Distilling Spirits

Still Hollow Spirits following old traditions

The Inter-Mountain photos by Dan Geohagan Still Hollow Spirits owner Athey Lutz is preparing to put the ground corn into the boiler as another employee prepares for the transfer of mash while making traditional corn whiskey.

HARMAN — There are many traditions in the mountains of West Virginia. One of the oldest is the making of corn whiskey, and the fellows at Still Hollow Spirits are following that mountain tradition.

The company, which began around Christmas of 2017, is steadily growing, officials said.

“We got started because of the history of making corn whiskey,” Athey Lutz, owner of Still Hollow Spirits, said. “We have access to mountain spring water and heirloom grains so we thought it would be a perfect fit for the area.”

Lutz has been able to make something authentic that he believes tourists would like to learn about and partake in. You can call and set up tours of the distillery for one person or up to a large group.

“People that come up here want to experience something authentic, something that you can’t find necessarily in other places,” Lutz said. “Something that is really tied to the mountains and wilderness of the area.”

Still Hollow Spirits uses a custom still that equipped with state of the art water jackets that regulate the temperature of the whiskey.

Although the distillery has lots of tourists there are quite a few locals who come in, too.

“It’s great to always meet new people as they come in,” said Lutz.

The tour includes learning about the process of making whiskey — from the corn in the field to the whiskey in the bottle — as well as a tasting of the whiskeys for those over 21.

Still Hollow uses unique ingredients in its process.

“One of the really special things about our product which gives it a good flavor is the corn we use, which is called bloody butcher. Bloody butcher is a heirloom variety that is known for its taste in cornbread, grits, and made into whiskey. The variety of corn can come in many colors such as red, speckled and white,” Lutz said.

This particular variety of bloody butcher is grown by a family in Nicholas County, with the family using the seed for more than 200 years.

“It is a very indigenous corn to West Virginia,” Lutz said. “It has been grown here for a long time and does well in this climate, as well as having that long history of being made in to whiskey.”

The water used for the whiskey is pumped in from the spring water of a neighboring mountain.

The town of Job, which is near the distillery, has a history with the making of whiskey. It formerly hosted a lumber camp of roughly 700 to 800 people, and the local residents would make corn whiskey for the lumberjacks.

Following the tradition of growing everything on their own, the folks at Still Hollow not only grow their corn but also raise USDA grade beef that they feed the remnants of the mash to in order to cut down on waste. In addition to feeding the cows, the manure helps fertilize the corn, as well as using what is called the “head” of the whiskey, which would be discarded as cleaner.

Still Hollow Spirits offers a single barrel bourbon, classic corn whiskey and a new mountain variation of gin. The gin offered is infused with a host of herbs and plants grown at the location. Still Hollow also offers a bourbon-barreled syrup which flavors some of the barrels used for the bourbon.

Still Hollow Spirits is located at 128 Stink Run Rd. in Harman. The operating hours are Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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