Lake Erie Spirits with Distinction ™
Newly established in 2013, Conneaut Cellars Distillery is the first distillery in Northwestern Pennsylvania (Lake Erie Region) since Prohibition. The first distillery in Conneaut Lake area was built and operated in 1797 by Joseph T. Cummings. This distillery was located at the Conneaut Outlet which is located a few hundred yards from Conneaut Cellars. Before 1920, Meadville Distilling Company was a very large distillery producing 100-proof pure rye whiskey to Buffalo & Pittsburgh markets.
Currently we distill small batches of high quality brandy, vodka from grapes, and 4-grain bourbon using our two stills, Little John and Antime. In the future, we will bottle our pure rye whiskey that has been aging in oak barrels. Little John is our 200L (53 gallon) electric stainless steel electric vodka still that is powered by 22.4 kW solar PV panel system on the cellar roof (first solar powered distillery in PA and one of a handful in the country). Antime is a 316L (85 gallon) copper steam brandy/whiskey still fabricated near Chicago and by local vendors. Also, our craft micro-distillery avoids the common practice of buying pre-made spirits. Every batch we produce is small, crafted by hand in our distillery, and bottled by hand.
We employ traditional artisan methods blended with the latest techniques to give our customers the highest quality distilled spirits. In addition, we use regionally sourced materials when available. Our spent grains go to Bonney Bell Farms to feed their cattle.
Joal Wolf, owner of Conneaut Cellars, took formal American Distilling Institute training in Baltimore and Louisville, as well as training workshops at Cornell University. Jamarcus Ellis from South Carolina joined Conneaut Cellars in spring of 2015 as the distiller.
The name “Conneaut” is of Seneca Indian origin and has several disputed meanings: “snow water,“ “place where snow lays in spring,” “standing stone,” “river of many fish,” or “it is a long time since they are gone.” The word Conneaut is pronounced as “Connie-ought.”
We are open 10-6 pm daily and located at 12005 Conneaut Lake Road, Route 322 and U.S. Scenic Highway 6, Conneaut Lake, PA. Putting customers first, we are closed only four days out of the year: New Year’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day.
Handcrafted by Hand and Ultra Premium Spirit. Naturally Gluten Free & Vegan Friendly. Grapes are usually too expensive for most distilleries that produce spirits from potatoes, molasses, or grains.
This vodka is different than most vodkas - ours is distilled from Catawba grapes (wine) from Lake Erie AVA and freeze filtered. It is not flavored or infused with grapes. Our vodka is the first vodka produced in Northwestern Pennsylvania. It has citrusy forward aromas and crisp taste with delicate tones of anisette and crème brulee on the palate. Crooked Creek is a meandering stream from the south end of Pymatuning Lake that runs by Hartstown, Adamsville, and arrives at Greenville where it joins the Shenango River then merges with the Ohio River.
Vodka can be distilled from anything that can be fermented (usually grains) and must be distilled to 190-proof (95% alcohol). Most vodkas are distilled using grains or potatoes because they are inexpensive and grow in wider range of climates than quality grapes. The benefit of using grapes in vodka is glycerol, which is produced during fermentation, gives “legs” on a wine glass, and has sweet quality and opulent mouth-feel to give us the best vodka.
Our un-aged white brandy is similar to a Peruvian-Chilean pisco and French eau de vie, except ours is single-distilled from vidal grapes of Lake Erie. Vidal grapes used in our brandy was developed for use in the production of Cognac and has parentage from Ugni Blanc. Cussewago Blanc is the first legal distilled spirit produced in Northwestern Pennsylvania since prohibition. This refined spirit has citrusy kick of orange and delicate aromas and flavors of pear, peach, mint, and honey suckle. Enjoy as an aperitif or during a meal with smoked fish, caviar, or lemon or lime dishes; or sipped as a bracing palate-cleanser between courses. Our white brandy is best consumed in a cocktail sour or with tonic water and a lime. The name Cussewago, pronounced “Kos-se-waus-ga," which means big belly, is derived from a creek named by local county Indians for a large black snake that appeared to have swallowed a rabbit.
Chat de Vie
Inspired by Italian Torino-Piedmont aperitifs with American twist with extra bitterness, we use our DeChaunac as the base red wine and our brandy distilled from Vidal Blanc. We macerate the vermouth using a mix of over 20 ingredients (using organic whenever possible), which includes orange peels, vanilla, cinnamon, anise star, ginger, nutmeg, traditional wormwood, wild cherry bark, licorice root, and other botanicals. The fermentation, distillation, maceration, and the bottling of this artisan vermouth are all done on-site. This vermouth is the first commercially produced vermouth in Pennsylvania. The name,” Chat de Vie” is French for “Cat of Life.” ”Chat” in French means “cat” or “long tail” or raccoon people. The Erie people were an eastern Native American people occupying the area from Buffalo to Cleveland to northwestern PA before 1658. The French called them “Nation du Chat” for Cat Nation. The Seneca destroyed them in the mid 17th century by 5 years of war.
This 4-grain bourbon (75% corn, 15% wheat, 5% rye, 5% barley) was aged over one year in new 53-gallon oak barrels, single barrel bottled. Named for local Seneca chief that provided security for Mead’s settlement during their evacuation from Cussewago (current Meadville area) to Fort Franklin from Ohio Indians (Wyandots) planned attacks in 1791. The whiskey is 88 Proof (Meadville was settled in 1788). This smooth Bourbon has aromas and flavors of vanilla, figs, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Enjoy this neat.
True Pennsylvania rye whiskey.
"Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough." - Mark Twain