EARLING - Farmers Pat and Amy Hoffman had a vision about doing something special with their crop. They wanted to not only harvest the grain but produce something with it that was unique.

Today they are a "true seed-to-spirit craft distillery," making craft spirits like North Forty Vodka and Steeple Ridge Bourbon.

Lonely Oak Distillery is located at 1833 Elmwood Road, Earling, and a grand opening was held in 2017.

The Hoffmans did a lot of research, went to classes and learned how to distill alcohol, and chose a special handmade German still that allows them to produce everything from vanilla to vodka.

They use an heirloom variety of corn, picking and choosing the grains that they will use, starting to produce North 40 Vodka first - and then North Forty Peach, Raspberry and Vanilla flavored vodka. More recently they started producing Steeple Ridge Bourbon and Steeple Ridge Single Barrel Bourbon.

In November, Lonely Oak Distillery's new bourbon won a Silver Medal in the 2019 American Craft Spirits Awards, and were among the top six bourbon submissions in the Whiskey category, with medalists selected out of nearly 500 entrants from 38 states.

The distillery offers tasting, sales and more. The facility is open year round, is handicapped accessible, includes a tasting room and tours are available. Outdoor seating is available, along with reservations and walk ins. At the end of May they held two nights of comedy - selling out both nights. Their gift shop also offers t-shirts, glassware, baseball caps and more.

They are open Wednesday 4-6 p.m.; Thursday and Friday 4-7 p.m.; and Saturday, 1-4 p.m.

More information is available from the Lonely Oak website at www.lonelyoakdistillery.com, on Facebook at Lonely Oak Distillery, or via phone at (712) 250-3701.