Cheers to Cleveland company fighting a looming whiskey shortage

1:12 AM, Dec 1, 2011   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- Here's a story just about anyone can raise a glass to. A Cleveland businessman has figured out a way to produce whiskey in a fraction of the normal time.

His concept isn't just about the liquor. It's about getting our economy back on top.

"As a whiskey drinker, I'm concerned about the fact that there's this looming whiskey shortage," says Tom Lix, developer and owner of Cleveland Whiskey.

It's not that Tom Lix can't live without the liquor, but the spirit of an entrepreneur sees a solution to problems.

Lix learned certain brands of whiskey were no longer available on U.S. store shelves and were instead being bought up in countries like China, Russia and India where there is a growing middle class and whiskey is an affordable luxury.

The liquor typically takes 9 to 10 years to age in a barrel, but the former software developer experimented in his basement with a pressure cooker and mason jars and found a way to cut down the wait time.

"Its really an acceleration of something that occurs in nature. We just make it happen faster," he said. 

In stainless steal drums, the whiskey is heated and cooled in various pressure cycles. Pieces of wood are placed inside to give the spirit that "oakey" flavor.

Cleveland Whiskey -- as Tom has named the company -- is working on building up its supply.

In the summer, he plans to start selling the whiskey on local store shelves and overseas.

"It's time that we created some products. Not just services, but real products that we can ship over there, sell over there and bring some currency back. That's what we need to do as a country."

That's a notion anyone can "cheers" to.


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