For more than 10 years, Calder Curtis was an aircraft metals technologist for the Air Force. Making moonshine in his garage was a hobby that he was passionate about—not a career. After returning from Afghanistan, his goal was to finish his mechanical engineering degree. But, after working closely with engineers in Afghanistan, he realized that a desk job wasn’t for him.
So, in 2015, he took his love of distilling and opened Cockpit Craft Distillery, where he and his staff are committed to creating great spirits using the finest ingredients with the thoughtfulness and consideration found in the aviation industry. “That [attention to detail] is what makes our spirits so good that they never give you a hangover or a headache,” Curtis says. “If you only drink our spirits and you get a headache, I’ll buy your bottle back.”
The apple pie moonshine is one of his biggest sellers. The addition of 100% apple cider from Talbot farms plus vanilla and a cinnamon stick makes it taste just like fall. The P51 Mustang bourbon whiskey, made with food-grade corn, imported rye from Germany, and chocolate malt from England, offers a unique tasting profile with notes of apple and citrus.
Every month, the distillery holds a war council at which veteran-owned businesses and charities meet with vets suffering from PTSD to raise awareness for issues, such as suicide, and to make sure these veterans receive the support and resources they need.
To experience the true brotherhood of the veteran community, come visit and sit at the bar made from the tail of a C-45, a WWII-era cargo plane, and the Cheers-like atmosphere will feel just like home.