In The News

Island Made Spirits (Vodka, Gin, & More) – Martha’s Vineyard Distilling Company

Once I heard that there was a distillery on the Island, I was super excited. Hello, our sister Island Nantucket has had one for a while, and chances are that our spirits will be even better. All kidding aside, the prospect is cool.

So, I arranged a meeting, not asking who was actually behind this venture. Imagine my surprise when I walked into Mocha Motts in Vineyard Haven, and there sat my daughter’s eye doctor, Ryan Shea. I don’t know why, but I found this really funny. Sometimes people you know have the most interesting hobbies.

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Strong in Local Spirit; Introducing Martha’s Vineyard Distilling Company

Guarded by a sentry of geese and turkeys and hidden away at a farm, something is brewing in Vineyard Haven. Well, not brewing — distilling.
Ryan Shea and Nick Peters started the company two years ago and recently got needed licenses. — Jeanna Shepard

In a converted barn with a view of tree-topped hills, Ryan Shea and Nick Peters are making vodka, gin, and rum with their new business, Martha’s Vineyard Distilling Co.

Though both grew up on the Island and even sat next to each other for three years in high school, Mr. Shea and Mr. Peters never thought they’d be working together. By day, Mr. Shea is an optometrist and Mr. Peters a contractor and general jack-of-all-trades. They bonded over an interest in spirits and creating an Island distillery while Mr. Peters was doing some construction at Mr. Shea’s house. Sealing the deal with a handshake on the porch, they started MV Distilling. That was two years ago.

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M.V. Distilling Co. prepares for takeoff

A fascination with the fermentation process — that’s what got Ryan Shea thinking about the possibility of starting his own distillery on Martha’s Vineyard. Two years ago, this project started taking shape, and a year and a half ago, he started talks with his now partner, Nick Peters. The men decided it was a worthwhile project, and focused on getting all the legalities out of the way. Keeping a secret for two years on this Island sounds almost impossible to me, but they did a pretty good job of it. Just recently, they launched their social media channels, much to the public’s surprise and joy.

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