Winemakers Branching Out With Distillery

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BASTRESS TOWNSHIP -- A father and son team in Lycoming County has gone from making wine to making moonshine. Their distillery is one of only about 10 operating in Pennsylvania, part of a growing trend of liquor makers.

Bastress Mountain Winery near South Williampsort has been in the wine business for about 12 years.  But the grapes are not the only things going into spirits there now.

Owner Shawn Zimmerman showed us the equipment that makes Mountain Top Distillery possible. Zimmerman applied for a license from the state and recently held a grand opening.

"It's so much fun doing this part. Making wine's fun, too.  This is neat to take the mash, distill it, come out with end product that tastes so good."

Zimmerman, along with his son Toby, 19, takes the necessary ingredients and the time to make the moonshine vodka, whiskey, and more.

"It's quite simple. There are little ingredients involved. You need barley, corn, grind it all up and add water and sugar," Toby explained.

Eventually, Mountain Top Distillery wants to expand its operation and age whiskey in wooden barrels. That process takes about 2 years, so by the time Toby Zimmerman is 21 years old, the whiskey will be ready to drink.

The state only started granting limited distillery licenses last year, meaning Mountain Top Distillery can make up to 100,000 gallons of these spirits. But they can also expand.

"We can have up to two satellite stores right now as laws state, PLCB. I'd like to get one down Montoursville," Zimmerman said.

A father and son hoping this new distillery will ferment a lot of business they can drink to.