Positively West Virginia
Episode 160 - John Little - Smooth Ambler Spirits


John Little is the CEO and Head Distiller at Smooth Ambler Spirits in Maxwelton, West Virginia. They offer various delicious bourbons and ryes, including whiskeys that are homemade, sourced and a blend of both.

John began his career in distilling in 2008 as the inception for the business that would become Smooth Ambler Spirits first began to take flight. With Little at the helm, what started as a small craft distiller with a limited, regional reach has flourished into one of the most respected small production distilleries in the U.S., winning coveted awards as well as intense public praise.

As CEO and Head Distiller, John continues to lead the Smooth Ambler team with passion, determination, straight-shooting and an ever-vigilant eye toward quality of spirits and quality of life.





  • 3:20 John, take a minute, fill in some gaps from that brief intro and give us a little behind the curtain look into your business.
  • 5:00 What is your 30 sec. pitch for Smooth Ambler Spirits?
  • 6:01 What are you most excited about for Smooth Ambler Spirits right now?
  • 7:57 Can you tell us more about your products and what you’re known for?
  • 11:23 How many barrels do you produce annually?
  • 13:16 What is the geographic market that you serve?
  • 14:36 How many employees do you have?
  • 15:02 What has been your best business moment so far?
  • 17:31 What has been your worst business moment so far?
  • 21:02 What is your relationship with Tom Crabtree from the WV Great Barrel Company?
  • 24:01 PWV Commercial Break
  • 24:35 What is the long term vision you have for your business?
  • 25:52 What is it like to do business as a distillery in WV?
  • 29:08 How do you attract new customers?
  • 31:51 What is your favorite way to enjoy Smooth Ambler?
  • 33:47 What is one of the biggest challenges you’re facing right now?
  • 37:31 What is one piece of advice that you’d give to young people who are thinking about starting their own business?
  • 40:10 What is one thing that you do every day that you think contributes to your success?
  • 41:42 What is one book or podcast that you’d recommend for aspiring entrepreneurs?
  • 43:22 Is there anything else you’d like our listeners to know about you or your story?
  • 45:37 How can our listeners learn more about Smooth Ambler Spirits and perhaps even get in contact with you?
  • 46:48 Outro




Phone: 304-497-3123

Book Recommendation: Intro Thin Air by Jon Krakauer