TV binge-watch­ing at work, in re­strooms the new norm.

The Hazleton Standard-Speaker - - FRONT PAGE - BY DENISE ALLABAUGH STAFF WRITER Jonathan Lang and his wife, Mar yann, re­cently opened Lang Bev­er­age Co. in Nan­ti­coke, the first dis­tiller y in Luzerne County. Jonathan and Mar yann hold bot­tles from the dis­tiller y. Con­tact the writer: dal­labaugh@cit­i­zen

NAN­TI­COKE — A Nan­ti­coke cou­ple has opened the first dis­tillery in Luzer ne County.

Jonathan and Maryann Lang re­cently opened Lang Bev­er­age Co. in a for mer garage at 128 Lee Mine St. and the flag­ship prod­uct they make and sell is vodka called “220 Shine.”

It took sev­eral months of con­struc­tion, ap­pli­ca­tions and in­spec­tions be­fore Lang Bev­er­age Co. fi­nally opened in the small garage, where the cou­ple showed a still they use to make the vodka.

Jonathan Lang said they have ideas for other prod­ucts but now they are just sell­ing 220 Shine, a name as­so­ci­ated with the nos­tal­gia in­duced by sto­ries of moon­shin­ers who risked fines and prison time to make and sell liquor.

“We wanted to start out with some­thing very sim­ple and there’s noth­ing more sim­ple than just a straight vodka,” Lang said. “It’s very clean and crisp. Peo­ple say it has a sweet taste.”

Mak­ing and sell­ing vodka be­came le­gal in the state in 2012 when the Penn­syl­va­nia Liquor Con­trol Board be­gan al­low­ing lim­ited dis­tillery li­censes.

Lang said their lim­ited dis­tillery li­cense is unique be­cause they are not re­stricted to sell­ing in state liquor stores.

“It put dis­til­leries on the same foot­ing as a win­ery,” Lang said.

There are only two ac­tive lim­ited dis­tillery li­censes in Luzerne County and 76 statewide, said LCB spokesman Shawn Kelly.

Li­censed dis­tillers can make up to 100,000 gal­lons a year and sell di­rect or online.

In ad­di­tion to Lang Bev­er­age, Nick Rosati of Moosic plans to open a dis­tillery called Miner’s Mill in a cen- tury-old his­toric build­ing at 93 Miller St. in Wilkes-Barre that was part of the Min­erHil­lard Milling Co.

Rosati said he plans to make and sell rum, gin and whiskey and hopes to open in the spring.

His grand­fa­ther was a moon­shiner decades ago and he said, “I thought it would be neat to do it my­self.”

He found the build­ing so in­ter­est­ing and wanted to do some­thing to save it.

In ad­di­tion to sell­ing rum, gin and whiskey, Rosati said he also will be per­mit­ted to sell wine and beer on the premises as long as it’s made in Penn­syl­va­nia.

Lang said he looks for­ward to an­other dis­tillery open­ing in Luzerne County.

“We need more of us,” he said. “I’d love to see it. It seems to be a trend through­out the state right now.”

The Langs re­cently be­gan sell­ing 220 Shine for $27 a bot­tle and sam­ples for $3 on Satur­days from noon to 7 p.m. at the Nan­ti­coke garage. They also will be open Nov. 28 from noon to 7 p.m. Ad­di­tional hours can be made by ap­point­ment by call­ing 570592-5937 or 570-606-9815.

They have been talk­ing to area bars about sell­ing their vodka and they also hope to sell it at fairs, fes­ti­vals and farm­ers mar­kets.

“There’s a lot of in­ter­est in it but there’s noth­ing out there on the shelves quite yet,” Lang said. “It’s get­ting a great re­cep­tion. The fla­vor is good. We had a lot of good feed­back on it. It should be a hit.”

Jonathan Lang works as an elec­tri­cal in­spec­tor and his wife works for a re­tail fur­ni­ture com­pany. They said it was a dream come true for both of them to open their own dis­tillery.

“I still work as an elec­tri­cal in­spec­tor part-time un­til I can make this pay for the rest of my bills,” Lang said.

He said he came up with the idea af­ter re­search­ing how to make beer, wine and spir­its.

“I got into mak­ing beer and my wife liked mak­ing wine. We got to­gether and we hatched a dream of do­ing this,” he said. “Eight to 10 years later, we fi­nally made it to this point.”

Maryann Lang said in the fu­ture, they hope to ex­pand into a larger lo­ca­tion and open a tast­ing room.

“I love to have peo­ple com­ing in and buy­ing a bot­tle but I’d love to have that sense of com­mu­nity where peo­ple can stay and have a drink,” she said.

For more in­for­ma­tion about Lang Bev­er­age Co. or to or­der online, go to their web­site at lang­bev­er­age.org.

MARK MO­RAN / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

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