In 2012, Zionsville residents Ron and Janet Hopwood opened Hopwood Cellars Winery, what they say is Boone County’s first local winery. Ron makes wine full time, but last year Janet, an insurance underwriter, began distilling spirits for the couple’s new venture – William Rose Distillery.
In July 2020, Janet, 51, attended Moonshine University in Louisville to learn how to distill spirits. On March 2 of this year, the couple began selling Janet’s new spirits through the William Rose Distillery.
“It’s something (Ron’s) wanted to do, and then with him doing all the wine, he didn’t have time, so I kind of picked it up,” said Janet said, noting that Ron has distilled brandies to create ports for the winery for several years.
The distillery offers four spirits, including a bourbon. The other three are whiskeys: Indiana Whiskey, 1840 Whiskey and Blackjack Whiskey. The spirits are only available at Hopwood Cellars Winery at 12 E. Cedar St., in Zionsville, Ron said.
This year, the distillery’s bourbon, Indiana Bourbon Whiskey Batch No. 1, received a platinum score of 96 points out of 100 at the Monterey International Wine Competition, which also judges spirits. It also received the competition’s Spirit of the Year Award.
The distillery’s other spirits also did exceptionally well at the competition. Indiana Whiskey scored 94 points, and Black Jack Whiskey scored 93 points.
“You probably don’t want to mix these with soda,” Ron said. “You don’t want Coke and whiskey here. These you drink neat or drink it on the rocks. This is big-flavor stuff.”
The Hopwoods anticipate the release of their fifth spirit, a wheat bourbon, within the next few weeks. Labels for the bottles are being finalized.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Janet said. “My full-time job is underwriting, so there’s no creativity in that. But with the bourbon, I get to use more of my creative side mixing flavors.”
Ron, 53, said he and Janet have creative minds, which allows them to work well together. Despite the potential challenges of living and working together, they said their new venture has been a rewarding experience.
“It’s a great partnership, surprisingly,” Ron said. “It really is.”