The village of Mamaroneck is about to get a lot more spirited, as Port Chester resident Vincent Miata will soon be turning his hobby into a business with the opening of Good Shepherd Distillery.
The business, which will be located at 360 Mount Pleasant Ave., will distill vodka, brandy, and—down the line—whiskey and gin, and will also offer tours, tastings and the retail selling of liquors made in New York state.
“I’ve been doing this as a hobby for a long time and I’m excited to share it with other people,” Miata told the Review. “I think coming here is something different for people to do, especially when we start offering private tours or tastings.”
Miata, whose wife and family have helped bring his dream to fruition, said Good Shepherd plans to open on Saturday afternoons at first, but will expand to Sunday hours. Miata said he is excited to also start holding classes on how to cook and distill liquor once the distillery has settled into its new location. His other business goals include reaching out to bars and liquor stores within a 3-mile radius in the hopes that they will carry his products, as well as selling them at local farmers markets.
Mike Hofer, owner of the Smokehouse Tailgate Grill on Mamaroneck Avenue in Mamaroneck, said he tries to buy and carry local products.
“We’re excited to feature some of Vinny’s products and be able to tell customers that it was made right here in Mamaroneck,” Hofer said. “Local residents feel a certain sense of pride knowing liquors were made where they live; it’s something they can connect with.”
Although Miata’s liquor license only permits him to carry products made within the state, he said he’s happy to open Mamaroneck’s first business that specifically supports locally handmade spirits.
His wife Carly shares his sentiment.
“We take pride in the fact that our license only allows us to carry statewide liquors,” she said. “We love to shop local and we support small businesses. We were both born and raised in New York and we don’t see ourselves leaving.”
Carly Miata designed the interior of Good Shepherd Distillery, which is named and themed after the couple’s silver German shepherd, Loki. The business’ logo includes a doghouse, and the distillery’s interior will feature photos of Loki on canvas.
Carly Miata said she and her husband wanted to give the business a name that was both catchy and sentimental, and since Loki is such a big part of their lives, they settled on naming the distillery after him. She said they are also Catholic and spiritual, so they like the name’s religious undertones.
Vincent Miata said the effort to get his business off the ground has come with few hiccups, save for logistical paperwork and ensuring residents that his location would not cause commotion in the community. He said after attending village board meetings and explaining the distillery’s sophisticated, hyperlocal demeanor and Saturday afternoon hours, people were more comfortable with the business. The owner said residents now regularly stop by the shop to knock on the window and express their excitement for its anticipated opening.
“People are naturally afraid of what they don’t understand, but over time, they’re going to be happy with what they see,” Vincent Miata said.
Good Shepherd Distillery’s grand opening will take place on Saturday, April 2 from noon to 4 p.m.