Delicious spirits are distilled close by


Jane Beenenga

Jordan Gwinn, Disobedient Spirits Distillery operations director, transfers bourbon from a barrel to a bottle in a distillery room.

Jane Beenenga, Staff Writer

Disobeying is fun, and it may have gotten better.

There’s a new kind of disobedience in town. Well, a few towns over. Tastes of disobedience are offered at Disobedient Spirits, a two-year-old distillery in Homer City, Indiana County.

Distillery operators had their first Friday event Nov. 4, held once a month.

The establishment is an industrial space with a bar where specialty cocktails featuring their house-made liquor, and several shelves full of bottled liquor also are available to purchase.

Each month, Disobedient Spirits managers host a different band to entertain in their spacious pool-table room.  This month it was “The Face of Abes,” a State College area band.

The bar was bustling. Three bartenders were making cocktails, but Director of Operations Jordan Gwinn slowed down to concoct some samples. “Fall n’ Tonic”, resembling a gin and tonic but with a slice of grapefruit and some tarragon, was innovative, different and delicious.

Another drink was Gwinn’s adult cappuccino. It’s not on the menu, but he concocted a mixture of double-brewed iced coffee and Nutella-infused vodka. Yes, you read that right. It, too, was delicious.

The most important part of the operation wasn’t the bar, or the band. It’s what got everyone there in the first place: the distilling of the spirits. Gwinn seemed passionate about the process, so when the bartenders ran out of bourbon, he conducted a tour of the distilling room to see how their liquor is made.

He showed the raw grains they use from a local farm and the large machines where staff members cook the ingredients and the vats where they distill the liquor.

The bourbon Gwinn needed was in a wooden barrel, which he uncorked and then siphoned into a bucket.

He carefully poured the liquor into four different bottles to take out to the bar, all while explaining about how Disobedient Spirits started.

“My father-in-law is one of the founders. He’s the one who asked me to come and help him get this running. My background is in bar-and-restaurant management, so it just made sense,” Gwinn said.

There are seven staff members who keep Disobedient Spirits operating, but the company has thrived since its December 2014 opening, Gwinn said.

“We want to provide a laid-back atmosphere and a place for people to come and enjoy our spirits,” Gwinn said.

Their bar is also pet-friendly. While the bar managers don’t currently serve food, Gwinn says that they’ve thought about it.

“We need to get our operation working exactly how we want it to before we serve food. We usually have food trucks or local business come to sell food at our events,” he said.

Their First Friday event isn’t the only thing that draws a crowd, either.

“We do many small events, like Lushes with Brushes, an art and cocktail night, and Yoga and Cocktails,” Gwinn said.

These events draw five to 20 people.

The establishment exudes just what Gwinn claims he is going for. It’s casual, but it’s also classy. One thing to try if you’re going to “disobey”? The barrel-aged cherry whiskey. It’s Gwinn’s own innovation, and it’s reportedly the best.