Bullock Distillery: Crafting Spirits and Creating Jobs with Help from the WVEDA

In the heart of West Charleston between beautiful vibrant murals, you’ll find Bullock Distillery. Bullock Distillery’s owners have roots in Appalachia that go back to the 1700s, and while the business itself is far younger than a few centuries old, the storefront has already become an integral part of the neighborhood.

Bullock Distillery makes and bottles all kinds of spirits at their facility like bourbons, whiskeys, brandies, vodkas, gin, and more. In the front of the building, customers can wander around and shop. In the back, you’ll find industrial machinery using different ratios of corn, rye, wheat, and malted barley, sourced from West Virginia farmers.

Tighe Bullock was born and raised in Charleston and co-founded the distillery. He has been working in the Elk City Historic District since he was doing construction at 14 years old, and if you look hard enough at one of the murals, you can see a younger and more colorful version of Tighe.

But like any business, Bullock Distillery ran into road blocks along the way. One problem was their bottling process was slow and inefficient.

“During the first six months of being open, we were basically hand-bottling,” said Tighe. “We had a lot of spillage, we had a lot of inefficiencies… we realized that was a major limitation in our business model.”

A serious bottling machine is a considerable investment, but Bullock Distillery was able to get connected with the West Virginia Economic Development Authority. “It was a bad time for borrowing and that can be hard to finance through traditional means,” said Tighe. “The WVEDA was very understanding and responsive and they saw the potential for it to grow our business.”

Now, Bullock Distillery is in talks to take on contract bottling from out of state, bringing business into West Virginia. They are significantly more efficient and are planning on increasing their workforce.

When Tighe was a teenager doing construction on the neighborhood’s historic buildings, he was inspired by the tenants who came to work every day, unlocked their shops, and put themselves out into the world. Now, Bullock Distillery is creating jobs and contributing to the life of their community.​​​​​