LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — In a town known for its drinking, a lot of that alcohol is shipped from elsewhere into Las Vegas. But there are some locals making their own.
13 Action News Anchor Todd Quinones introduces us to one Nevada Built distillery reaching back into our state's past to help fuel big plans for their future.
AWARD-WINNING H&C DISTILLERY
Nevada law may prohibit them from distilling from scratch, but that doesn't stop the owners of Nevada H&C Distillery from making their spirits stand out.
"This reminds me of junior high science. Only a lot better," said Todd.
"There's a lot of chemistry to it, you know," said co-founder Aaron Chepenik. He's a sort of mad scientist, aging and blending their Smoke Wagon Bourbon.
"What is this? Can I smell this?" asked Todd.
"Sure, this is four years of the third floor," said Aaron.
"This smell is pretty good to me right now," said Todd.
Evidently, it tastes pretty good, too. Recently, this Nevada Built company has won several double golds in the prestigious San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
Aaron and his business partner, Jonathan Hensleigh, started the company in 2010.
"The rise of the sales, our sales have been shocking... It's sort of a classic overnight success story, 10 years in the making," said Jonathan.
The national recognition from their awards has only boosted Aaron's rising fame on Instagram.
ALL THE HYPE
"I get comments in posts where people are like, 'I didn't want to like this because of all the hype, but man it's so good,'" said Aaron. "The response from the bourbon community, everybody loves it and loves what we're doing. It's really cool. It's been a lot of fun."
But despite all the attention, you may be hard-pressed to find many people in the valley who are aware Nevada H&C Distillery even exists.
"What do you say to people who say, 'Wait a minute, there's bourbon being made in Nevada?' It seems like no one really knows this," asked Todd.
"Locally, the local recognition is, I would say, less than the national recognition, for sure. It's weird," said Aaron.
Weird because their marketing is all about the Battle Born State.
Their unique bottles are covered by sagebrush, Nevada's state flower. Their vodka has a replica of a silver dollar that was minted in Carson City in the late 1800s as part of the famous silver Comstock Lode discovery.
"So we actually got permission from United States Treasury to trademark the replica of the Morgan silver dollar," said Aaron.
But the friends who started the Griffin bar on East Freemont Street are determined to be a household name in Southern Nevada.
COMING SOON: TOURS
They crank out their Smoke Wagon Bourbon and their Silver Dollar Vodka from inside their distillery off Bonanza Road near Interstate15.
"So we're doing about 110 [to] 115,000 five-liter cases per year and only 11 states," said Aaron.
Nevada H&C Distillery is about to get even bigger.
The company is moving to a new facility, hiring up to 50 people for the new location where they'll offer tours, kind of like the Las Vegas bourbon version of Ethel M Chocolates in Henderson.
Learn more about Nevada H&C Distilling Co. on nevadadistilling.com.