“We’re going to have food, draft beer and televisions and make it a little sports bar,” he said. “We’re going to bring in local craft beers as well as craft distilling and wineries. We’ll be distilling our craft vodka, rum, gin, moonshine, whiskey, bourbon and blue agave. All of these products will have local flavors and ingredients.”
By the time the renovations are completed and they open, Dranschak said it will be a nearly $400,000 investment.
Mike Dranschak stands by the still inside White Dog Distilling Company Thursday, Sept. 20 on Central Avenue in Middletown. He is currently renovating the space formerly occupied by Liberty Spirits to feature a larger bar and tasting area.
A native of Scranton, Pa., Dranschak grew up in Marion, Ohio. After receiving a degree in chemical engineering from The Ohio State University, he went into the mechanical equipment sales industry.
His 25-year career selling mechanical equipment included stops in Cincinnatiand he said he’d been to Middletown many times selling mechanical equipment to various industries. His wife is from West Chester.
“I know Middletown well and I want to give back,” he said. “I saw a story about Ami Vitori coming back to Middletown to start a business and I was inspired by that. “
Vitori, founder of Torchlight Pass, had her story of returning to Middletown and building her business as the focus of a Starbucks “Upstanders” video last fall.
Dranschak said he was looking to lease a building in Fairfield but said the real estate prices were more reasonable in Middletown. He then got in touch with local Realtor Walter Leap about looking at some property. Leap asked him if he wanted to buy a distillery because Robinette was looking to downsize his operation due to new family responsibilities.
“It just fell into my lap,” Dranschak said. “It was a dream come true.”
White Dog Distilling Company in the location formerly occupied by Liberty Spirits is being renovated to feature a larger bar and tasting area.
As for the name of his new business, White Dog, Dranschak said it is a distillate, a spirit that goes into the barrel for aging as well as their white peekapoodog, which is a part of the bar’s logo.
Robinette is welcoming of the new distiller.
“I think it will be great having two distilleries,” Robinette said. “It’s more options for people to come downtown.”