Moon Drops Distillery Begins Production in Fortville
Writer / Jon Shoulders
Photographer / Amy Payne
Moon Drops Distillery is the outcome of a natural progression, on the part of its owners, from casual interest to professional pursuit.
“Me and Mark Pressley, the president and co-owner of the business, have been studying the theory of making distilled spirits for probably a decade or so now,” says Co-owner and Head Distiller Mark Taylor, a career firefighter who served for more than five years in Fishers before transferring to Carmel. “We never did it for sale or anything before now, and it was more of a thing that we studied.”
Pressley, now retired, had an interest in launching a new business and approached Taylor about giving the spirits game a try. They began looking for an ideal location in 2019, eventually landing on a property in Fortville to build out a craft distillery specializing in a line of moonshines and other types of spirits.
“I went in January of 2020 to a class in Louisville at Moonshine University, which is basically an overview of the process of starting a distillery,” Taylor says. “That February we found the Fortville lot and figured it was perfect for what we want to do. Fortville’s been expanding more and more over the last few years, and as we’ve noticed that, it’s what brought us to that area for the business. It just seemed to fit as an area where we can do what we want to accomplish vision-wise, and grow as a company.”
The owners originally planned to have the building ready and begin manufacturing products by December of 2020, but delays related to COVID-19 pushed back construction, which wrapped up this summer.
“Everything we’re planning to put out will be top shelf, and there won’t be any low-end products,” says Pressley, who grew up on the east side of Indianapolis, and met Taylor while the two were neighbors living near 116th Street and Geist Road.
Moon Drops Distillery will turn out more than just a line of moonshine spirits.
“We’re going to offer bourbon, and premium vodka that goes through a unique charcoal filtration process,” Taylor says. “It will be an ultra pure and ultra premium vodka that isn’t going to break the bank. We’ll also be doing a rum in-house, as well as an aged rum that’s at least five years old and is delicious.”
Pressley adds that he and Taylor are working on a Lemon Shakeup moonshine, which he describes as reminiscent of classic lemon beverages sold at state fairs, only with a bit more bite.
“We’ve also got a Pink Peppermint, which is awesome in the winter,” Pressley says. “You can mix it up with coffee and make a mocha, or hot chocolate. We’re also working on an apple pie. I’d stack these up against most anything, and once the market opens up for us we’re going to take these to some contests and see how we do.”
The owners plan to open up a tasting room at the Fortville location by the end of next year, along with a corner stage for live entertainment.
“Our concept leans toward getting away from having TVs in every corner, and it’s more about having conversations with each other and enjoying live music – being in the moment rather than living all over the place,” Taylor says.
Pressley says he and Taylor also plan to bring on a bartending staff that will demonstrate for patrons how each drink is made, in detail.
“Our tagline is, ‘The magic of shared experiences,’ and that’s what we want to do when we get around to being allowed to open a tasting room here,” Pressley says. “That ties into how this started, with me and Mark sitting around a bonfire working on some things and having neat cocktails, enjoying a shared experience.”
Taylor says from the time he and Pressley announced they’d be building a presence in Fortville, and throughout the construction process, they have been fully embraced by the local community and its leaders.
“We’ve gotten a great following on social media, and we now have a podcast that we do called ‘Distilled Down With Mark & Mark’ that people listen to from all over,” Taylor says. “The local community in Fortville has been awesome and can’t wait for us to open up the tasting room. We’ve had to delay that because of some regulations, and people have remained excited and supportive. The fellow business owners in Fortville have been absolutely amazing, reaching out to see what they can do to help.”
Moon Drops Distillery is located at 738 West Broadway Street in Fortville. For more info, visit moondropsdistillery.com.