PITTSTON — The yeasty smell in the log cabin at the end of Chadwick Lane is the first indication that something’s going on.

The soft scent is a telltale of the fermentation that’s taking place in the vats in the cabin’s distilling room, and that’s just the first in the long series of steps leading from raw material to Chadwick’s Triple Distilled Maple Craft Spirits, distilled from cane and whiskey and finished, the label says, in oak barrels with maple syrup.

Now that the craft spirit is available for sale in outlets across the state, the enterprise is part way down a path that started with a hobby and may end in national distribution.

Ed Bloom, who with Shannon McCurry is a partner in the enterprise, likes the possibility that craft spirits represents.

“We’re not in the eighth or ninth inning,” Bloom said. “We’re in the first or second inning.”

The American Craft Spirits Association is the trade organization for the craft spirits industry. In research it released earlier this year, it found that the number of U.S. craft distilling facilities has more than tripled since 2007, and the number of operations is the highest it has been since Prohibition.

KEY INGREDIENTS

When Lynn Chadwick discovered she had an allergy to nearly every drink she tried, she came across an article on distilling in Down East magazine and started seeking out information and started experimenting.

When it came to inspiration, Chadwick didn’t have to look very far afield. Her parents, Larry and Ann Chadwick, have lived in East Pittston for nearly six decades. They have been the stewards of acreage that includes the pond that Larry Chadwick built with a friend and the stretch of mature mixed forest the family knows as Doom Forest, the name the distillery now carries. The Chadwicks also built the log cabin that now houses the distillery operation.

“I actually do a lot less around here than they give me credit for,” Larry Chadwick said. “And when they give me something to do, I try to think of ways to get out of it.”

But the land, which the elder Chadwicks have since turned over to their children, is the source of some key ingredients of Chadwick’s Maple Craft Spirits — the spring water it’s made from as well as the maple syrup that flavors the whiskey-blended drink.

The family, Lynn Chadwick said, is also the source of the extra labor needed when the time comes to bottle and label the spirit, but only those members who are old enough to be in the distillery.

“It’s an all-hands kind of thing,” she said. Most live not far away, she said, except for one brother. “He’s gone mad and moved across the (Kennebec) river to Gardiner.”

They have some temporary storage set up on the property, but they are building a permanent storage facility that’s expected to be completed soon.

That speaks to a sense of optimism about the project and the future of the enterprise.

CRAFT SPIRITS

While none of the New England states cracks the top third of craft spirit distilling states, it has noted an increase in distilleries popping up in the region.

Across central Maine, distilleries are in the works or are opening. Split Rock Distillery opened off U.S. Route 1 in Newcastle earlier this summer, Sebago Lake Distillery is nearing the approvals it needs to set up shop in Gardiner, and Rob Coates has been renovating a building he owns on North Belfast Avenue in Augusta to house a distilling operation he hopes will be producing spirits by late 2017.

It’s a complicated thing to do.

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau in the U.S. Department of the Treasury regulates the production of distilled spirits to a very exacting degree — even distilling for a school science project requires a TTB permit in advance.

In addition to securing a space and a still before any distilling can take place, distillers also must submit their recipes for approval. Any tweaks must be approved in advance.

Chadwick said she has approval for several recipes, but she’s focusing on the Maple Craft Spirits for now.

Taking that time gives her partners time to advance the brand and develop the market.

“The back story is second to none,” Bloom said.

He and his family met the Chadwicks when he was very young and Bloom’s father was trying to teach his young children to fish in Edgecomb. Chadwick, who was not far away, offered his help and a lifelong friendship took root.

Bloom learned about the craft spirit when he was offered a taste of what he called Lynn Chadwick’s moonshine at a New Year’s Eve celebration, and he was hooked. He shared it with McCurry, who he has done business with in the past, and she was hooked.

“I just got out of the bar business and was happy to be done with it,” she said. But the smooth spirit drew her back in.

Chadwick triple-distills her craft spirit and that’s what makes it smooth. The white oak barrels that come from coopers in Minnesota and Buxton, Maine, also add to the flavor.

“I thought I would make this with oak chips, but it’s so much better in the barrel,” she said.

Less than a month ago, Chadwick’s Maple Craft Spirits started showing up in stores across the region, including Goggin’s IGA in Randolph, Maxwell’s Market in Wiscasset and the Village General Store in Pittston, distributed by Pine State Spirits Co.

The list of sellers also includes Bow Street Market in Freeport, which is hosting a tasting from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.

The complete list of retailers is available on the Chadwicks’ website, www.chadwickscraftspirits.com.

EVOLUTION

Chadwick, who is an athletic trainer and science teacher at Erskine Academy, said she considers Chadwick’s Craft Spirits a second career.

Earlier this year, when operations ramped up, she spent many evenings and weekends in the distillery, keeping an eye on operations as she graded papers.

“I didn’t get a lot of sleep,” she said.

Much of the process isn’t terribly exciting, and it consists of a lot of waiting — waiting for the fermentation, the distillation and the aging.

“The amazing piece is the final product,” she said. “When you see the beautiful color, you just want to keep it.”

“It’s a labor of love,” McCurry said.

At 42, Chadwick can see the light at the end of the tunnel of her teaching, and she thinks the next couple of years will be interesting ones.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ