Doc Howard’s Distillery handcrafts its whiskeys and rums from pure, locally sourced ingredients

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Doc and Sherri Howard are the founders of Doc Howard’s Distillery. You can find their spirits at local beverage stores and select Giant Eagle locations. (Photography: Felicia Vargo)

By Patricia Nugent

The labels on Doc Howard’s Distillery whiskeys and rums feature a worn leather doctor’s bag and wire-rimmed spectacles. If you think that seems old-fashioned, you’re right. The local family-operated distillery does things the way they used to be done. Distinctive spirits are hand-crafted from locally sourced raw ingredients with a time-trusted methodology.

But before we get into the award-winning flavor profiles, let’s get to know a little about the man and wife behind every bottle—Kenneth “Doc” and Sherri Howard.

After spending years making wine and beer as a hobby, Doc knew his way around the fermentation process. As his day job as an engineer was inching toward retirement back in 2015, he began to research the spirits industry and discovered that people were moving away from white spirits and toward darker ones, like whiskey and rum. That’s when the dream of operating his own distillery began its own fermentation process, officially opening its doors in 2016.

“I like to take the time to experiment with different styles of spirits derived from the purest sources, such as fresh corn, wheat, barley and rye, with a dash of spicy and sweet, including cinnamon sticks, pure maple syrup, cane sugar and molasses,” says Doc, who notes that his is one of a handful of family-run distilleries in Ohio. He and Sherri are thankful to daughter Megan, who has been part of the operation from the get-go.

Garnering International Accolades
Doc and Sherri have achieved such popularity locally that people encouraged them to put their liquors up against others, so they entered the Great American International Spirits Competition in Rochester, New York.

“To our delight, we won bronze medals for our Maple Whiskey and Corn Whiskey. These are our two best sellers,” says Sherri. “The people of Northeast Ohio know good whiskey when they taste it.”

Rounding out the line of liquors are Doc’s Favorite Rye Whiskey, Tribute Whiskey–Bourbon Style, Kilted Scotch Whiskey, Hot Poker Cinnamon Whiskey, Golden Rum, Spiced Rum and Tribute 40 Whiskey–Bourbon Style. You can purchase them by the bottle at the distillery, or at stores around town.

Visit Doc Howard’s Distillery in Perry for tours and tastings, a perfect way to chase away the chill of winter.

Tastings, Tours and Private Parties
Sherri and Doc are passionate about their products and it shows. In fact, the fundamental component of their business lies in product tastings and distillery tours.

“Every tasting is different,” says Sherri. “We make things entertaining, including a sample of four of our products, at a nominal cost. It’s an educational experience.”

In addition to the standard tastings, the distillery has also become a popular venue for parties, from bachelor and bachelorette to birthday parties.

In Your Local Liquor Store
“Made local, sold local, buy local.” That has been Doc’s business model since the inception of the distillery. “We priced our products to be competitive with national brands so people could buy local ‘spirits’ like they did in the past,” beams Doc. “Make Doc’s products your go-to liquor when you visit your local liquor store.”

Cran-Maple Christmas
Perfect for a festive soiree or just an evening by the fire, this bewitching concoction looks as tantalizing as it tastes. Go to for other holiday drink recipes, from Hot Peppermint Patty to how to make an authentic Hot Buttered Rum.

• 2 oz. Doc’s Maple Whiskey
• 1 ½ oz. cranberry juice
• Enough Sprite, 7-Up or
• ginger ale to fill the glass

Add ice to shaker, then add whiskey and cranberry juice. Shake. Strain into a rocks glass with ice. Fill glass with Sprite, 7-Up or ginger ale. To dial up the holiday wow factor, for ice cubes, fill an ice tray with cranberry juice and sliced cranberries, freeze until firm. Cheers!

Doc Howard’s Distillery is located at 3645 Lane Road, Suite 203, in Perry. You can buy the products at 13 stores throughout Northeast Ohio, including Giant Eagle stores in Lyndhurst, Madison, Chardon, Willoughby, Geneva, Painesville and Mentor-on-the-Lake; World Wine & Liquor in Mentor; Shoregate Beverage in Willowick; Fairport Harbor Beverage; Grumpy Grandpa in Ashtabula; Green Road Liquor in University Heights; and Silver Spirits in Akron. Visit for more information or call 440-488-4234.

Categories: Food & Dining