Our Team
Victoria Close - President - Who would have known that a “wine trail” weekend in Northern Virginia in 2014 would have planted the seed that has grown to be Crostwater Distilled Spirits and American Heritage Kitchen & Tasting Room. After 25 years in the “corporate world”, I decided to close my medical billing company and do something fun and exciting! So, the logical thing to do – open a distillery and tasting room!

I’ve been asked many times why I’m doing this. In jest I answer that this is my mid-life crisis. I didn’t want a convertible, so I decided to make fabulous booze and great food. All kidding aside, it was a trip to a craft distillery in VA that sparked the fire inside of me. I was completely fascinated by the distilling process and for 2 years educated myself by attending distilling classes and reading everything I could find about craft spirits and the industry. On January 5, 2016 I decided to take the plunge and started working on my business plan and over the course of the past two years have been able to secure investors and funding; lease a building; purchase equipment and secure licensing.

I’m finally at a place in my life that I wake up and look forward to starting my day! It’s an amazing place to be! I thank everyone (especially my best friend and husband Kevin) that has stood by me over the past 2 plus years and encouraged me to pursue my dream and passion. Crostwater wouldn’t be if it weren’t for all of you! Cheers!

Julia Celano - Head Distiller - I never would have anticipated 2 years after interviewing to open my dream coffee shop, I would actually be helping to open a distillery, and I would be the distiller! After the position became available, Vicki and I sat down and discussed the option of me taking that position and after a night to think it over, I said yes. I’ve had a science/math background, being a Veterinary Technician, and have learned the secrets to good spirits are patience above all else, and a repeatable process. My background gave me that edge to want to produce a consistent, remarkable product that all will enjoy. The “everybody knows your name” family atmosphere, that I’ve always loved working in, will certainly be felt in our tasting room.

So, how does a vet tech become a distiller, you ask? Well, back home on Long Island, I discovered that just one job wouldn’t cut it. After working my 9 to 5 at an Animal Hospital during the day, I started working some nights and every weekend at a local coffee shop. I enjoyed the science-meets-art type of work and loved the atmosphere. Shortly after employment, my boss asked me to manage the shop and I worked there for years until I moved to PA to be closer to my retired parents.

Distilling is truly an art, and can be perfected, and consistently amazing with the help of science. The perfect blend between the two is why I said yes, and why I spent the last year training all over the country, studying for my CSS (Certified Specialist of Spirits) exam, and interning at local distilleries.

When you walk through the tasting room doors, grab a seat at the bar and feel the same warmth from this place as I did when it was just an idea.

Welcome to Crostwater.

Kevin E Warren - Head Chef - Growing up in Lower Swatara and Middletown, I never really had to think about where most food came from because I knew farmers, butchers, hunters, and fisherman. My grandmother canned vegetables, and we ate what we grew in our garden. I even used to pick mulberries and dandelions for wine in the spring and summer. That wasn’t farm-to-table; that was just life.

My mom used to cook every day. She also ran the church kitchen and catered, so I just picked up a love for making food and sharing it as an expression of love. Southern Baptists know that you come for the sermon, but you stay for the after-service meal!!!

When I went off to Howard University and the Navy, my palate was blown away by the different cuisines I got to experience in Washington, DC. It was my passport to go experience Brazilian coxinha, Lebanese kibbeh, Ghanaian banku with okra stew, or Puerto Rican mofongo. This was all “soul food” for me: knowing that people’s stories, cultures, and traditions were just presented in a bowl of soup or wrapped in a tortilla was the realization that we all have so much in common, and food ties it all together.

When I got back to Central PA, I went to HACC Culinary School, where I discovered new things almost daily, especially externing at Bricco. HACC gave me the opportunity to start the Culinary and Pastry Arts Club. One day while volunteering, I saw the unfortunate abundance of people in our society who live in food deserts and/or have minimal food security daily. I started preparing food and feeding the hungry in downtown Harrisburg, which led me to a job at Channels Food Rescue as a chef instructor and sous chef. I then became the chef at Capital Academy in Harrisburg, where Vicki and Kevin approached me with this kernel of an idea they had about opening a distillery with a tasting room/pairing dinner concept that was hyper-local, sustainable, and community-driven. Needless to say, I took them up on their offer, and here we are.

This job (if I can even call it that) is food nerd nirvana!!!