MiVT: Wild Hart Distillery

Published: Nov. 8, 2021 at 12:05 PM EST
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SHELBURNE, Vt. (WCAX) - For all of the incredible breweries that call Vermont home, there are some wonderful distilleries, as well. Among them is Wild Hart Distillery in Shelburne.

“It’s myself, I’m the one that’s doing the distilling, the bookkeeping, the cleaning, the selling,” owner and one-man-show Craig Stevens said.

He had always wanted to work for himself but previously had a career in consulting.

“I knew that whatever the company was that I was going to be building would be about producing something,” he explained.

Six years ago, Stevens decided he wanted to open up a distillery and got to work to make it happen. With no previous background in spirit-making, he enrolled in classes, did apprenticeships and learned business planning. Two years later, he opened up shop.

“At the end of the day to be able to hold a bottle and be able to feel that accomplishment was really important to me,” he said.

With the help of a master distiller from time to time, Wild Hart is best known for its intentional, unique products, mostly gin. Among their funky flavors-- pear ginger, blood orange and even a Vermont classic maple.

“A lot of the concept is to put the flavor into the bottle so that we’re helping folks skip that step, elevate their cocktail and have that really craft experience accessible to them,” explained Stevens.

In addition to his gins, he also offers classic Italian cordials, fortified wine and chai spice rum. They’re all handmade by Stevens.

We were there as he prepared a batch of his gin, learning the ins and outs of the delicate but complicated process.

As labor-intensive as his work is, the price point is low. He keeps it around $30 a bottle, available at 802 Liquor Stores.

“As people are coming up through their experience with spirits, particularly younger people, that this is a great entry level price for a high-quality, you know, well thought out spirit,” he said.

The whole brand is well thought out. Though he has seasonal help at markets, it’s important to Stevens to be hands-on; from the time the botanicals are ground to the time it goes home with customers.

“I think people really enjoy having the owner really integrally involved in not just making it, the fact that I touch every single product that moves through this building. But also chatting with the person that actually makes it and drinks it and prepares it and sells it,” Stevens said.

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