CLEVELAND - The mayor of Cleveland smelled the bourbon a distiller had poured into a testing beaker. He smiled at the aroma that wafted out of the beaker.
Frank Jackson was a on a tour of a relatively new company near Cleveland's mid-town area. Cleveland Whiskey, a producer of bourbon, sold its first batch of bourbon in March, 2013. Since then, using a quicker high-tech process to side-step the traditional aging process of bourbon, its sales have reached seven states.
"It's impressive how in this little small space they get this done and then they named it 'Cleveland,' " said Jackson. Cleveland Whiskey founder Tom Lix smiled with the praise coming from the city's chief executive. Jackson said said he was impressed with the process where bourbon is pushed with high pressure through wood chips. This process gets around the traditional aging process of several years of most bourbons.
Accompanying the mayor through the distillery, which is in a building houses several magnet companies, was Tracy Nichols, Cleveland's director of economic development. She said the mayor's office was producing an video advertising campaign to be used both inside and outside the city which will show several companies which have used newer technology to find successes. Cleveland Whiskey is among them.
Lix said when he started his bourbon production, names for the liquor were test-marketed across the U.S. "All the major metropolitan areas where they tested it, people said to them 'Cleveland' stood for something which was authentic and genuine, that was hard-working, and that was entrepreneurial," said Lix. "And it's edgy; that's why 'Cleveland' is on the bottle."
Cleveland Whiskey is distributed in Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Tennessee, Georgia, Virginia, and New Hampshire. Lix said his company is working hard to keep up with demand of bourbon which has seen a world-wide increase in popularity.
Jackson said he was glad to see the name "Cleveland," written in large letters on every bottle, going far beyond the city limits.