Boot Hill Distillery in Dodge City wins Business of the Year for 2021

Vincent Marshall
Dodge City Daily Globe
Boot Hill Distillery of Dodge City has been named the 2021 Existing Business of the Year by the Kansas Small Business Development Center at Seward County Community College.

The Kansas Small Business Development Center at Seward County Community College has recognized Boot Hill Distillery in Dodge City, as the 2021 Existing Business of the Year.

According to Kansas Small Business Development Center public relations and events manager Mindy Lee, distillery owner Hayes Kelman wanted to find another way to use the grains to vertically integrate the farm. Distilling whiskey and spirits became an avenue to explore and served to promote agriculture and farming in the Dodge City area.

"In 2015, Hayes contacted the Kansas SBDC at Seward County Community College seeking assistance in starting the business," Lee said. "He and his partners had purchased a historic downtown Dodge City building and planned on remodeling it into a distillery.

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"Kansas SBDC Advisor Eric Mercer and Regional Director Maria Dennison assisted with review of the financials and helped establish a business plan."

From there the distillery has grown since its inception in 2016, becoming an award-winning distillery of soil-to-sip spirits of vodka,  gin, barreled gin, whiskey, white whiskey, bourbon whiskey and moonshine among many others.

"We are honored and excited to be awarded the Business of the Year by the KSBDC for 2021," said Kelman. "We couldn't do what we do without the amazing community support and partners with the city, county, and state that have helped and cheered us on along the way.

"I certainly couldn't have gotten where we are today without our dedicated staff who share my vision and passion for the distillery. "We are certainly looking forward to working with the KSBDC as we continue to grow our business in Southwest Kansas and beyond."

Kansas SBDC's mission is to increase economic prosperity in Kansas by helping entrepreneurs and small business owners start and grow their businesses.

The KSBDC at Seward County Community College is a regional resource and support center for the small business person.

The future of Boot Hill Distillery is to become a large craft distillery marketing to every state in the U.S. its primary customers include distributors that then sell the liquor to consumers.

Additionally, the distillery sells directly to consumers through its Tasting Room where customers can purchase bottles and have a taste of the different spirits it has to offer.

In 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the distillery switched gears and began developing and distributing hand sanitizer to members of the community.

By April 2020, the distillery had filled 30,000 four-ounce bottles of sanitizer.

"We are not making it anymore, but we do have plenty to get rid of," said distillery director of sales Lee Griffith. "We're giving away and/or selling it at deeply discounted prices now."

For more information on Boot Hill Distillery for liquor, spirits and hand sanitizer, visit https://www.boothilldistillery.com/.

To contact the writer email vmarshall@gannett.com