While it may be listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Indian Creek Distillery, 7095 Staley Road in New Carlisle, is in full operation today. It’s history spans two (2) centuries, and it is a treasure that needs to be shared beyond Miami County. Troy Rotarians met with owners Missy (nee Staley) and Joe Duer for a tour and tasting event as one of the club’s weekly meetings on Tuesday, January 16th.
It all began when Elias Staley bought 160 acres in Bethel Township on Indian Creek in the early 19th century. He then built a house for his bride, opened a grist mill that is now the oldest one in Ohio, and began a distillery operation. Missy Duer is Elias’ direct descendant, and is the sixth generation to own and operate the property, living in the house that Elias built.
Indian Creek Distillery is an artisan operation, crafting approximately 30 gallons of rye whiskey, and bourbon per week by hand. The Duers follow Elias’ original recipe and use the same copper stills that were made, and first used, in the 1800s. Prior to the Civil War, whiskey was not taxed by the government. To help fund the war effort, President Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) imposed a $2.50 tax per gallon on spirits. When that law was enacted, Elias turned the distillery operation over to his son, who continued running the operation until the passage of the 18th Amendment in 1919. This law, commonly known as Prohibition, made the production, transportation, and sale of alcohol illegal. As a result, stills became illegal and most were destroyed; however, the Staley family opted to put theirs into storage on the farm. The law in Ohio against owning and using stills changed in the 21st century, and those copper stills are now back in use. They are the oldest operating stills in the United States, and the second oldest in the world after the Bushmills in Northern Ireland. Today, even a small, craft artisan operation is subject to healthy taxation by both the federal and state governments, sending $13.50 per gallon to the US government and Ohio adding a 46 percent tax.
Indian Creek Distillery produces five (5) spirits, a variety of bitters, and a maple syrup that is stored in repurposed oak barrels that once held the bourbon and whiskey. The spirits produced by the two-still operation are 140 proof, or 70 percent alcohol. Indian Creek Distillery gained international respect when their rye whiskey placed 3rd in a worldwide competition. The distillery is open for tours Tuesday-Saturdays, and tastings are available for guests of legal age with proper identification. To learn more, visit www.staleymillfarmanddistillery.com and follow them on Facebook at Indian Creek Distillery.
Troy Rotarians and the Troy Rotary Foundation support several community projects annually. During the 2016-17 Rotary year, over $16,000 in scholarships and community aid was distributed from the fund, including support for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program, Rotary’s annual Shoe Project, academic and community service scholarships, and sponsorships to summer camps at Brukner Nature Center and WACO Air Museum. In addition to the financial support, Rotarians volunteered nearly 400 hours to several service projects. The Troy Rotary Club is a member-involved, goal-oriented service club focused on socio/economic issues that have an impact both locally and internationally. Follow the organization’s activities on Facebook at Troy Rotary Club. To learn more about Rotary and membership in the club, please visit www.troyohiorotary.org.