airline pilot when he’s not helping out with the family business, said demand for Iron Vault Distillery products is fairly steady, but there are peaks and valleys.
“Demand right now is a little bit lower because the kids are out of school and families are spending more time out of town,” he said. “But we’ll see it spike in the fall and around the holidays. It comes in waves. It’s been steadily increasing as we get better at marketing and sales and as more people learn about our products and learn about who we are.”
Iron Vault Distillery is releasing a new product to celebrate Independence Day. The Star Spangled bourbon whiskey is made from a mix of red, white, and blue corn. It’s scheduled for public release on July 1.
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the distillery began producing hand sanitizer almost exclusively for a while since the equipment and processes used to produce beverages could also be used to make the sanitizer.
“When hand sanitizer became hard to find, we switched to producing it,” Bassett said. “It worked out really well because we’re well equipped to handle mixtures of alcohol and water. The hand sanitizer helped us with marketing. The demand for hand sanitizer started to slow down at about the same time the demand for alcohol began to increase again, so we had some time to catch up on production.”
Producing hand sanitizer also allowed Iron Vault Distillery to qualify for certain grant programs, which in turn allowed the business to upgrade some of its equipment. Bassett said they plan to continue production of hand sanitizer on a limited basis.
“We do have some contracts with some local businesses to make sanitizer and it will support the business if we need it to,” he said.
Bassett said the next step in the company’s evolution is to improve the marketing and sales of its products. They also plan to add some staff to help with production.
The Iron Vault Distillery LLC is open from 3 to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, from 3 to 8 p.m. on Friday, and from noon to 8 p.m. on Saturday.
For information about the Iron Vault Distillery, visit its Facebook page and website www.ironvaultdistillery.com. Bassett said sending a message through the Facebook page is the best way to contact the business.