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Our Story

Founded by Irish native, Oliver “Ollie” Mulligan, Great Wagon Road Distilling Co is the oldest distillery in Charlotte, North Carolina and the first one to have it’s own speakeasy attached. Although Ollie is the first in his family to make legal spirits, three generations ago in the midlands of Ireland, Ollie’s grandfather Patrick Quinn began the family tradition of whiskey making, and in 2013, after a handshake and a few pints with a mate, Ollie Mulligan established Great Wagon Road Distilling Co. to carry on his family tradition of whiskey craftsmanship.
 
Our purpose at Great Wagon Road Distilling Co. is to continue in this tradition of celebrating passionate independents everywhere. With each meticulous and artfully crafted spirit produced, we seek to provide a spirit worth celebrating the passion and perseverance of both the original Great Wagon Road pioneers and contemporary trailblazers alike.

Our Team

 

ryan

co-owner

Hailing from London, England, Ryan came to the states in 2014. Having spent all his working life in service, he switched to the adult beverage industry. He is proof that not everybody you talk to on Craigslist wants to lock you in their basement, as that’s where he connected with Ollie and became Employee Number One at GWR. Ryan can usually be found in a pool of sweat at the distillery during the summer months, or bundled under hoodies and scarfs in Charlotte’s short bursts of Winter.

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Michelle

distiller

Escaping the cold New England winters, Michelle relocated to Charlotte NC and immediately fell in love with the city and its craft beer and spirit scene. With over ten years of service industry and production experience, she is passionate about the hard work and time spent behind the scenes making great quality spirits. 

Brian

HEAD OF OPERATIONS

Originally from Watertown, NY Brian relocated to the south for a warmer climate and high octane spirits like Appalachian Moonshine in 2000. With 2 college degrees and a love for the service industry, Brian tries his hardest to stay away from the cubicle world. He has been in the hospitality field for over 20 years. Brian's goal is to grow our GWR brand with numerous tasting rooms throughout the Carolinas. Slainte!

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EMILY

BAR MANAGER
COCKTAIL CRAFTER

Emily grew up in Taylorsville, NC and made the move to Charlotte in 2009. Over the last 10 years she's gained a ton of experience as a bartender and bar manager. We welcomed her to the team when we first opened the GWR NoDa location in September 2020. She now runs our tasting room bar, curates our cocktail menus, runs our social media, and more!

SARAH

ADMINISTRATIVE MANAGER and EVENTS ASSISTANT

Sarah is a Charlotte native and former Broken Spoke hostess! After attending East Carolina University, she wore a few different hats before making her way back to the fun of the craft spirits world. As our Administrative Manager and Events Assistant, she's dedicated to helping the distillery and events run as smoothly as possible.

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TYLOR

PRODUCTION ASSISTANT

Tylor spent 7 years in the army and is a talented local musician who you may recognize from our Wednesday Open Mic Night as well as many other gigs around town. He’s a fan of our Quinn’s Carolina Whiskey and has joined the team to learn from our head distiller Michelle and help with the production of our spirits.