NAPOLEON, Ohio — A local brew master is turning his attention to distilling spirits, and he will soon be representing the entire region on national television.
Lawrence Pritchard has been brewing beer, distilling spirits and making wine at Flatrock Brewery in Napoleon for years.
But he has now decided to re-brand his business to solely be a distillery.
Pritchard said he was inspired by his grandfather, Lawrence Pritchard Sr., who was a depression-era moonshiner in southern Ohio.
"From the stories I've been told, it was a necessity. Because in southern Ohio, if you were a farmer during the depression, it wasn't profitable, you couldn't make any money. So, a lot of people, not just in Ohio, but in Kentucky, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, all over the South were running liquor to feed their families," Pritchard said.
He said the turning point was when he was accepted to appear in an episode of Discovery Channel's series "Moonshiner: Master Distiller."
So, he used that moment to begin focusing entirely on spirits.
"You know, it's in my blood, and it's something I wanted to do. And with the show Moonshiners it was just a great opportunity to switch gears a little bit and focus on one discipline versus three or four," Pritchard said.
The Flatrock Distillery will be fully up and running within the next few months.
And Pritchard said he hopes to open his tasting room to the public along with selling his spirits statewide.
Pritchard will appear on the show next week, and he hopes the appearance can not only be a boom to his business, but to the entire 419 region as well.
"Not only because it's showcasing our distillery, but also Napoleon, Ohio, and bringing more people to town and tourists to town. I think national exposure like that is really going to help," he said.
The episode of "Moonshiners: Master Distiller" airs on St. Paddy's Day, Tuesday at 10 p.m. A watch party is scheduled in Toledo at the Casual Pint, starting around 9 p.m.