The first distillery in Oswego County since Prohibition opens for business on Friday afternoon.

Lock 1 Distilling Co. started the process of getting state and federal approval for the operation about four years ago.

Co-Owner and Engineer Kevin Dates says, “It’s pretty exciting to be finally opening, it’s been a long road to get here.”

The business finally received a license to start producing product in January of 2017.

Master Distiller Brenden Backus says, “You have recipes, you do research, you come up with what you want to make and then you scale it up, you do it on bigger batches, it doesn’t always scale linearly, you have to make changes.  So, we made 11 different vodkas before we settled on Ryze vodka.”

Ryze vodka is a blend of winter wheat and rye, and like all of  Lock 1’s spirits, is made from a distilling operation built by the owners.

“We can build it to the specifications we want that make our product the way we want it, so that’s very unique,” says Backus.

Lock 1 is an official New York State Farm Distillery, which comes with certain requirements, like sourcing at least 75% of raw goods from the State.

The distillery plans to get most of its ingredients from right over the bridge in Phoenix.

The designation also allows them to sell bottles of their spirits from the tasting room, which for now is 2 gins, 2 flavored whiskeys and a vodka.  

Lock 1 is fermenting its first batch of bourbon and getting ready to distill it for the first time.  Backus says it will take 2 years of aging before they’ll sell it 

Director of Sales Stephen Dates says, “We’re not just making it because we can make it, we’re trying to do something that is of high quality.”

The same goes for the tasting room, helped by a Restore New York grant to transform the century old building they’re doing business out of.

Lock 1 Engineer Kevin Dates says, “We had other plans for the walls but soon as we tore off the sheetrock and we had a drop ceiling here and we saw what was there we took advantage of it, we sandblasted everything, cleaned it all off and repurposed it.” 

The Distillery will also feature eight NYS craft beers and ciders on tap.  It will also have bottles and cans for sale.

Lock 1 Distilling Co. on Culvert Street in Phoenix opens for the first time on Friday afternoon at 3 p.m.

Click here for hours of operation and more information on Lock 1 Distilling Co.