Firefly Distillery Original Sweet Tea Vodka
The Firefly Distillery is the birthplace of Firefly Spirits. It is where the founders, Jim Irvin and Scott Newitt, came up with the crazy idea to build a distillery in the ‘middle of nowhere,’ and make the world’s first Sweet Tea Vodka. That crazy idea is now a destination known for its genuine southern hospitality, fine quality spirits and innovation. The Firefly Distillery is located on Wadmalaw Island, just 30 minutes outside of Charleston, SC. At the distillery, you will meet the ‘Firefly family’ and you can sample an array of fine spirits and get a taste of their southern hospitality at its best.
Firefly Distillery was founded by Jim Irvin & Scott Newitt. Jim is a scientist. Scott is a visionary. Jim had a winery. Scott was in the wine business. That’s how they met, became friends and soon realized they both shared a crazy idea to build a distillery; something that proved to be much easier said than done.
It’s all legal and it always has been at Firefly. As the company was being formed, Jim and Scott wanted to avoid expensive licensing fees, not to mention confrontations with “The Law.” So they did their own lobbying and got a bill passed into state law that made it affordable and legal to distill, sample and purchase bottled spirits at a distillery in South Carolina.* This historic event opened the opportunity for Firefly to establish their homeplace distillery and grow Firefly into a nationally recognized all-American spirit brand.
Scott & Jim did not have a big budget to buy a still so they built their own from scratch. It was a 55 gallon stainless steel tank on top of a propane burner that is now on display in their Tasting Room. They got it fired up and began distilling. First they made Muscadine vodka, distilled from Jim’s grapes. Scott tells it, “We started with the grapes and we made grappa. But grappa tastes like grappa and I had to sell the stuff so we wanted to come up with something else. Then we made The Original Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka, which is now our flagship brand.
In order to keep up with popular demand, Firefly products that are sold outside of South Carolina are made at our sister distilleries in Kentucky.