Greg Lehman and Dave Rigo began exploring their passion long before the duo created Watershed Distillery, but it wasn’t until 2010 that their dream of producing locally crafted spirits became a reality. “We kept coming back to the brewing industry and we loved what was going on there, [the] local support and the variety that you see in the marketplace,” said Lehman. For them, it was a conscious choice to specialize in spirits. As they began to research the possibility, the excitement of starting a new venture continued to build. One of their first steps was seeking out experienced professionals. With hindsight always a sharp 20/20, Rigo offered that those looking to start a company should “always try to seek out people who have done it before. Find a mentor, find a couple mentors to kind of guide you along the way.” Columbus natives, Lehman and Rigo have always aimed to give back to the community, and that proved to be a founding principle of their business. “I think our whole idea of starting a company was to be more involved with Columbus,” said Lehman. The two micro-distillers have done exactly that, as the community has watched their product offering and local distribution grow over the last four years.
What would you say about your neighborhood? What makes it stand out for you?
Greg: The great family atmosphere throughout Upper Arlington gives it the neighborhood feel, but we are still close to all the amenities of the city.
Dave: The Grandview area is such a great centrally located neighborhood. It has a great mix of residential and commercial space. We have loved being a part of the Grandview community the past four years. The small town feel while being minutes from downtown [makes it stand out.]
What other neighborhoods do you frequent and what would you say about them?
Greg: The distillery is sandwiched between Arlington and Grandview, so I spend a good deal of time in both. Grandview has a great restaurant scene and loves supporting small local businesses.
Dave: I frequent the Short North and German Village a lot. We do considerable business there and love the restaurant scene in both.
Favorite Places in Columbus:
Greg: Outside of Watershed Distillery? I have so many fun memories of the Columbus Zoo and COSI when I was a kid and now with my kids, that I have to put them on the list. Audubon Center park is one of the cool newer additions to Columbus.
Dave: I am not going to name any restaurants because they are all customers. Because I have two small children I would say the Columbus Zoo, COSI, and all the Metro Parks.
If you could have been the inventor of something, what would it be?
Greg: The Internet
Dave: A car that runs on water because gas is out of control.
What inspires you?
Greg: Passion in others
Dave: I am inspired by people that have goals and find ways to achieve them.
Greg: Legos, riding scooters, building forts, coaching T-ball. Pretty much anything that my 6- and 3-year-old are into.
Dave: I like to play golf, volleyball, and play with the kids.