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 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 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.

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, there has been 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 Route 1 in Newcastle 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 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.