By Whitney Vickers
FAIRBORN – After the automotive industry changed within the Miami Valley, Brad Measel, Shawn Measel and James Bagford decided to revamp their father and uncle’s company, Pyramid Riggers, into another business that would be recession-resistant.
Stillwrights Distillery, which offers moonshine, straight Bourbon, whiskey and rum, was born in 2012 after the brothers and cousin began studying the micro distilling industry earnestly in 2009 and deciding to close Pyramid Riggers doors in 2010.
“We wanted to stay in business for ourselves, but we wanted something that was ours,” Brad Measel said. “Dad’s legacy was a great one – his company was great – he built it from nothing. We felt like this was our chance to do the same thing.”
Stillwrights products found a home on the shelves of five respective businesses within the Dayton area, as well as the distillary itself, in June 2014. It is currently sold in 65 stores in Ohio, and all corners of the state with the exception to the Cleveland bend. Measel said the business’s goal is to be sold across the state.
“Our intention is to be sold state-wide in the State of Ohio,” he said. “We’re in three of the four corners of Ohio. The liquor-control agency has divided Ohio into four sectors, and Clevelend, the northeastern sector, we’re not up there yet and that happens to be the biggest seller. We’re not up there yet … We’ll get into the area soon.”
Products by Stillwrights can be purchased on a local level at Stillwrights Distillery and Andes Drive-Thru in Fairborn; Enon Drive Thru in Enon; Lofinos in Beavercreek; Xenia Liquors in Xenia; Handy One Liquor Store in Kettering; Miami Wine and Liquors, Belmont Party Supply, Air City and Wine in Dayton and Community Markets in New Carlisle. However, Measel said few of the 65 stores across the state sell each of Stillwright’s products, and instead sell three-to-four.
The industry is beginning to enter its busiest season of the year, including the months of October, November and December (OND), and Measel is feeling good about Stillwright’s potential.
“Things are going well, we’ve had our best sales month that we’ve ever had this past month,” he said. “We’re doing better every month. It seems like every month the sales go up a little bit … They say during OND you do at least 65 percent of your year’s sales, up to 85 percent, in three months. It’s cool, we’re starting to get momentum at a good time. We felt like we missed the holiday season last year because we were so new and nobody knew about us. This year, we’ll be in full stride I hope.”
Its products are derived from locally-grown corn and wheat, and has taken home a number of awards of varying medal colors, including some on an international level. The next product the business will introduce is a Bourbon-barrel aged rum, and Measel estimates that the product will see the light of the market within the next six months.
“It’s growing and we continue to pick up stores almost on a weekly basis,” Brad Measel said. “It’s finally getting exciting here. We spent a lot of time and money, and we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.”