UTICA — A new “spirit” has landed in Utica with the recent business venture of Mill Street Distillery.
While making moonshine in a backwoods still is illegal, MSD can do so with its federal license. “This is probably more beautiful than you would see in the back woods, but the technology is basically the same,” said business partner Carlos Ogden.
He believes that Ohio is becoming more progressive in allowing licenses for distilleries, saying that there were 20 applications being considered when they received their license.
“Moonshine’s not illegal,” Ogden told the News on a recent tour of the facility.
Opened for business on Dec. 18, Mill Street Distillery manufactures hand-crafted spirits including “moonshine” whiskey and various flavorings of brandy. A local flair from beginning to end is what makes MSD’s product unique to the community. Three initial founders of the business are Paul Tiaganedes, Jeff Thompson and Ogden.
The process begins with a coarse cornmeal purchased from D&L Grain in Utica. The cornmeal is mixed with enzyme in a batch tank of water heated to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. The enzyme then converts the starch in the cornmeal into sugar — a three-hour process. A secondary enzyme is added at a lower temperature, and yeast is added at even a lower temperature, starting the fermenting process. Ogden said he likes to keep a continuous process going in his 200-gallon tank.
A separator takes out the corn byproduct which is then given to local farmers for cattle feed. “It makes a good type of feed,” said Ogden.
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