Garner’s Distillery: Inspired by the Past, Built for the Future

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Welcome to Aristotle Spirits!

Our distillery is a community in the making, and we welcome you. We can’t wait to invite you to come in! Bring your kids and your dog.

From the earliest days in the US, distilleries were part of the fabric of the country, a centerpiece of local communities. At the turn of the 20th century, the prohibition movement changed all that, making the manufacture and sale of spirits illegal for a dark 13-year period. Today’s laws have changed, and the craft distilling industry is making a comeback!

Be a part of history and help bring back the neighborhood distillery when you step into Garner’s first distillery where the past is meeting present and we’re producing well-balanced, fresh, grain-to-glass spirits with a taste of their own.

Why Aristotle Spirits?

Beyond US history, it was the ancient past that inspired our name, Aristotle Spirits.

Aristotle, the philosopher. An intellectual who mused about life and its philosophical underpinnings. A scientist who explored physics, metaphysics, and the existence of life.

His influence has lived long and impacted nearly every area of human thought. In fact, the quotes on our website and (soon to be!) on our walls prove it’s still impacting us today.

Did you know historians say Aristotle was one of the first to suggest distillation was possible?


“Sea water is rendered potable by evaporation; wine and other liquids can be submitted to the same process, for, after having been converted into vapours, they can be condensed back into liquids.”
-Aristotle


Aristotle wasn’t the only one thinking about distilling though. Fellow Greek philosophers, Arabs, Romans, and Chinese all had some form of it long Before the Common Era (BCE). They used sugary substances, rice, and wine as the basis for their spirits in those early days.

Today we’re merging the age-old science with modern art, channeling the ancient Greek philosopher and offering pure spirits with unique flavors that capture the imagination!

Meet the Scientist in The Lab at Garner’s Distillery

When you spend a little time in The Lab—that’s where the magic happens—you’ll have a chance to enjoy the tasting room and see inside the production space.

Owner Jake Howland says, “This is fun to me. I’m a mechanical person, so I get excited about the equipment. The still has a 250-gallon pot and 13ft-tall towers made from copper and stainless steel. The towers are one four-, and two eight-plate copper bubble plate columns high and a condenser that pours out anything from rum to totally neutral alcohol. Simple
chemistry.”

Stick around and you might also get to chat with Jake, who’s a local resident and the chemist behind it all. After studying chemistry at Vanderbilt University, Jake spent more than a decade in the pharmaceutical industry and eventually got into the manufacturing and mechanical side of it.

He says, “I come from pharma, pharma manufacturing, and pilot production for R&D. I got in with a startup company and built the manufacturing team. Equipment and process became my thing.”

A few years back, he got an itch for starting a business, so he headed to business school at night, finishing his MBA at Meredith College in 2016.

“I spent about a year researching the distilling industry and learned that people really are doing this, and there’s lots of market for it. It’s similar to what’s happened with the brewing industry, which has grown in the last couple of decades. Like brewing, the distilling industry is very different than it was 10 years ago. We now have premium products—unique local craft products,” he says.

Jake’s using his combination of business know-how and pharma experience to build Aristotle Spirits. In The Lab, he’s perfecting the premium products they’re offering.

He says, “We’re making a better product, grain to glass. We care about what we make and follow production formulas. Our product is consistent because we bring real quality to this process. We make it right every time.”

Distilling = Science + Art

And that’s the science behind the production consistency in The Lab. Formulas. Tried and true. Reliable results in every single bottle.

But the beauty in the consistency of pure spirits isn’t only in the science. Distilling is one-part science, one-part art.

Jake explains, “You’ve got to find the right character because you can really create a different profile. Use some different local grains or add a higher citrus input, include orange peel, or try a barrel-rested gin.”

Throw in some subtle spices for that gin, sweet molasses for the rum. Infuse vodkas with fresh North Carolina fruit… and the art meets science head on.

Even Aristotle would approve!

Welcome to the Distillery Community

As you’re whetting your palate, checking out the production space, and chatting with Jake and the staff, pull up a chair and relax.

In our distillery, you’ll discover a community—Aristotle and the greats who’ve gone before us, your next-door neighbors who’ve stopped in for a taste and a chat, the friends who’ve driven in from around the state.

At Aristotle Spirits, we’re building for community—most importantly, the local community. This space is being created by locals for locals. And every chance we get, we source local.

Jake says, “We’re locally grown from grain to glass, with spices from India and the Caribbean. Our grains include locally sourced malt barley, and our fruit-infused flavors incorporate North Carolina grown strawberries, peaches, and more.”

We’re also committed to doing business sustainably, reducing or eliminating wasted ingredients, energy and water, and taking care of the community around us and the people in it.

“This place is about the product, but it’s also about people, the ones who work here and the customers we’ve yet to meet. It’s about the ideas we share. A slower pace. People come in to sit, relax, talk and drink. Please stop by. Make yourself at home. Bring the baby and the dog,” Jake says.

We can’t wait to see you!

As construction on the distillery continues, we’ll continue to post updates here and on our Facebook page. Be sure to follow our progress!