Stephen Mann of MannCave Distillery is the most decorated distiller you’ve never heard of. Yet, in his more than three years in the small town of Weston, West Virginia, Mann says, “Some people still don’t know who we are.”

A lack of communal recognition is not the result of product quality. This year, MannCave Distillery won the 2021 Double Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, equivalent to all 38 judges voting first place on their coveted Cinnamon Moonshine. The award, said Mann, is akin to winning at the Oscars. 

The distillery has been bringing home gold, silver and bronze medals since its inception in 2018. But, after a brief taste test, it was Mann’s previous employer who told him to quit his job and start selling his homemade whiskey for purchase. 

A natural-born distiller, Mann’s prowess in the spirit industry has only continued to grow. 

Mann searched for years, trying to find his favorite scotch whiskey. Finally, after an unsuccessful escapade, he figured, “How hard can it be?” Some 15 iterations later, Mann had created a beverage of a higher quality than the drink he long had sought after — and with that, MannCave Distillery was born. 

Mann notes three points of separation from the rest of the distillery market:

  1. An honest mistake in the early days of production that happened to create a sweeter-tasting moonshine
  2. An obsession with natural flavoring and color profiling, refusing to use any hint of artificial additives
  3. A natural spring of water discovered on the more than 14-acre farm, hidden underneath two vacant coal mines on the property

Mann looks forward to expanding his business to surrounding regions. He has also begun contacting local legislators, hoping to change some of the spirit and wine industry laws. The company’s long and short-term goal is to create the best spirits money can buy.

MannCave Distillery hosts free tours and tastings seven days a week and can be contacted directly from their website. 

If you’d like to keep up with Stephen and MannCave Distillery, you can visit

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  • RECOMMENDED RESOURCE: An accounting book and Battlefield Earth.
  • PIECE OF ADVICE: “Marketing and advertising [should] be 60% of your budget,” advised Stephen