Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Mike Benbrook, owner of Oakhurst Spirits, Inc., located in Oakhurst, CA, USA.
What’s your business, and who are your customers?
Oakhurst Spirits is a craft distillery located in a gateway community to Yosemite National Park in Oakhurst, California. We manufacture, age, and bottle all spirits onsite. We make four types of whiskeys, gin, lavender vodka, and agave spirits.
Our customers are locals from the central valley communities and tourists from all over the United States and the world. We keep a world map where visitors can place a pin in their place of origin. Currently, we have visitors from all 50 states and 35 counties.
Tell us about yourself
2016 was the year of decisions. We owned a window manufacturing business in El Cajon. A company from Wisconsin purchased our company. We had been coming to the Yosemite area for a while, and I loved the area. My wife was an artist and was involved with the art community. We belong to a certain group in San Diego, where we learned about whiskeys. There was a couple of distiller in the group, so I would work in their distilleries. We opened our distillery in 2017. The beauty of whiskey is you make the spirits and then wait. I am open three days a week. I have manufactured enough products to sell and take time off to enjoy the beautiful mountain area.
What’s your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
We made it through COVID in good shape, won Best Distillery in 2022 in the Central Valley, and have grown sales each year.
What’s one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Freedom. All choices are yours to make.
What are the top tips you’d give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Funding. It should be enough to survive a couple of bad or good years.
Talk to other owners of successful businesses in the area.
Where can people find you and your business?
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