Killbuck Creek Distillery, Lake Park receive community improvement awards

| January 26, 2018

Jesse Fischer presented Larry Turner and Rob Ashcraft with a Chamber of Commerce Community Improvement Award on Jan. 25 at the chambers quarterly luncheon. Mark Fortune | Beacon

Jesse Fischer also presented Lake Park with a community improvement award for its new bathhouse, which opened Memorial Day weekend in 2017. Pictured with him are Roger Moore, park board member, and Lori Everhart, park director. Mark Fortune

COSHOCTON – Not one, but two community improvement awards were presented at the Coshocton County Chamber of Commerce Quarterly Luncheon held Jan. 25 at the Frontier Power Community Room.

“Having two to give out is a good problem for us to have when we meet as a board to decide who to give the award to for making Coshocton a better place to live and work,” said Jesse Fischer, who serves on the chamber’s executive committee and presented the awards.

The first award went to Killbuck Creek Distillery, which is owned and operated by Rob Ashcraft and Larry Turner. The distillery is located on U.S. 36 in the former Randles Cheese building. They both believe a higher power has been directing them in their business venture and they plan to use Killbuck Creek Distillery to give back to others as much as possible. One way they will do that is with the 1386 bourbon they are producing, which is being created in honor of Steve Smith, a fallen Columbus Police Officer who worked with Turner, who retired from law enforcement. The bourbon bears Smith’s badge number. It has to age and will not be ready until July 16, 2021. Gift cards for the first batch of it are available at the distillery and its online store found at

“I just want to say thank you to the community for the support you have shown us,” Ashcraft said. “When we opened we opened in a dry township, but our liquor license passed and we should soon be able to have samples and sale at our location.”

Killbuck Creek’s products, however, are currently available at Buehler’s.

“Right now we have the best selling vodka in Coshocton County,” Ashcraft said.

The second community improvement award went to Lake Park for its bathhouse project. The new bathhouse opened Memorial Day weekend in 2017 and the $350,000 project was funded by donations, grants and proceeds from the county park levy.

“I want to thank everyone, especially for their support of the county park levy,” Everhart said. “A lot of proceeds from it went to the construction of the bathhouse.”

After the awards were presented, Amy Stockdale, director of the chamber of commerce, shared news with attendees.

“Some local manufactures are doing major expansions and jobs are being created,” she said. “We are doing more and more ribbon cuttings for small businesses, Century National Bank built a new branch, we have two new breweries and a new distillery.”

Her office also is working with The Beacon to highlight young professionals in the community.

“We want to inspire other young people to give their hometown another look,” Stockdale said.

Next to speak was Coshocton Port Authority Director Tiffany Swigert. She thanked the community for its help and support over the past six months while she transitions to her new position. Swigert also shared that she is working hard to develop personal relationships with community members and find out what both big and small businesses in Coshocton need. Stockdale and Sherri Gibson from Ohio Means Jobs – Coshocton County are working with her to discover how they can help businesses overcome challenges.

“Good things are growing here in Coshocton, but it will take patience,” Swigert said.

Dane Shryock from the Coshocton County Board of Commissioners briefly touched on how the opioid crisis has hit our community.

“Our nation is being faced with it and it also is impacting our county drastically,” he said. “The sheriff told us that his office arrested 85 different drug dealers in 2017 in Coshocton County. County Prosecutor Jason Given told us in 2011 when he was the assistant prosecutor he handled 11-20 children services cases. Last year he dealt with over 100 and many of those if not all of them were due to the opioid problem. He handled 149 criminal complaints in 2017 and this year that number will probably exceed 200.”

Eighty percent of the people in the county jail right now are there for drug related problems and as of the morning of the luncheon there were 62 people in jail.

When Mayor Steve Mercer spoke, he announced that ODOT will begin its 2 ½ year State Route 541 bridge project in April or May. While there are currently four lanes of traffic coming in and out of the city, during construction there will only be two open at a time.

“We’ve been working with them on this for several years,” Mercer said. “It will be a major project that will change the introduction to Coshocton.”

Mindy Brems, director of the Coshocton Visitors Bureau, wrapped up the meeting. She shared that thousands of the 2018 visitors’ guide were just distributed at the AAA Travel Expo in Columbus and many more will be taken to Amish County, the Akron/Canton area and into Pennsylvania.

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About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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