Member Spotlight: Watershed Distillery

Columbus Chamber
The Columbus Chamber provides connections, resources and solutions that help small businesses and Fortune 500 enterprises grow Central Ohio's economy.

Member Spotlight by Claire Spurlock, Watershed Distillery

So what the heck is a distillery and how is it different than a brewery?

Good question. The super condensed version of distilling is this: we cook grains (or fruit, depending on the product), add yeast which eats sugars and produces, among other things, alcohol as a byproduct. That mixture, once the fermentation period ends, is distilled in one of our two stills to refine flavors, release water vapor and condense alcohol content. In the end, depending on what spirit we’re making, we’re left with a product that’s either ready to be bottled or to spend some quality time aging in barrels.

We’re essentially taking the brewing process one step farther. A number of our production team members come from the brewing world, since so many of the processes are aligned.

What do you stand for?

We stand for progress and for people. We stand for high quality ingredients and our grain-to-glass process that doesn’t cut corners and highlights midwestern resources whenever possible. We like to say that we take our work seriously, but not ourselves, evidenced by ample cheeky marketing, very casual dress code and unparalleled camaraderie, among other things.

What are the services you use the most (or are looking forward to using) from the Columbus Chamber?

We appreciate the work that the Columbus Chamber does to champion creative and hard working people and businesses all over the region. We look forward to sharing good news, media and award recognition with the Chamber with the hope that, by highlighting the potential of Columbus-made spirits, we can help inspire others to work toward their goals. Or at least enjoy a drink.

How do you stay engaged with trends that you see in your industry?

I believe communication between our teams helps tremendously with this, as a way of constantly sharing information, trends and experiences. But we also visit various trade shows and conferences throughout the year, encourage team members to explore professional development opportunities that appeal to them and their skill sets, read like crazy and keep tabs on what strong brands around the city, region and world are up to.

What is your company culture like (do you have a sweet mini fridge or something)?

Why, yes. Two in fact. You all want a sparkling water or something?

Watershed’s culture is light hearted but hard working. It’s a blend of grit, determination, flexibility and creativity. Since we’re a small company, all team members bear a great deal of responsibility but work closely together to reach common goals. Everyone is a natural problem solver. That positively impacts our culture.

What does success look like for your employees?

Success looks like growth, both personally and professionally, that’s supported and celebrated along the way. We want our team members to find their strengths and be challenged, but also to be satisfied. It’s one of our goals, both for Watershed Kitchen & Bar and Watershed Distillery, that we want to be and cultivate “genuinely happy people.”

What makes Columbus such a great place to do business?

Columbus is a totally dynamic place. It’s true that many here are grounded and level-headed, but there are still progressive, metropolitan elements that keep things like our food and drink scene interesting. Columbus contains such a wide variety of people, neighborhoods, interests and trends that it’s a good place to grow our business, get valuable feedback and continue to grow. We’re proud to have started in Columbus, and are so thankful for all the support we’ve received from this city.

Do you have a mascot?

Funny you should ask. We have a mascot named Ginny that’s a Four Peel Gin bottle we pieced together out of cardboard boxes. To say we’re proud of Ginny would be an understatement. We’re working towards a more refined Version 2.0 for future events, so keep an eye out. Ginny’s on the move.

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