Here in the fertile Lehigh Valley we grow our own grains and source other ingredients from the farms of our friends and neighbors to give you a true seed to glass experience. Our name also has some roots to it. Let's start with "Oaks." The oak tree gives us the barrels that people have been using for centuries to age their spirits. Of course the oak is also a symbol of strength, nature and longevity.
Now the number 8 has always been significant in my family. My grandfather lived in a time when people wrote letters. He often worked away from home, and my dad told me the story of when his father wrote these letters, he would sign off with a number 8. He told him that the 8 was representative of the 8 letters in I Love You. When my dad wrote me letters as a kid, he continued the tradition, and I have carried that tradition on with my family. Now it’s not so much in letters as it is in the form of texts and emails, and yes, even Facebook posts and tweets. It has come to mean more than just I love you. It means I’m proud of you, I’m thinking about you and just generally a symbol of love and support. But more importantly, it is a direct tie back to my grandfather and my father, who have both since passed on but are always with us in spirit.
Co-founder, Distiller, Floor Mopper
I spent 25 years as a pilot in the military and civilian aviation industry.
After many years of traveling for work I am happy to be spending more time close to home with friends and family. I got into craft distilling because it's a great blend of agriculture, science and history. I enjoy two of the following three things: running marathons, watching college football and finding great places to eat wherever we travel. I live with my wife and best friend, Jodi, in New Tripoli, PA and still can't believe that she actually agreed to start a distillery!
Co-founder, Distiller, Busboy
I am a born, raised and educated Lehigh Valley countryman. Only after 7 long years in the oil and gas industry did I realize my thirst to return to my roots to work closely with my friends and family.
A closet brewer to start, I started my distilling journey by hand crafting ales at home. With just enough knowledge to be dangerous, the desire to work with my hands, and my fascination with small batch, artisan spirits, I was naturally drawn to craft distilling.
I enjoy raising my family (two little girls) with my high school sweetheart, Lia, and raising a glass with good company. A tinkerer at heart, I also enjoy riding and fixing (mostly fixing) my self-restored moped (yes, they still exist, pedals and all) in my hometown of New Tripoli, PA.
Customer Experience Rep, Distiller, Coffee Maker, Singer/Dancer
I spent most of my life moving and traveling and, much to my surprise, found some serious roots here in New Tripoli about eight years ago – I’m now living in a cute old farmhouse with my other half, Logan.
I am a lover of the human spirit - I appreciate people’s stories and hearing about where they came from or what they have experienced.
I also have quite the background in drinking great booze, which makes this the perfect career choice!
I like to roam and explore new places every chance I can. On any given Sunday night you can find me watching Gilmore Girls - just a slight obsession. I am a mama to a pretty little puppy and (on most days) a CrossFit enthusiast.
When asked this question throughout my life, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" I never really had a great answer like everyone else… "Doctor", "Lawyer", "Veterinarian"... I always knew I wanted to work with family. Family is my passion. You have one life and all these great people surround us - of course I want to be with them as much as I can!
I can’t wait to meet all of you, and hear your stories.
Distiller, Mechanic, Still Polisher
I was born and raised in the Lehigh Valley, living on the same farm that Eight Oaks Craft Distillery came to be built all of my life. I'm the youngest of three brothers and a sister who I often run into on the dirt road that connects all of our houses.
Always a lover of mechanical systems, working under the sun and enterprise, I started a property service business in high school that has grown over the past 6 years. Now eager to take on this new endeavor, I look forward to leveraging what I have learned to create artisan spirits with a story… After all whiskey is essentially bottled sunshine!
Craft distilling appeals to me because of the technical aspects involved from controlling temperatures in the still, to the soil science that is the base of our grains used in our process.
To this day I still enjoy a life lived on that same farm, with my long time love Carly Butters, now living in our house within view of the distillery! I enjoy working with my hands in challenging and engaging tasks, as well as good company and fine spirits.
I can’t wait to share our final product with all of you!
Eight Oaks handcrafts super premium spirits using select grains sustainably grown on our own farm and the farms of our friends and neighbors in the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania. Our distilling equipment is the very best, manufactured to exact standards in Germany. Using our copper pot still, our handcrafted process results in artisan spirits with a rich, complex flavor.
Kevin and Heather Utt are 4th generation farmers that have lived in New Tripoli most of their lives. Kevin helped on local farms growing up and after graduation, he secured a job with Reading Bone Fertilizers for many years. Kevin then started his own excavating business that he ran for many years until the Utt family decided to buy a farm for themselves. The high school sweethearts have lived on their farm for 13 years with their 11-year old daughter Sydney and 8-year old son Cody.
They have grown their farm over the years and their crops currently include Hay, Wheat, Rye, Soy Beans, Snap Beans, Sorghum, Corn and Barley.
When the Utt’s aren't on the farm, you can catch them at tractor pulls where Kevin drives his Rollin Thunder 966 International tractor. Kevin is the 2015 Points Champion for the USA East Light Limited Pro/Super Farm Class. This was his first year pulling with this organization.
The Utt family can’t wait to see what all is in store for the ride ahead on this adventure.
Scholl Orchards is a family business, owned and operated by George and Faith Scholl, with the active involvement of sons Ben and Jake and daughters Martha and Emily.
In addition to growing fruit in their orchards, including 20 varieties of peaches, and operating the farm market, the family also presses apples in the fall and winter months for cider, using a special blend of apples for that perfect, Scholl Orchards flavor.
Visit Scholl Orchards at www.schollorchards.com
THE HEX SIGN
Pennsylvania Dutch farmers have been painting hex symbols on their barns since the turn of the 19th century. The term “hex” means witch or sorcerer yet the term “hex sign” was coined by a writer in the 1920’s who thought that the barn decorations were used to ward off evil spirits. Still the most plausible reason why farmers painted hex symbols on their barns is that they were paying homage to the sun, stars and moon in helping them time their plantings and harvestings.
At Eight Oaks we use the hex star motif on our artisan spirits to acknowledge the farmers of days gone by and the next generation who have preserved their barns and barn stars. When you visit our craft distillery in the rolling countryside, don’t be surprised if you come upon some barn stars that have stood the test of time.