A locally produced toast for the New Year: Prairie Wolf Spirits has something for your cup.

Great State
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GUTHRIE, OKLAHOMA -- Most of the bottling and distribution is finished.

What's left but to fill a last few glass containers and clean out the tanks at Prairie Wolf Spirits.

Standing beside his small bottling set up Hunter Merritt explains, "This is just one last layer before we throw it in the bottle to make sure it's where we want it to be."

And who better to do that than Merritt, the company founder, head distiller, chief, cook, and bottle washer.

He chuckles as a visitor to his distillery suggests some of his other duties, "salesman, delivery guy. Yeah."

Merritt started Prairie Wolf Spirits about three years ago riding the suds of small brewery start-ups.

He saw an empty glass that local bars and liquor store owners wanted filled with locally produced products.

"It was an industry here that didn't exist yet and that kind of turned us on," he says. "Craft distilling has become popular around the country but not here yet."

That when the Merritts knocked down an old gas station in downtown Guthrie and started making a different kind of fuel.

"We thought people would respond well to craft made spirits and they seem to be liking it."

Ask Hunter about most of the restaurants in Oklahoma or any of the more than 600 liquor stores in the state and he's been to most of them delivering or selling.

Before 1907, before statehood and prohibition, you could find small distillers in Guthrie and a lot of other small towns too.

Prairie Wolf is another of those startups, producing vodka first, Loyal gin, coffee liqueur, and, by now, whiskey they first barreled up at the beginning.

Hunter explains, "There is a lot up front and then you get to watch your investment sit in a barrel for three years."

There are still barrels in here filled and plugged when no one knew what might happen.

Now some of it is ready for a celebration, a holiday spirit worth a Prairie Wolf howl.

If you're interested in the Prairie Wolf Spirits story or want to know more about their products go to www.prairiewolfspirits.com

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