Focus on Small Business – Headframe Spirits

Meet John and Courtney McKee, the entrepreneur couple who created the idea of Headframe Spirits in 2010, opening their tasting room in 2012. They produce and sell spirits with names based upon the local mining history and lore of Butte America; Neversweat Whiskey, Anselmo Gin, Destroying Angel Whiskey, High Ore Vodka, and the famous Orphan Girl Bourbon Cream Liqueur.

The Pivot

Recent events have shown that John and Courtney fit right in to the Butte community which was built by the strong work ethic and spirit of our Nation’s immigrants and entrepreneurs. Through their tenacity they quickly pivoted Headframe Spirit’s business model and began making hand sanitizer to fight Covid-19. To date they have produced and packaged 7,500 gallons which equates to more than 40,000 bottles. All of this while keeping cost 60-500% lower than other companies nationwide, and donating over $15,000 worth of hand sanitizer to first responders, front line personnel, hospitals, non-profits and local government offices.

Boxing Bottles

The Headframe team boxing up hand sanitizer.

Not only has the production helped front-line workers, but it has also kept their employees working at a time when nearly 43% of distillery employees nationwide have been furloughed.  They have also been able to increase each employee’s hourly wage to compensate for lost tip income from their tasting room. Courtney is also helping the American Craft Spirits Association outline protocol for distillery tasting rooms to safely open their doors and operate across the country.

Spray Bottle Charlie's Angels

These three keep us safe with sanitizer!

Commitment to Community

A commitment to the community is nothing new to John and Courtney. In 2017 Headframe Spirits became a Certified B Corporation and joined other businesses as a force for good. Corporations with this designation are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.

B Corporations are accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy. They are one of only a handful of companies in the state to earn this designation.

When it is business as usual at Headframe Spirits in addition to the distillery and tasting room, Headframe Stills Manufacturing creates distillation equipment for distilleries around the world. The unique continuous distillation concept was born out of John’s experience in the biodiesel industry and is now in high demand for distillers far and wide. Creating a large scale production manufacturing business, using local malted grain personifies the creativity and knowledge these two people bring to our state and especially to Butte.

Enjoy the story of Headframe Spirits as told by Courtney and John.  And the next time you visit Butte America, be sure to stop into Headframe Spirits and say hello.


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