Distilling Pioneers

Can you have too much of a good thing? Deadwood Distilling Co. doesn’t seem to think so. The new location in downtown Deadwood just opened its doors this past summer, and features a customer-pleasing trifecta of food, fun and S’loonshine seven days a week.

The new business is the vision of owners Michael Ballard and Todd Phillips. Ballard also owns the well-known Full Throttle Saloon in Sturgis and the S’loonshine Distillery in his hometown of Trimble, Tenn. The Trimble distillery and Deadwood Distilling Co. use the same recipes for their creations.

“S’loonshine is an American moonshine, a grain neutral spirit. We have seven flavors and are passionate about our product,” explained Deadwood Distillery Co. manager Steve Fredericksen.

According to Fredericksen, Ballard saw how opening a distillery in his hometown changed the community in a positive way. He envisioned a similar effect for the historic town of Deadwood. When three buildings located on Deadwood’s Main Street went up for sale, they decided it was time for a new business venture. Deadwood Distilling Co.’s picturesque building has enough space for the Deadwood Distilling Pizzeria, general store, Bloody Nose Saloon, and the S’loonshine Distillery and tasting room. The location’s sale was finalized on May 15, and the business opened its doors soon afterward.

We have tastings. We’ll walk you through each one of our flavors.

Rustic vibes and pine-covered scenery at the Black Hills town of roughly 1,300 people seem to be an obvious match for the distillery. From the wooden barrel display stands to the masses of mason jars filled with the distillery’s pride and joy, one can practically imagine Wild Bill Hickok himself wandering into the establishment, straight out of another lifetime. As Steve described the relationship of Deadwood and the new business, “We have all that old style – cowboys, gamblers, gunslingers, and now moonshiners . It’s just kind of a natural fit.”

The highlight of the new business is, of course, the distillery itself. Deadwood Distilling Co. sets itself apart from food and drink competitors in the area by producing their own S’loonshine spirits.

“To be an artisan distiller, you have to make the product here. We do it all from scratch – from the fermentation to the shelf. You get to see the process.”

Visitors of the location are free to broaden their taste buds by sampling from the unique flavors of 70-proof S’loonshine products available from the distillery. The current selections range from fruity flavors, such as peach, to darker, creamier options like Cafe S’loonshine.

“We have tastings. We’ll walk you through each one of our flavors,” said Fredericksen.

The variety at the distillery is impressive, but that doesn’t mean that artisanal pizza, made fresh every day and sold by the slice or pie, isn’t equally worth a trip to downtown Deadwood. Deadwood Distilling Co. offers an array of other products as well, including American Amish jams and jellies, pickles, bourbon maple syrup and the distillery’s own T-shirt line. Fredericksen noted that the business is always looking for local products that fit with the company. Deadwood Distilling Co. even used fresh-cut pine from a local source when decorating the distillery and its tasting room.

Tucked away among the Black Hills National Forest, Deadwood can’t deny its cozy, old-fashioned atmosphere, but the influential past of the area doesn’t distract the distillery from looking ahead to its future. Friendly faces who run the diverse business look forward to being part of upcoming community celebrations, such as Deadweird (October 27-28). In addition, the business is also planning a November contest event for Cheech and Chong or Hairball impersonations.

“It’s always going to be a party up here. All are welcome. Moonshine is a true American tradition.”

For more information, visit deadwood.com.

Manager’s Favorite S’loonshine Flavor:

Flavors in the works:
Margarita & Watermelon

Hungry? Try this customer favorite:
Meat Lover’s Pizza

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