I love Cincinnati’s drinking culture, and I’m endlessly fascinated to watch the drinking industry here in town grow and change. I’m a diehard craft beer fan, and a fairly novice booze lover as well – which is why this news is really exciting to me.

Let’s take this, one step at a time.

Who Was/Is Shumrick and Leys?

This website is new to the world of covering our local booze scene, so I haven’t had a chance to really dig in and let you get to know these guys… so here’s your crash course.

Shumrick and Leys is located in Norwood, Ohio on Highland Avenue, and they’ve been distilling there since 2017, with a former location literally in a barn in Milford. With a portfolio that includes rum, a Bourbon, a wine barrel aged whiskey that they call “Bourvin”, and some vodkas… they’ve been chugging along crafting things that have started to win them over plenty of fans locally.

As For Bob Slattery?

Bob Slattery is a mogul here in town. The founder of Reach Magazine, Valpak and several other digital and print advertising venues along with Slatts Pub while also being a partner in the Cincinnati staple brewery, Fifty West. The guy is the definition of an entrepreneur.

When he talks about why he is buying Shumrick and Leys, he talks about exploring new technologies in the space. Playing around and experimenting are things that have made Fifty West who they are in Cincinnati, and it’s exciting to see that spirit brought into another industry, and another company.

This Isn’t A Fifty West Distillery

When I first started hearing rumblings of this purchase happening it was definitely pushed to me as “Fifty West is buying the distillery”. That’s not the case, and the guys at 50W have made that very clear to me. While they support Bob 100% in his new venture and look forward to seeing what he is going to do – they are most definitely dedicated to beer, and you can expect to see that represented in their products.

What’s The New Distillery Going To Look Like?

They aren’t trying to change too much right now. The former owner of Shumrick and Ley’s is staying on as Master Distiller, while the whole brand itself is being reimagined as Robert James Distillery.

The biggest changes right off the bat are on the technology side. A big invest is being made in iStill technology, a company that has some really fun ideas about “fast aging” products that will help Robert James Distillery to not only collaborate among a unique network of similar distilleries, but to come to market faster with cutting edge, patented spirits production processes.

I can’t wait to see how this all plays out, and to try the stuff they’re planning.

It sounds to me like the new Robert James Distillery is trying to keep the things they love about Shumrick and Leys while pushing things into a new experimental realm that is really exciting for not just the community – but the industry as a whole…

Stay tuned – You know you’re going to be hearing more about these folks.

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