• Hurricane cocktail
  • Instill Distilling indoor space
  • Indoor bar area
  • Outdoor seating area with people around the table

A truly local experience

About us

A cop, a lawyer, and an airman walk into a bar...sounds like the intro to a bad joke but it's actually closer to reality than you think.

This entire InStill venture started with an affinity for wine. Tom, Eric, and Leigh all met and formed a friendship around wine, despite the vast differences between their individual walks of life. Eric and Leigh met over ten years ago while they were both serving in Special Operations together. They formed a friendship around pairing obscure meats with boutique wines between training and deployments.

After leaving the Army, Eric served as a Raleigh police officer while simultaneously studying for and eventually passing the arduous Certified Specialist of Wine exam. On weekends he began teaching wine classes at a local wine shop in Clayton, N.C. One of these classes is where he met Tom, a Clayton lawyer who was equally as passionate about wine and cuisine as Leigh and Eric.

The three cracked open a bottle of a wine-based spirit called grappa, sparking a conversation about the lack of a local craft distillery in Clayton. Their joint interests were immediately piqued, and InStill Distilling Company was born.

Recipe and Labels

We are the only distillery in the world (that we know of) that uses freeze-dried cane juice as our base. This results in a delicious base recipe, with all the smokiness, grassiness, and butterscotchy-ness of a traditional island rum. We pride ourselves in crafting our spirits on site--while many new distilleries source pre-made alcohol that they blend in house and add a label to, we make all of our spirits from scratch. We strive to instill in our spirits the same passion that you find from the world's best winemakers. The distiller is there for every single step of the process.

Many folks are curious about our label art and branding. Well, going along with our wine background theme, we bottle in wine bottles and opted for a rather unconventional aesthetic. So much of the liquor industry is overtly masculine--the labels are bland and font-heavy, or they literally sport men's names. In the wine industry (are you sensing a theme here?), branding tends to be much more artistic, flourishy, and therefore, collectible. The beautiful original portraits on our bottle labels, painted by artist Bruce Corona, correlate to the artistry we've instilled in the spirits themselves. Each is different, each is delicious, and each serves a unique purpose in your craft beverage collection.