The state’s first Native Spirits Distillery is opening soon in Jefferson Davis County
Published 8:18 am Monday, February 20, 2023
Mississippi’s first Native Spirits Distillery is opening soon in Bassfield. The distillery, owned by Rhonda Phillips, is located 96 George W. King Road and is part of Phillips’ farm on land that has been in her family for over 120 years. The farm, Beaver Creek Botanicals, is where the inputs are raised for Beaver Creek Distillery. “Inspired by the beautiful terrain and warm climate, our focus is on Southern botanicals as the basis for our small batch craft spirits,” said Phillips.
The grand opening for Beaver Creek Distillery, is Feb. 25 from noon until sunset. Admission is free and the ribbon cutting will be at noon, along with food venues opening. The tasting room and bar will be open at 12:15 p.m.
“We’ll showcase our botanical gins, bourbon, vodka and moonshine with samples on the hour,” said Phillips.
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Bo Foster and Friends will be providing live music from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m.
Hand-rolled cigars will be available from the famed New Orleans Cigar Factory. A bounce house will be on site for the kids and a raffle will be held during the opening. Those that come to the grand opening can tour the farm or kick back on the deck and enjoy the view.
Phillips says she is starting a “third act” chapter in life. “I’m a bona fide distiller and manufacturer, Federal and State permitted and all that good stuff,” said Phillips.
Phillips has loved herbal medicine for decades and went to several schools through the years to study it. She is passionate about growing rare and medicinal herbs and other treasured plants. She is a professor of agricultural economics at Purdue University where she has worked on local food systems and small farm/producer viability. “This distilling fixation started a while ago. I got the bug to do something back home on the farm, to create a few jobs and add some value to the amazing things we can grow in our rich homeland.”
The distillery has a tasting room, crafted with Southern Pine and Cypress, where you can purchase farm-crafted spirits directly, enjoy cocktails on the deck, and try a tasting flight experience of our spirits.
Non-alcoholic cocktails, including old fashioned “shrubs” made with fruit and herbs, are also available. The distillery offers specialty Southern food options from the region to enhance the tasting experience.
The farm and the distillery provide a beautiful and peaceful rural setting for special events such as weddings and reunions, and for workshops, training and other events. “We partner with a local restaurant to provide catering and set-up,” Phillips added.
Phillips plans to also host special events to highlight regional artists, chefs and others who create in the region.
As times have changed, Phillips knew small farms need to adapt so she looked for new ways to grow and provide support, not only for her family, but the community here in Mississippi.
While searching for expanded options for the farm, she embraced the beauty and art of craft spirits. “We come from a long line of farmers and folk medicine enthusiasts so growing and producing is in our DNA.”
It’s not a far stretch from growing rare and treasured botanicals to creating artisanal gins and other spirits. Each gin, for example, is a reflection of the botanical profile used in its making. “We’ve studied with masters from the Appalachians and Ozarks in the U.S., to distillers in Scotland and Ireland, and even a foray into South Africa. We are growers, producers, and a manufacturer.”
Artesian springs water along with naturally raised botanicals provide the basis of the spirits, infused with a dedication to providing a “top shelf” experience in each bottle. All of the products are naturally crafted, with no artificial flavors or colors added.
Phillips is very committed to community service and community development. She previously served as a city regional planner and economic development director. Phillips grew up in Prentiss and is a graduate of Prentiss Christian School.
The Distillery is located on a beautiful farm with uneven terrain, so please dress appropriately for the environment. Closed toed shoes are recommended.
The distillery is open to the public from noon to sunset every Friday and Saturday and tastings can be booked Thursday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
To learn more about the distillery at www.beavercreek-distillery.com or call 601-943-5028