BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. – In this non-traditional Restaurant Road Trip segment, instead of food, we’re talking about bourbon.
Two long-time friends, Jeff Schlosser and Kevin Cunningham decided a few years back that they wanted to take their shot at making bourbon, and thus, Mountain State Spirits were born.
“It started a long time ago and it sort of came through a bunch of different circumstances to get to where we are today. Thankfully, I have a great partner,” Schlosser said.
Mountain State Spirits released its first two bourbon products in 2019: Walnut Maple and Hazelnut Honey.
“We love bourbon,” Schlosser added. “It’s America’s spirit. There’s nothing finer. We wanted to make a bourbon unlike any other.”
Both the Walnut Maple and the Hazelnut Honey bourbons are made with local West Virginia ingredients.
Schlosser said that for their Walnut Maple, they use wild black walnuts that grow all in the Mountain State as well as maple syrup made in Preston county. He added that their Hazelnut Honey bourbon was inspired by a local hazelnut grower, who works out of Ripley.
“Bourbon needs to age,” Schlosser explained. “I love it when our barrels have their birthday.”
But that time is worth the wait. According to Cunningham, “It’s unlike anything else you’ll taste. You can taste everything in it. Once it touches your lips, you’re sold on it.”
This bourbon is so good, it’s even winning awards.
Schlosser explained that the Hazelnut Honey just won a gold medal in the National Honey Board Spirits competition and the Walnut Maple has been awarded silver at the New York internationals.
“I think it goes great with all kinds of different things. Fruits, chocolate, sweet and savory,” said Schlosser.
Each bottle of bourbon made by Mountain State Spirits is made with pride. Schlosser said that he and Cunningham cork, number, and hand-deliver their products.
“I like it in my coffee in the morning, especially the Walnut Maple, it warms you up,” added Cunningham.
Schlosser explained that right now, customers can buy their products at any state liquor store. A few local restaurants also carry their products, including Meagher’s Irish Pub and Mia Margherita’s Pizzeria, both located in Bridgeport.
Schlosser and Cunningham plan to have some new products hitting the shelves in 2021. More information about how Mountain State Spirits came to be is available on their website.