The Flavorful History of Distilling in Cincinnati’s East Side

To know the story behind Karrikin Spirits Company you must know the history of the land it rests on and on a grander scale, the history of “Whiskey Hollow”. Settled on the back end of the 18th century by Joseph Ferris, the Little Miami River valley — stretching from where it spills on the banks of the Ohio River, up through what we now know as Fairfax and Mariemont — was referred to as Whiskey Hollow by Ferris, a local farmer and corn whiskey maker.

An Early Distillery is Born

Ferris’ distilled product was known for its presentation in handcrafted clay pots and sold along the Ohio and Mississippi, as far away as New Orleans. His still was located on a small creek which still flows through Mariemont today, and his home remains on the corner of Old Wooster and Highway 50 — only a stone’s throw away from the distillery which hopes to capture the spirits of Ferris’ distillation craft.

That’s where Karrikin comes into play.

The Birth of Karrikin Spirits Company: a Cincinnati Distillery

By definition, karrikins are the elements found in the smoke from a forest fire that trigger the regeneration of that forest. In the centuries since Whiskey Hollow was settled, those karrikins have been at work to bring distilling back to this very location on Cincinnati’s east side.

In Spring of 2017, seven founding members with experience in brewing & distilling, woodworking, design, and more came together to purchase a building formerly occupied by Swallen’s and later, DnD Metal to start a journey of flavor and fire.

From there, Karrikin Spirits Company was formed — a full-service, grain to glass distillery producing handcrafted spirits, sparkling spirits, non-alcoholic sodas, and beer. Our wood-fire scratch kitchen offers an elevated dining experience with thoughtful, locally sourced ingredients served as soon as they’re ready.

A Toast to Ohio’s Largest Copper Pot Still

We’re not trying to brag… but sometimes… size matters. 

When our owners were sourcing the different aspects of the distillery, they weren’t trying to cut corners on the production side, that’s for sure. That’s why they went to Vendome Copper & Brass Works in Louisville for the finest in distilling equipment.

If you’re familiar with Vendome, you know it’s a family-owned business which has been in operation since the early 1900’s. You’d also recognize that Vendome copper stills are used regionally in distilleries like Wild Turkey and as far away as Australia and Hong Kong.

In addition to now being the largest copper pot still in the state of Ohio, we find ours to be the most beautiful. Custom built, Karrikin’s still boasts a 1,000-gallon capacity. For the layman, that means we can fill around three barrels with our locally distilled spirits.