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Few things spring up out of nothingness. A life time of adventure and fortuitous events add up to the culmination of something. Sometimes, if you're lucky, something great.   

John's persistent dreams and Jessica's persistent planning led us to Seattle in 2013 for specialized training in distilling and the craft business start up. After that inspirational trip, we spent over two years  searching for the right place and the right people to help establish our business. In 2015 we were fortunate enough to finally discover our current location, and were enthusiastically embraced by the local community. Since then we have been going down the long road of paperwork and government approvals. In August 2016, we were granted our Federal license after an agonizing 8 month wait and construction finally began!   

In order to get this project off of the ground, we first approached the conventional small business start up process.  Months and months slid by with little to no progress. Not until we tried to officially file paperwork and applications did the conventional establishment reveal that they didn’t know how to help us. Time after time we were knocked back to square one, but we kept looking for the right place, the right time, and the right opportunity. Even now it’s surprising how much perseverance we’ve maintained after having doors slammed in our face and uncomfortable rejections time after time.  


But we kept saving and accrued a modest nest egg solid enough to start out on our own, without the strings and red tape of banks and lenders. Everything we’ve worked for in the past 4 years – ideas, time and money - has poured in to this project.  


Re-purposing and up-cycling has been a big part of our hand crafted process. Innovating new uses for old equipment, and taking each finish and project in to our own hands. Everything you see in our establishment has been personally sought out, cleaned, crafted, built or customized by the two of us.  


We’ve also been extremely fortunate to meet some fantastically helpful and encouraging people along the way. Through a stroke of luck we’ve realized our goal of being able to source most of our grain not only regionally, but truly hyper locally. The majority of the grain in our flagship line will be from farmers within 10 miles or less of our establishment. The bar slab was sustainably harvested from a fallen tree on the family farm, much of the rustic trim came from the family farm house and were boards were originally harvested and sawn on the property. The house no longer exists, but its spirit remains intact with us. 


As of January 2017, we realized our dream of becoming the first legal distillery in Erie County since prohibition was repealed. In doing so, we have experienced a lot of setbacks while trying to introduce a new style of business in the region. But determination and a healthy dose of 'brute strength and ignorance' have allowed us to finally achieve the goal we've been pursuing for the  past four years. 

Find out more in our feature article from the Erie Times News.


It wasn't just that we liked whiskey. It wasn't just a trip on the Bourbon Trail. It wasn't just that my great grandfather moonshined the best applejack in town for the revenuers, back in his gully during Prohibition. And it wasn't just the love of crafting and creating new and innovative things that lead us here. It took all of these parts, pieces and life experiences to culminate in this distillery.   


We've invested our time and know-how in creating something we can share with the world (over 21, of course.) Long nights, hard work, and bull headed perseverance got us where we are today, and with any luck, will continue to serve us well in the future.   


So if you're having one of those days where everything seems to be going backwards, stop on in to Cart/Horse Distilling. We'll help you right your wagon.   

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