Locavore Liquor

Cleveland gets its own whiskey

Cleveland Whiskey is weeks or maybe only days away from launching. They are awaiting government approval on their labels and a few other technicalities – the joys of bureaucracy and liquor, all well worth the trouble in the end.

Bottles are ready and everything appeared in place as the noisy distillation process was underway during a visit last week.

What founder/CEO Tom Lix has created is nothing short of a bourbon whiskey miracle. We're talking the equivalent of the invention of fire in the whiskey-making business.

"We've created a process where the normal 10 to 12-year aging in oak barrels is achieved in days," Lix says.

The resulting whiskey has a darker, more caramelized color and deeper flavor than the Knob Creek we compared it to during sampling. (All done in the interest of science, of course.)

"Up to 80 percent of the flavor comes from the wood. Once inside the barrels, there are heating and cooling cycles occurring within every 24-hour period that change the pressure in the barrel," Lix says. "Our pressurized aging process replicates the same heating and cooling process; it reduces the typical aging period of 9-12 years to a few days."

Lix starts with a young, six-month-old Bourbon then puts it through CW's version of a newfangled flux capacitor, a contraption that applies concentrated pressure in a vacuum with pieces of new American charred oak and after a few days – voilà -- you have yourself some Cleveland Whiskey. Actually, no hocus-pocus is necessary — just pure science.

"As far as we know, there's no one else doing this in the world," he says. "We hope to distribute to faraway emerging markets such as China and India. And, the word is, the Russians have grown fond of whiskey, too. We think our process not only gives us a whiskey with fuller flavor but also a larger range of flavors."

If all goes well, we're scant weeks away from finding Cleveland Whiskey in our favorite bars, restaurants and liquor stores.

More From Operation Light Switch

The latest piece of Alan Glazen's Operation Light Switch Waterloo puzzle to take shape was word that Steve Schimoler, Chef/Owner at Crop Bistro, is in the midst of negotiations for the Key Bank Building in the Waterloo District.

All of the openings in Glazen's plan to open a string of new restaurants in the neighborhood in the same week, are contingent upon the completion of Waterloo District's streetscape project, which has been delayed and has frustrated some of their efforts.

One thing to look forward to for sure: "We're opening Waterloo Tavern (the old Slovenian Workman's Home) with four indoor bocce courts and the Harbor Pub, which will most likely open under a new name, he says, "whether the streetscape is complete or not."

Goodbye Prime, Hello Jazz

The liquor license transferred this week from Prime Rib Steakhouse in the Warehouse District to Take 5 Rhythm & Jazz. It will be the place to go for jazz, rhythm and blues, and occasionally comedy, but no more prime rib. The menu will be centered on small plates.

Take 5 hopes to be open by the end of the month.

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