Dave Angel, winner of Haywood County Chamber of Commerce’s Business Start-Up Competition, has a plan for a unique business in Waynesville. Through Elevated Mountain Distilling Company, he will take his family’s long history of moonshining and turn it into a venture focused on the creation of craft whiskey and vodka.

There are several factors that Angel believes will set his product apart from others. “Due to Haywood County’s high elevation, all of our natural water originates within the county,” he explains. “This means it’s some of the purest water and this gives a Haywood County based distillery a competitive edge.”

This is precisely why Angel calls the company Elevated Mountain Distilling Company.

Another unique factor is the heritage. “We have a long history of making moonshine in Haywood County,” says Angel.

Being on a much smaller scale than other producers will allow the company to make unique products.

Additionally, Angel plans to add The Smoky Mountain Stillhouse to provide a whiskey experience tour complete with tastings and retail sales.

Angel brings with him to this new venture quite a bit of experience. He left a 20 year career in the corporate world to return to his hometown. “This is my chance to pursue my passion,” Angel explains. “It’s exciting and liberating.” 

Angel also knows that to start your own business requires drive and focus.

“When I first started thinking about this business, I needed a support network,” Angel says. “Someone to steer me and connect me where I needed to go. Katy (at Haywood Community College’s Small Business Center) was instrumental in helping me. She was a neutral person to guide me and help me meet the people I needed to meet.”

One of the best places to meet others that are also thinking about or in the process of starting their own business is HCC’s Small Business Center Seminars. “During those seminars, you may sit next to a guy that is starting a landscaping business. One day my new business will need to be landscaped. The seminars are a great place to make connections.”

Angel says the Small Business Center helps you think through the process. “After working with the Small Business Center, some people find out opening a business is not the path they should go. Some people get the confidence they need to go forward.”

Another boost to Angel’s confidence was winning the Haywood Chamber of Commerce’s Start-Up Competition. According to the Chamber’s website, the competition was implemented to encourage and reward financially, prospective business owners who choose to start a business in our community.

The competition comes with a $10,000 prize that Angel plans to use to hire someone to help him get his business up and running. “This gift is so valuable. It helps you do things faster. It also gives you the confidence to know that you have the community behind you.”

Elevated Mountain Distilling Company has a target opening date of late spring 2016.

“Being elevated reflects more than our location,” Angel says. “It is the standard we set for our products.”