Stephen Mann was born and raised in Lewis County. He left the state, but his dream of opening a distillery has brought him back home to West Virginia.
Mann plans to open Manncave Distillery later this year. He will make gin, vodka, whiskey and moonshine (white whiskey). Mann’s liquors use no artificial coloring.
Mann graduated high school in Lewis County in 1987, he attended West Virginia University and went into the military. He has worked in Information Technology (IT) for about 20 years, and is currently employed by Homeland Security. Along with Mann, his wife Wendy also chose IT as a career path. She works mostly in coding.
The Manns’ dream is to quit their day jobs and completely devote their time to growing their distillery and making it everything they imagine it to be.
“IT is too hard to keep up with as technology grows, we wanted to create something that we could leave to our children,” said Mann.
Mann loved a certain foreign brand of alcohol, which he could rarely find, and then eventually the company stopped manufacturing his favorite drink.
Mann decided to take matters into his own hands and create his own whiskey that was similar to his favorite drink. While experimenting, Mann ended up with a creation that he liked even better. This is how his dream of starting a distillery was created.
TKS Contracting out of Upshur County will start building the building for the distillery in about four weeks.
The distillery will be located at 851 Left Millstone Rd., in Weston, and will be situated on 5 acres of property. Mann said he hopes to have the building completed by July and is awaiting permits from the federal and state governments to begin the process of actually creating and distributing the liquor.
Mann said this will be a family-run business at first, but he hopes the business will take off and become large enough to hire employees. He said he will leave the business to his four children once the couple is ready to
At first, Mann will sell the liquors to distributors, starting with West Virginia, but he will expand to other states once they get the business off the ground.
The distillery will have a tasting area, for those who wish to try a sample, but there will be no consumption on the
Mann said hopes are to build the distillery into a setting with a resort-like atmosphere, a greenhouse for people to enjoy the botany (plant life) and even a fish pond, eventually.
“Lewis County has been deteriorating for a long time, and is continuing to do so, I hope to give back to the community,” said Mann.
He said they will be buying glass and grain in large amounts.
Mann also said that he hopes this will put Weston on the map and help build up the town by bringing in industry, the ways that other distilleries have in
The distillery also will
feature tours of the facility and guests will be able to see the process of how the liquor is made.
Another aspect that will be coming to the distillery will be cold-brewed coffee, which uses a similar method, in the creation of the liquors. This will be an expansion of the business, which was thought up by Mann’s wife, Wendy Mann.
Wendy Mann said that cold brewing the coffee doesn’t leave the bitterness that often comes with regular coffee, because it is created from a colder source.
“It just rolls off your tongue and it also has about 50-60 percent more caffeine than the average cup of coffee,” she said.