Lt. Gov. Phil Scott works at Smugglers’ Notch Distillery
Feb. 15, 2012 -- Lt. Governor Phil Scott continued his Vermont Everyday Jobs tour yesterday, celebrating the Vermont entrepreneurial “spirit” by working at Smugglers’ Notch Distillery in Jeffersonville.
Lt. Gov. Scott worked alongside the Elliott family for the afternoon. Father-son team Ron and Jeremy Elliott, who founded the company in 2010, took Scott through the full bottling and packaging process, starting by setting up the still for a gin run, washing and labeling the bottles, signing tax stamps, filling bottles, and packing up cartons.
Smugglers’ Notch vodka has received many accolades throughout the food and beverage community, winning the Double Gold at the 2011 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, as well as the “best domestic vodka” distinction from Wine Enthusiast magazine. Despite their large success with critics and consumers, the company is still a small, family-run operation. Ron, a retired business executive, and Jeremy, a chemist in the pharmaceutical industry, are the company’s only full-time employees. In addition, Jeremy still works a full-time job with Mylan Technologies in St. Albans.
“The success of Smugglers’ Notch Distillery is a testament to the quality of the Vermont brand and an example of ‘Vermont Strong’,” said Lt. Governor Scott. “I can relate to the long hours it takes to start and grow a business, having started three businesses myself. The Elliotts’ story is one that happens every single day throughout our state, both in the ‘big cities’ and in small towns like Jeffersonville. Even though the hours are long and the risk can be high, we know the value of hard work,” Scott said, noting that more than 90 percent of Vermont’s private-sector workforce is employed by small startups and family-owned businesses.
The Elliotts were glad to have the extra help on their bottling line today. “Because we’re in our early growth phase, we call in friends and neighbors when it’s time to fill orders,” Jeremy said. “It was pretty special to have the Lieutenant Governor working on our team today. It’s clear he understands what it takes to get a successful business off the ground, and now he knows a little more about our business. Because the liquor industry is so heavily regulated, it’s really valuable for state officials to understand firsthand how the state’s laws impact the decisions we make to grow our business.”
To download photos from this event, please visit the Lt. Governor’s Flickr page:
About Lt. Gov. Phil Scott's "Vermont Everyday Jobs" Initiative
Lt. Governor Phil Scott started his "Vermont Everyday Jobs" initiative last year to promote Vermont businesses and strengthen the relationship between the business community and state government. By finding out in a hands-on manner what it takes to make Vermont businesses work, the Lt. Governor will gain a better understanding of what state government can do to help those businesses work better.
The Lt. Governor’s next scheduled job will be with a large-animal veterinarian in Central Vermont.