Over the years, I’ve heard many great stories about people pursuing their passion and making their dreams a reality in the food and beverage world. As this site has evolved, I’ve endeavored to meet these people and introduce their stories to the world. If it’s one thing the Philadelphia area does not lack, it’s entrepreneurial people who want to take an idea and grow it into a business.
That’s precisely what John George did when he retired from the pharmaceutical industry. Instead of resting on his laurels as a retiree, he became a distiller and built Five Saints Distilling.
One does not just stumble into distilling, though. George had much to learn about distilling and creating a spirits-based business. After attending Moonshine University and receiving a well-rounded education in distilling, he launched the Norristown, PA-based distillery in 2017.
What’s in a name? At first, he wanted to call the company Five Brothers Distilling, but there was already a distillery using the name. He chose Five Saints in homage to his father, three uncles, and another father figure, who greatly influenced his life. Sadly, he lost his father at a young age, but the other men stepped up to mentor him throughout his life. He considered these men “saints” and wanted to pay tribute to them. Learn more about them here.
After establishing the name, he secured a location at the former Humane Fire Engine Co. #1 (129 E. Main Street), a historic firehouse dating back to 1852. Preserving this piece of Montgomery County history was important to George. He felt the landmark’s next chapter was to continue serving the community for many more years. It was the perfect place to manufacture his spirits and become a place for folks to gather with family and friends for tastings or to hang out and enjoy live entertrainment. Additionally, folks can rent the venue for private events.
In five short years, the Pennsylvania distillery’s lineup offers seven small-batch hand-crafted spirits, some of which have already won prestigious spirits-based awards. As a premium grain-to-glass distillery, they exclusively use locally grown ingredients (corn and rye) from Bill Beam Farms in Elverson, PA.
This a great story about a small business, historic preservation, and revitalization in Montgomery County, PA. You should check out the spirits and visit the distillery in Norristown and support a local family-owned business. In the meantime, meet the current lineup!
Available for purchase at the Norristown distillery, Fine Wine & Great Spirits stores, or online for shipping in PA only. They’re hoping to get on liquor store shelves in New Jersey at some point this year. *fingers crossed*
They generously delivered bottles of the PA whiskey, gin, rum, and liqueur so I can share them with you. They are fabulous additions to my collection of spirits. So far, I have tried the smooth-drinking rum. It’s got a unique depth of flavor that lends itself to drinking straight, on the rocks or used in cocktails.
I’m looking forward to getting creative with the other spirits, as I’m always looking to take my home mixology skills to the next level with local spirits.
If you’re looking to add new Pennsylvania-based spirits to your liquor shelf, consider Five Saints Distilling. Since they encourage everyone to “Share the Spirits,” that’s why I’m telling you.
Be sure to tell them you heard about them on Philly Grub. 🙂
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