SMALL BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT: Last Shot Distillery was not named by accident. Chris Uyehara had often thought about the business he would like to start. It takes a lot of juggling to get all the pieces to fit: product, location, funding, equipment, viable partners, etc. But, Chris recognized when the time was right and consulted the SBDC and worked with Nancy Ansteth on his business plan.
At the time he was negotiating a location in the Village of Skaneateles. It seemed as though every new inspection of the building revealed another roadblock. Eventually Chris announced he found a partner, John Menapace, who had a potential site for the distillery’s location: a former mill at 4022 Mill Road, just outside the Village of Skaneateles.
Equipment was ordered (and stalled as it was mistaken for a part of a rocket at customs), received and installed. Chris applied his knowledge of distillation and in 2015 opened an on-site taste room where locals were introduced to future bourbon, gin and vodka. The uniqueness of the business led the curious to Mill Road and the site became a popular venue for music and gatherings. At this same location Chris also started a brewery which has also gained acclaim.
The facility has been expanded, music is offered sometimes 2-3 times a week. More recently, Chris won the Discovery Channel’s Season 3, Moonshiners: Master Distiller. In the “Whiskeys of the World” competition Chris’ entry was a Japanese-style whiskey which calls for four types of malted grain. He won out over an American-style and a Scotch whiskey. Chris felt that working with his SBDC advisor enabled him to explore the vision he had for his business.
Read articles and advice written by our very own Onondaga SBDC Business Advisors!