After years of Peter making his moonshine in the hearse garage and all of us friends taking full advantage of his creations; Chris jokingly said, “We should open a distillery!” We all proclaimed, “Pete’s moonshine is like nothing we’ve ever tasted before!” After winning Master Distiller in March 2020, Chris’s jokes soon became a reality. Six months later, during a worldwide pandemic, Smokin’ Tails Distillery was born.
We received our federal liquor license rather quickly but waited with anticipation for over six months for any word from New York State Liquor Authority. On a chilly Fall Day, we finally received a letter stating a few small things needed to be completed and we thought we were in the clear!!! However, we soon realized the final items needed were pictures of our Tasting Room and Still Room….tasks we hadn’t even started!!! Not to mention we only had 15 DAYS to get everything accomplished!! With the help of family and friends, we built our much-loved black walnut bar and created a beautiful cozy Tasting Room in just 13 days!! Something we are very proud of.
While we opened during a Worldwide pandemic, we had no idea where this business would take us. Let alone how quickly new friendships would be made with so many people, not only from New York State but nationwide. We truly thrive on making our customers feel like family, but most importantly creating high quality spirits using locally grown grains. Without a high-quality product none of this would exist. Pete, Sharon, Chris and Lisa have nothing but gratitude for our friendship, but even more for this crazy adventure we have with Smokin’ Tails Distillery!!! Shine On Everyone!
Pete was born and raised in the picturesque Finger Lakes region in Upstate New York. At the age of 11 he knew he wanted to be a funeral director and by 25, he had purchased his own funeral home. In the quiet times at work, he started making wine and eventually moonshine. He refers to his first 5 gallon still as “The Professor” and has crafted many recipes over the years. Back in December 2019 he applied to a Facebook ad to be a candidate on Discovery Channel Moonshiners spinoff show Master Distiller. Just 3 weeks after being accepted he flew down to Gaitlinburg, TN for 5 days and filmed the American Whiskey episode. Truly a once in a lifetime experience he met Mark and Digger from Moonshiners along with Tim Jones from Buffalo Trace who was a guest judge. There Pete’s nickname, “The Undertaker” was born along with his famous 4 Grain Spirit recipe. A super mash of corn, malted rye, malted barley and Triticale which is a hybrid of wheat and rye. The episode can still be viewed by searching Moonshiners Master Distiller American Whiskey!