In the same neck of the woods that Michter’s Distillery used to be located in Pennsylvania is the newly established Hidden Still Spirits Distillery. The name is an historic nod to moonshining and Pennsylvania’s illicit whiskey production with hidden stills. This new distillery is in an incredible building that dates back to 1916. It was once the Yocum Cigar Factory and has been completely renovated, with efforts to preserve the antiquity of the building itself. The distillery is also a restaurant that sources its products locally. So not only are they supporting farmers with their grain consumption, they are supporting local produce farmers as well.
This distillery, though not yet close to working at full capacity, has big enough stills to get the job done. The stripping still is a 600 gallon pot still and the finishing/spirit still is 300 gallons. There is plenty of room for growth here. The distillery finally opened its doors last August, but they’re off to a good start. The white dog, Screw Eye Shine, is 80% locally sourced corn flour and 20% barley. They bottle it at 100 proof. Their Kentucky sourced product is called Blue Eyed Six. It’s a one time limited release and not local, but the name is.
The “blue eyed six” were criminals from the Lebanon area where the distillery is located. The men’s names were Israel Brandt, Charles Drews, Josiah Hummel, Frank Stichler, Henry F.Wise, and George Zechman. These six horrible men took out a life insurance policy on a local man named Joseph Raber and planned to kill him to collect $1000 after their crime. They planned to drown him in the Indiantown Gap Creek, but never thought much about how loudly they spoke about it at the local watering hole. Oddly enough, taking out the policy was not illegal, it was the killing him early part that got them tried and hanged for murder. A reporter at the trial noted that they all had blue eyes and the rest is history.
Hidden Still Spirits is aging whiskey now and just released their 12 Bar Rye Whiskey last week! The owner, David Stein, began 7 years ago to turn his dream of making whiskey into a reality. His distillers, Coty Edwards and Chris Stein, man the pot stills and Nick Hostetter creates the restaurant’s menu. It’s definitely worth the trip to visit them- 435 Willow Street, Lebanon, PA 17046 / 717.270.1753. Check them out!