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March 22, 2019
Thinking Bigger: Adam & Kate Flatt and Elaine Pivinski, Social Still & Franklin Hill Vinyards
Kate and Adam Flatt opened Social Still, the Lehigh Valley’s first distillery since prohibition, five years ago in a century-old bank building on Third Street. “When they built the building in 1919 you couldn’t legally drink,” says Adam—who also serves as master distiller—“and now we’re making booze in it.”
The Social Still story starts on 60 acres in Northampton County, where Adam cut his teeth at Franklin Hill Winery—the award-winning vineyard established by his mom, Elaine Pivinski, in 1981. What Adam had learned in the wine business was that people were no longer coming to a winery just for a purchase decision and going home to tell their friends about it—people were now coming out as a group together and sampling, and he realized it was more than just a simple transaction. “That’s why we chose a historic building,” he says, “with the modern distilling and the beautiful food and drinks, all of the sudden it’s an experience and not just a brand.”
“That’s why we chose a historic building,” he says, “with the modern distilling and the beautiful food and drinks, all of the sudden it’s an experience and not just a brand.”
Watching his mom grow an environmentally and socially conscious vineyard with deep ties to its community instilled in Adam a sense of responsibility to a world beyond his own. “In the wise words of Crosby, Stills, & Nash,” says Elaine proudly, “‘teach your children well.’” And she did. In addition to an American-Fusion style menu and cocktails like no other, this micro distillery is also environmentally conscious, eliminating all their plastic straws and creating the hashtag #wedontsuck. They also donate five months of safe water for people in the developing world with every bottle sold.
“Social Still is a great continuation of what we do at Franklin Hill,” Adam says, “We’re always willing to take those kind of risks.” And think about the bigger picture, too.