Lititz whiskey distillery to open in November

A Lancaster County whiskey maker has received state and federal approval to distill whiskey in Lititz, and revealed the downtown location of its distillery.

Heritage Spirits will open at 35 North Cedar St. in November, according to co-owner Erik Wolfe.

Grauer’s Paint and Decorating occupies part of the building, but the paint store’s size was reduced, according to Wolfe. A representative from Grauer’s was not immediately available for comment.

The two businesses will each have a separate storefront, with Heritage also occuping the back half of the building.

Renovations to Heritage’s space are expected to take about six weeks, and local contractors are currently bidding on the project. Work will begin once the project is approved by the municipality.

When complete, the space will serve as a distillery and a tasting room.

The building was originally built as a feed mill and grain elevator. The original wooden floors and beams will provide the perfect backdrop for the distillery, Wolfe said.

“We will transform it from paint store to inviting gathering place,” Wolfe said.

Local tasting room

Heritage plans to order ingredients from local mills and handle the entire process from fermentation to bottling in Lancaster County.

Recent liquor law changes will allow the distillery to serve craft beer and local wine under its distillery license.

 “The license enables us to provide a more varied offering and become a local gathering place for people,” Wolfe said.

Heritage plans to serve small plates of food as well, and will partner with downtown Lititz businesses as food vendors.

Wolfe envisions the establishment will have more of a “European-style atmosphere.”

“We’re not really looking to create a honky-tonk,” Wolfe said.

Background on the blend

Heritage announced in February that it had applied for a limited distillery license from the state and a federal distilled spirits plant license.

Now that Heritage has state and federal approval to operate, Wolf and his partner, Dick Stoll, plan to make and serve whiskey in Lititz by November. Their wives, Avianna Ponzi and Elaine Stoll are also partners is company

Right now, Heritage’s blend of whiskey is blended and bottled at Lancaster-based Thistle Finch Distillery, using ingredients from Indiana and Wisconsin. The whiskey is a blend of 80 percent high rye bourbon and 20 percent straight rye.

Wolfe and Stoll have been making whiskey together for a few years, and they’re using a blend that is a close replica of a whiskey once made in Schaefferstown starting around 1860.

The distillery was known as Bomberger’s until it shut down during Prohibition. It eventually reopened as Michter’s, and Stoll was its master distiller.

Wolfe and Stoll originally wanted to name their whiskey blend Bomberger’s Whiskey, after its heritage, but had to change the brand to Stoll and Wolfe due to a potential lawsuit over rights to the Bomberger’s label.

Lenay Ruhl

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