Wolfhead Distillery

Wolfhead Distillery excited to open its doors

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Essex County’s first craft distillery is ready to open its doors.

Wolfhead Distillery, located at 7781 Howard Ave., opens its doors to the public Friday. Local media were given an advanced look at the new facility Wednesday.

Tom Manherz and the team at Wolfhead Distillery open their doors to the public May 27. An official grand opening will be in late June.

Tom Manherz and the team at Wolfhead Distillery open their doors to the public May 27. An official grand opening will be in late June.

Wolfhead president/co-owner Tom Manherz said he and the team are excited and nervous about the new distillery. The team not only includes Manherz and his wife Sue, but distillers Karl Lonsbery and Ryan Bezaire and business development manager Karen Wettlaufer as well.

“It’s been two years in the making,” said Manherz. “It’s worth the wait.”

Once the distillery’s equipment was ordered, it took 14 months for it to arrive from Italy. There was a point where they were worried they weren’t going to be the first craft distillery in the area and that someone was going to “sneak in ahead of us” but they managed to get Wolfhead launched first.

Manherz was inspired by the local history of rum running and prohibition in the area, even noting that one of the first distillers also had ties to a sawmill. Manherz also owns Timberwolf Forest Products.

Wolfhead is trying to create its own unique flavours with six premium products available for onsite purchase. Those include premium whisky, coffee whiskey liqueur and apple caramel whiskey as well as premium vodka, banana caramel vodka and grapefruit flavoured vodka.

The plan is to get their products into bars and restaurants and also into LCBO locations down the road. Wolfhead also aims to branch off into coolers and gins down the road as well.

The operation at Wolfhead is a “grain to glass” outfit with Manherz stating there are 53 acres at his Howard Ave. site, including some farmland. A “distinct element” is the neighbouring quarry, the supplier of limestone treated water used in the production of Wolfhead’s spirits.

Consultant Steve Wright samples the smell of one of the vodkas the Howard Ave. distillery makes.

Consultant Steve Wright samples the smell of one of the vodkas the Howard Ave. distillery makes.

Manherz and his partners have invested roughly $1.5 million into the new craft distillery with an onsite restaurant also part of the operation.

Wolfhead has already booked several special events, including several weddings, showing the level of interest is high. Efforts are also trying to be made to partner with St. Clair College to get a distilling program at the school and use Wolfhead as onsite training for the students.

“People are excited to come,” said Manherz, adding that support has been great from the town and from Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island (TWEPI).

Dan DeMarco, a master distiller who is consulting with Wolfhead Distillery, gives the media a tour of the facility May 25.

Dan DeMarco, a master distiller who is consulting with Wolfhead Distillery, gives the media a tour of the facility May 25.

Steve Wright, a flavour expert retained by Wolfhead, discussed the flavours that Wolfhead is producing while master distiller Dan DeMarco gave a tour of the facility. The length of time between grain and glass varies greatly depending on the product, DeMarco noted, as it can take over four days for a vodka or gin to 10-12 years for a brand of whiskey.

DeMarco, who has 35 years of experience in the business with many of that being at Hiram Walker, was happy with how things are unfolding at Wolfhead Distillery.

“This has been an exciting start-up,” said DeMarco. “We’ve been really pleased with the product from the start.”

Both DeMarco and Wright are consultants that are working with Wolfhead.

Wolfhead Distillery can be contacted at 519-726-1111 or at www.drinkwolfhead.com. The official grand opening is planned for the end of June.

Wolfhead Distillery hosting job fair this Saturday

 

A new craft distillery opening in Amherstburg is getting closer and closer to opening and is now looking for staff members.

Wolfhead Distillery is hiring for a variety of positions, from the tasting room with food and beverage service to its premium production/warehouse facility.

A job fair is being held at Wolfhead Distillery this Saturday, April 23, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the facility, located at 7781 Howard Ave.

wolfhead-header

A variety of positions are available including service ambassadors (mixologists and servers), culinary (wait staff, cooks, dishwashers), and manufacturing/ production (bottling line operators, packaging and fork lift operators).

The public is encouraged to bring their resumés and “be a part of something special.” They look to hire approximately 30 employees in the beginning.

Wolfhead Distillery plans to open the long weekend in May, and officials stated in a press release that “its new staff will bring a new experience in ultra-premium spirits to the region.”

For more information about the job fair, please e-mail info@drinkwolfhead.com.

Wolfhead Distillery welcomes “wolfpack” to tasting

 

By RTT Staff

 

A local distillery is still a work-in-progress but it took another step closer to reality last Tuesday night.

Wolfhead Distillery held a tasting event where invited guests heard about the plans for the site and had a chance to take part in whisky and vodka tastings.

Tom Manherz (far right), along with fellow co-owners Larry Girard and Sue Manherz, hosted a tasting at Wolfhead Distillery last Tuesday evening. (Special to the RTT)

Tom Manherz (far right), along with fellow co-owners Larry Girard and Sue Manherz, hosted a tasting at Wolfhead Distillery last Tuesday evening. (Special to the RTT)

Owners Tom and Sue Manherz and Larry Girard were on hand to answer questions about their plans to become distillers of ultra-premium spirits with officials from Douglas Marketing Group also on hand to talk about the vision they are working with owners on.

Liz Farano, vice president of Douglas Marketing, spoke on how the distillery and product will be presented. That included a look on how the labels could look, with the nearly 60 people in attendance getting an opportunity to voice their input.

Noting the area’s prohibition era past, she said there is an attempt at recreating some of that era.

The ownership team is excited to be pulling together area resources to make their vision a reality. Wolfhead is planning on a soft-launch opening in November followed by a grand opening next spring.

It aims to be a “dynamic destination point with a unique tasting room built to harken back to the area’s Prohibition past.”

The evening marked the first opportunity for patrons to interact with the ownership trio and learn about the innovative approach to spirits. Consultants Steve Wright and Dan Demarco fielded questions related to everything from the “Grain to Glass” process to the unique vodka and whisky flavours to come.

“It’s all about creating the perfect blend – rugged yet sophisticated,” added Farano.

As well, guests were asked to offer feedback on which label designs they felt captured the essence of the brand best. Wolfhead was pleased to have Gordon Orr, CEO of Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island, emcee the launch event with Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance executive director Rebecca Mackenzie also being in attendance.

There are roughly 700 craft distilleries in the United States with only 60 in Canada, though roughly 38 are said to be under construction in Canada.

Wolfhead Distillery operates out of Timberwolf Forest Products on Howard Ave.