Iron Vault Distillery plans October opening in former Longstreth building

GALION — John Bassett and Sam Thacker have a business idea they hope others also will develop a taste for.

The two recently purchased the Longstreth Memorials building on Harding Way West and plan to open the Iron Vault Distillery there this fall.

Bassett, a business owner from Ontario, and Thacker, of Galion, plan to brew specialty spirits: rum, vodka, single malts, gin, bourbon and moonshine.

Once all the permits and licenses are in place, and their brews are perfected, the business include a tasting room in the front of the business. In the back will be two 50-gallon stills to produce their specialty spirits. It will be open to those interested in more than just tasting their concoctions.

“We’ll market what we make, mostly to Ohio, and maybe to some other states,” Bassett said. “We’ll be able to sell small qualities out front.”

“The building was perfect or us. Other that making changes to conform with the (Americans with Disabilities Act), there is very little we’re going to have to do it.”

“We picked Galion because Sam is from here. I’m from Ontario. It’s just a short drive for me,” Bassett said. “For the first year or so it is just going to be the two of us.”

They took their proposal to city administrators and said the reception they and help they received “was absolutely wonderful. They were very helpful.”

For more information, check out their website at

The decision to move to Galion was almost a no-brainer.

“We could have gone to Mansfield, but a building over there would have cost a lot more,” Bassett explained. “And while we may miss out on a little more foot traffic over there, our idea is to make this a destination place.”

The owners have hired a consultant familiar with the microdistillery business and are in the process of coming up with recipes for their spirits.

“My son and I have made some beer,” he said. “But I wanted to get into something a little different. There are a lot of places doing craft beer. This is will be the only microdistillery for about 60 miles.

Right now, Bassett and Thacker are getting the building cleaned up and ready to start production.

“We’re not making anything yet,” Bassett said

He explained how they came up with the Iron Vault Distillery name.

Their first thought was a name that included the words “Iron Works” based on that company’s history in Galion. Bassett actually worked at Galion Iron Works for a couple years around 1990.

‘But there already is an Iron Works Distillery in Nova Scotia,” Bassett said. “We thought about Buckeye Distillery and then something with Scarlet and Grey. And then we thought about all the vault manufacturers Longstreth’s bought. That’s where we got Iron Vault Distillery.”

The two owners realize there are a plenty of hoops to jump through to become successful.

“We know there are some risks involved. We’re not quitting our day jobs,” Bassett said.

“This is a different business in that, you have to get everything done first, and then you get approved to actually sell your spirits. We’re making sure we doing everything right from the start.”


By Russ Kent

Galion Inquirer



Russ Kent is editor of the Galion Inquirer. Email [email protected] with comments or story ideas.