Home Grown WV: Smooth Ambler


LEWISBURG, WV (WVNS) — John Little and his father-in-law knew they wanted to start a business together; one that truly exemplified West Virginia’s culture.

“We were looking for something that would be fun and make some money in West Virginia but that really showcased what we love about living here. Really wonderful people, clean water, clean air,” said Little.

They thought about furniture or maybe starting a fabric company. But one day they stumbled on an article about distilleries’ growing popularity. Two years later, in 2010, they opened the doors of Smooth Ambler.

“So, the idea was to make something in West Virginia that was world class product that people could be proud to say was from West Virginia. Of course we do all of that with honesty, integrity, and transparency,” Little said.

They started with vodka and gin, but found their craft was truly fit for whiskey. Their three bottles, Old Scout, Big Level, and Contradiction, are enjoyed in about 40 states and sold in five countries.

“We still have plenty of room to grow. We’re still small. We’re not conquering the world or anything. Every bottle still matters to us but certainly we are in a lot of places and it’s really nice to be able to go into a bar in London and drink products made in West Virginia,” Little said.

Since Smooth Ambler is a West Virginia made company, they want to give back to other companies like them. They sell West Virginia small business products in their tasting room and give their used barrels to a local brewery and cidery.

“It takes someone special to live here and figure out how to get things done. We think there are people who are very independent, who have a lot of ingenuity, and trying to create interesting ideas and ways to overcome so those things are important for us,” Little said.

It’s all about showing the world what West Virginia has to offer. The best part about Smooth Ambler is that it is homegrown in West Virginia. Thanks for tuning in for this episode of our digital segment Home Grown West Virginia. If you have a company or product in mind that was made in West Virginia, let us know at pdunford@wvnstv.com so we can feature them!

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