Our Story

The inspiration for Crostwater came from a family story of immigration to the US, the appreciation of the spirits and their roots, and the desire to bring a unique experience to guests in a way that we enjoy. We are not your average tasting room, tour, and food service joint. We are a destination near the beaten path that is accessible to all, and a fun place to relax after a long day.

Victoria Close is a first generation Russian whose parents came to the US after World War II. Albert Douk was born near St. Petersburg in Russia in 1937. During World War II, at the age of 5, his family fled Russia escaping political and religious persecution. His family fled through Russia, into Europe and eventually landed in Belgium. As a teenager, his family was granted sponsorship to the US. The family took roots in New Jersey where Albert finished high school, and promptly joined the United States Air Force. As a US veteran and proud citizen of the US, Albert and his wife, Mila, are the inspiration for our business. Mila also found her way to the US through similar circumstances. Mila was born in Czechoslovakia while her parents were fleeing Russia during World War II. After many years of immigration, they landed in Venezuela until Mila was a teenager. When her family received sponsorship to the US, her home became Syracuse, NY. A few years after Albert returned from the service, he met Mila through mutual Russian friends. They were complete opposites and made a perfect couple. They were married within a year.

One of the very specific traditions that has been passed down from their heritage is the toasting with Holy Water during any special occasion, holiday, or family gathering. Holy Water is the Russian expression for Vodka. Our company is Holy Water Distillery, LLC. Our initial intent was to open a Vodka and Martini bar since we have such a connection to Vodka and an appreciation for the perfect Martini. However; trademarking, and many years of marketing research, brought us to the reality that many of the spirits that have found their way to this young country from across the water, deserve their own spotlight and appreciation. We wanted to bring more than just Vodka to the masses, we wanted to bring the spirits from around the world and tell their story as we learn more about the origins. These spirits, and Victoria's parents, all have a story from across the water. The stories are what inspired the Holy Water extension into Crostwater distilled spirits.

So, how did we end up with Crostwater? After a couple of years of challenges with trademarking and the connection to the many inspired spirits, we were brainstorming in our living room about the right name that gives the right impression for our brand, the history of the spirits, and the inspiration of Victoria's parents. We were quite stumped. We had many ideas, but no proper connection. The spirits come from monks from the British Isles, the East Indies of the Americas with high seas trading and pirating, Dutch inspired maceration's, Russian immigration success stories and old fashioned American ingenuity.

As we sat in our living room debating possible names, our son; who has phonological dyslexia, was listening to our conversation shortly after having a marketing class in high school. You see, he cannot simply spell words based on the English language with all of its exceptions and rules. He spells based on the way things sound. The simple rules of the letters. The weekend after the living room session, we participated with our son at a Christmas tree sales fundraiser for Boy Scouts. He mentioned he was listening to our brainstorming and he said he had a few suggestions. He threw out one what we interpreted as Crossed Water. When we spelled it out, he promptly corrected us with "Crostwater". With a "T". It made complete sense to him. All the spirits and ideas come from across the water, including Deda (the name for grandfather in Russian), plus it is a truly unique word. No more trademarking issues. And Crostwater has stuck.

When you come to visit us, you can see our kids (Alexandria, Cole, Alexandra, Amanda, Cullen, and Conner), and Lexi (Alexandria) our distiller; and all our family and friends who are not employees, but extended family.

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