Indian Creek Corn Whiskey Mustard Named Ohio Signature Food Contest Winner

Making Indian Creek Corn Whiskey Mustard in an extended-stay hotel room

Kathleen Hanover won one year of business, technical and production support from a statewide culinary incubator program to take her Indian Creek Corn Whiskey Mustard to the retail marketplace, despite losing her kitchen in a fire.

(COLUMBUS, OHIO) August 2, 2016 – An artisanal whole-grain mustard made in the Miami Valley by Dayton resident Kathleen Hanover was today announced as one of two winners of the 2016 Ohio Signature Food Contest sponsored by the Center for Innovative Food Technology (CIFT) and the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF). Kathleen Hanover of Dayton, and Akron resident Adam Fried, will each receive one year of technical and business assistance to help them take their food product ideas from their home kitchens to retail stores.

“The irony of winning a food competition is that we don’t even have a home kitchen right now,” Hanover, 51, noted. Her home sustained water and smoke  damage in a suspicious fire that totally destroyed her garage and deck on April 18 of this year, with the kitchen taking the biggest hit. Hanover and her husband, Kaden Harris, 59, also lost most of their pantry items and extensive spice collection. After learning she was a finalist, Hanover made a batch of mustard for the competition in the tiny kitchenette of the extended-stay hotel room the couple has had since the fire.

Hanover was one of eleven finalists in the contest, which attracted nearly 100 entries from first-time culinary entrepreneurs from across the Buckeye State. She presented her mustard and business model—creating bespoke lines of spirit-infused condiments for Ohio’s craft distillers—to a “Shark Tank”-style judging panel of culinary experts, food entrepreneurs and restauranteurs assembled in Bowling Green, Ohio this July.

The judging panel was impressed with the mustard, which is made with Andy’s Old #5 Corn Whiskey from Indian Creek Distillery near New Carlisle. The whiskey is produced in the oldest operating copper stills in the United States, built in 1820 and resurrected by Indian Creek founder Missy Duer and her husband, Joe, in 2011. Indian Creek’s double-copper-pot distillation process is almost identical to that used by Elias Staley, Missy Duer’s great-great-great grandfather and original founder of the Staleys’ Miami County homestead and distillery.

“I surprised my husband with a  tour of Indian Creek Distillery for Valentine’s Day,” Hanover said, “and we both fell in love with their historic distillation process and their whiskeys. We had already been making our own condiments for some time, and we instantly realized that Indian Creek’s products would be the perfect addition to own mustards, ketchups and relishes.” After a few weeks of kitchen experiments, the couple shared their whiskey condiment prototypes with the Duers and other friends and family, who encouraged them to take their products to market.

Reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. Several other restauranteurs and retailers are already lined up to stock the Dayton residents’ comestibles once they have a commercially licensed product available. “We cannot believe how much people love Dayton Comestibles Corn Whiskey Mustard,” says Hanover. “My husband and I just love to cook together and share our flavors with friends. We never imagined that our kitchen tomfoolery was going to turn into a business!”

“We had just started our commercial food product research when the arsonist hit,” said Hanover. “We still aren’t back in our own kitchen, and our seed money for the condiment business has instead gone toward fire recovery.” Despite being a city of innovation, Dayton is the only major city in Ohio without a culinary incubator program or non-profit community kitchen. Included in the prize is free use of the Northwest Ohio Cooperative Kitchen (NOCK), a licensed commercial kitchen and processing plant in Bowling Green created especially for food entrepreneurs.  “Our new food venture would be dead in the water if it weren’t for the Center for Innovative Food Technology, the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and the NOCK,” said Hanover. “We’re so grateful and honored for this immense opportunity.”

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Mustard Tiki Hot Wings Recipe

Indian Creek Corn Whiskey Mustard Tiki Hot Wings by Dayton Comestibles

So a couple of days ago on Facebook, we teased you with an outlandish photo of the best wings I’ve ever had. Then because of things and reasons, we couldn’t get back to the website to post the recipe. Well, here it is! And yes, it’s kind of cruel to tease you with something you absolutely can’t buy yet, but that’s kind of how we are.

That’s it. One part Dayton Comestibles Corn Whiskey Mustard, one part honey, one part Frank’s Hot Sauce. Clean and trim about 16 wings, throw them on a medium grill (about 300 degrees closed), and baste them with the concoction. Flip ’em after about 6 minutes. Baste the other side. Grill for about 6 minutes on that side. Keep flipping and basting until they’re charred to your satisfaction and the juices run clear (this will depend on the size of your wings.)

I’d tell you to arrange them artfully on a seasonally-appropriate serving platter and add to your tablescape, but I’m not gonna lie. These mustardy, sweetly hot wings made it into a stainless steel transport bowl, and into the kitchen, where hubby and I ate every last one of them, standing up in front of the sink, moaning.