CJ Spirits

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CJ Spirits celebrated their grand opening on June 14, 2014 by having a full day of food, craft vendors, music, and distillery tours. CJ Spirits is a craft distillery located in Kane along the famous Route 6 corridor in the heart of the Pennsylvania Wilds. They currently produce two types of vodka, gin, and a white whiskey with plans to continue increasing their product offerings. CJ Spirits also offers tours and tastings, a bar area serving mixed drinks, homemade appetizers, a limited lunch menu, and a retail gift store.

Owners Sam Cummings and Thomas Jones had been friends since middle school and remained close friends throughout the years. When Pennsylvania created a limited distillery license in 2012, they seized the business opportunity to join forces and open their own distillery. Sam attended several training classes to learn more about the distillery industry and manufacturing processes. Tom had extensive sales and marketing expertise as well as previous restaurant and bar experience. Combining their expertise has proven to make a winning team.

CJ Spirits reached out to the Clarion University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) early in the process for assistance in developing a detailed business plan. The SBDC assisted CJ Spirits with market and industry research, constructing a business plan, and financing options. This helped CJ Spirits understand the profit potential of the business and seasonal fluctuations they would likely encounter. With the help of the SBDC, CJ Spirits made a successful business plan and acquired funding for their distillery.

One of the greatest challenges CJ Spirits faced was a delay in acquiring the necessary alcohol and tobacco licenses. The licensing was delayed for eighty days at the federal level due to the government being shut-down in early 2014.

CJ Spirts is continuing to expand. With the growing wholesale distribution, their products are being sold in forty restaurants. CJ Spirits is also in the process of trying to introduce their spirits into state liquor stores. Currently, CJ Spirits employs three full-time employees and three part-time employees. Being a growing business, they have great potential for creating new jobs through employee growth.