CRESTVIEW — Some historic businesses change names or products, but the history still remains.
One of those places is Peaden Brothers Distillery on Main Street in the old Fox Theater building, which opened in the late 1940s.
Robert Ellis, one of the owners, said he thinks that is what sets the distillery apart from others.
“We still kinda keep the touch of the theater as you can tell from the outside, it still has the yellow and red colors,” said Ellis. “We didn’t change much to the building at all.”
The outside also still has the poster slots, which now showcase different whiskey labels. Inside the building, customers will find the original candy counter, which houses the original popcorn machine.
The old screening rooms are currently used for storage, but Ellis hopes to someday use them for movies about moonshine.
The historic elements don’t stop there.
The distillery was established in 2012, but due to a long approval process it did not open until 2014. Ellis co-owns the business with his lifelong friend, Tyler Peaden, and their wives.
“Me and Tyler were in the bar business for several years and we just talked and said let’s look into this,” said Ellis. “After doing some research, we realized that the Peaden family actually has a 200-year history of making moonshine, so we actually dug up and the moonshine I have here is actually a 200-year family recipe.”
The distillery sells five flavors of whiskey, three of which hold special meaning.
The ‘strawberry angel’ whiskey is dedicated to Peaden’s daughter who passed away a few years ago due to juvenile diabetes.
“Her favorite fruit was a strawberry, so me and Tyler’s brother got together and designed the label with the halo and the wings and her initials,” said Ellis. “We bought the UPC codes, and the last five digits are her birthday.”
The ‘cherry da bomb’ whiskey honors the military with a pinup girl from the '50s and '60s on the label. ‘Blueberry curve’ whiskey was named after a bend in the road north of Crestview High School.
The distillery also sells 'big granny’s spiced apple cobbler shine' and original moonshine from a family recipe.
Customers can go to the distillery and receive a free sample of any of the flavors before purchase.
Ellis said the distillery is one of the true small craft distilleries.
“We make everything by hand. We go from the bag of grain through the whole process,” said Ellis. “We print our own labels. We label the bottles and fill them one at a time.
“Many distilleries don’t make their own whiskey. They buy bulk spirits, blend it, bottle it, and call it their own where we make our own,” he added.
For more information, go to www.peadenbrothersdistillery.com or visit the distillery at 382 Main St.