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Churubusco distillery Edwin Coe hosts grand opening

February 4th, 2019

Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly

Local distillery Edwin Coe Spirits in Churubusco is inviting the public to a grand opening event and will introduce its new cocktail lounge Feb. 1.

The distillery is at 6675 U.S. 33, just north of Churubusco in the former Collins Industrial building. Handcrafted cocktails will be served 3-10 p.m., and Fort Wayne’s Bravas food truck will serve dinner 5-8 p.m. Don’t worry, guests won’t need to brave the cold waiting on their dinner as Bravas is pulling the food truck right inside the building.

Edwin Coe Spirits is one of only two distilleries in northeast Indiana.

“We’re excited to provide a cool place for locals to just hang out with their friends and family,” owner and head distiller Joe Collins said.

Collins grew up in Churubusco and currently resides in neighboring Green Center with his wife, Kristin (Dreibelbis) Collins, and daughters.

Collins is hopeful that Edwin Coe will also become a tourism destination in the area. With Blue Lake just up the road in Churubusco, and with Chain O’ Lakes and Tri-Lakes just a short drive away, it’s a prime location and will make an excellent gathering spot for visitors.

For Collins, distilling is in his blood. He has a rich family heritage, and distilling Louisiana Sour Mash dates back 90 years in his family. It all started with his great-grandfather and inspiration Joseph Edwin DuPuis, also known as “Coe.” Coe was a Prohibition-era moonshiner from Breaux Bridge, La., and he created the original Louisiana Sour Mash family recipe. For 70 years, Coe perfected his recipe and process.

Edwin Coe’s “Old Coe” whiskey, distilled from local grain and cane, is a tribute to Collins’ great-grandfather. They also offer soft gin, vodka, barrel-aged rum and white rum.

It’s important to Collins to support local business in the region. “Our spirits at Edwin Coe are what we call ‘Cork to Countertop,’” Collins said.

Edwin Coe uses local grain from Ag Plus; aging barrels are made by local Anne-Grey Cooperage; cane from a local distributor; and even the labels on the front of the bottles are made in Fort Wayne by Accu-Label.

Collins shared his gratitude for the support he’s received from family, friends and other locals in the community. Some of that support inspired the eclectic-chic décor and atmosphere of the cocktail lounge. From the swanky bar at the front, which came from a family friend, to the nifty countertops behind it that came from a science classroom at Churubusco schools, to the weathered cedar he and Kristin reclaimed from a local friend’s home to create the trendy ceiling and wood-framed windows.

The mismatched upholstered chairs and solid wood tables Kristin found from a variety of local folks, have a cool mid-century vibe that creates a warm and relaxed feel to the lounge.

“We wanted the lounge feel like a place where my great-grandpa would have relaxed and enjoyed a good cocktail,” Collins said.

At the grand opening, guests can expect a menu of classic drinks such as: gimlets, Moscow mules and the Old Coe old-fashioned. They will also be serving up specialty, savory and seasonal drinks.

“In northeast Indiana, we are working hard to encourage businesses that can take our strength in agriculture and turn our commodities into high value products, thereby retaining that added value in the local economy. We are so lucky to have Joe sharing his family’s rich heritage and recipes will all of us in northeast Indiana,” said Jon Myers, president of the Whitley County Economic Development Corp.