Our Beginning


Big Spring Spirits was conceived several years ago when friends, Paula Cipar and Kevin Lloyd, having very different but complimentary booze-centric talents, decided that those talents might well be a business foundation.  Paula, a wine & spirits afficianado, had for a time asked Kevin, a scientist, to help make a northeastern Pennsylvania, regional elixir called Boil-O.  Somewhat simultaneously at a social event, Kevin engaged in a conversation that indicated “the climate was conducive to opening a distillery in PA.”  Shortly thereafter they convened to discuss the future.  

In 2011, Governor Corbett had signed into law Act 113 allowing for micro distilleries to produce a maximum of 100,000 proof gallons of spirits and to be able to sell directly to the public.  Within 1 month and just a couple optimistic conversations, Big Spring Spirits was incorporated.

Next was to address how and where to build a distillery.  First, Paula and Kevin went “local” where they proposed their idea and were soundly shown the door.  (College towns have certain sensitivities to booze-based businesses and the locals had their fair share of drunken debauchery.)  Kevin, undaunted, suggested the Bellefonte Match Factory, and his business partner Paula was in quick step with the idea.

To their surprise and appreciation, the Bellefonte borough couldn’t have been more helpful and appreciative of their interest.  “How can we help?” they asked and that they did, helping them navigate the onerous paperwork and code compliance opening a distillery requires. 

Little did Paula and Kevin know at the time, that the rejection of their first choice of location was a most fortuitous dismissal.  Why is Bourbon County bourbon so distinctive?  The water.  As it happens, the water from Bellefonte’s Big Spring is every bit as good, if not better, than the limestone spring water of Kentucky.  Bellefonte’s Big Spring was awarded the "best tasting water in the state" by the Pennsylvania Rural Water Association.  One of Coca Cola’s Dasani water divisions is sourced from Bellefonte’s Big Spring - it’s that good.  During the last step of spirits production and before bottling, the high proof distillate is “proofed down” with 60% water.  That’s a lot of water and if your water’s no good, your product’s no good.

Early in the construction process, the founders of Big Spring Spirit committed to building an environmentally sensitive facility.  The result is a LEED Gold-certified distillery, the first in the state, 2nd in the country and 3rd in the world.  LEED buildings are energy efficient, kinder on our planet and make inhabitants happier and more productive.  We reduce waste, recycle post-consumer disposables, reuse what we can and are always looking for new avenues to be environmentally conscientious.  We are aware that LEED certification is a beginning and not an end to our objective.  Have suggestions?  We'd love to hear them.

So, in closing…it’s been a long strange trip that we've had the good fortune to experience. 

Come visit, do a tour, talk to us about our products and our voyage.  We want to share.

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