The first legal distillery in the state of Mississippi, Cathead was founded in 2010 by friends and blues fans, Austin Evans and Richard Patrick. Originally located in Gluckstadt, the distillery moved to the heart of downtown Jackson, the state’s capital, in 2015. Led by Distiller Phillip Ladner, Cathead Distillery currently produces six products in small batches: Cathead Original Vodka, Cathead Honeysuckle Vodka, Cathead Bitter Orange Vodka, Bristow Gin, Hoodoo Chicory Liquor, and Old Soul Bourbon Whiskey.
Meet Our Distiller
Phillip Ladner is our Distiller for all six of the distillery’s small-batch spirits. A Mississippi native, Phillip grew up in the Gulf Coast town of Long Beach and went on to graduate from the University of Mississippi. He’s spent over the last decade in the wine and spirits industry starting at Bacchus Wine Shop in New York, New York right after college. While in the retail trade, Phillip developed a passion for the products he sold and decided his career path to take a turn to production. Phillip decided to move to New Zealand to work with Spy Valley Wines to get his feet wet crushing grapes, then moved to Napa where he met a wealth of contacts. Phillip worked his way up the ladder from first landing a job with Lewis Cellars and then to assistant winemaker at Pahlmeyer in Oakville, CA. An opportunity once again became present when he was offered a job with Stillwater Spirits (ADI’s epicenter) in Petaluma, CA where Phillip has been instrumental in American Distilling Institute (ADI), a trade group that specializes in craft spirits production and start-up distilleries, and he began teaching ADI classes at Stillwater. As fate would have it, future Cathead owners Richard Patrick and Austin Evans happened to attend one of Phillip’s first ADI distilling classes, and the three immediately bonded over their love for Mississippi and the craft spirits industry. In 2012, Phillip returned home to lead the state’s first legal distillery.
What's a Cathead?
The term “Cathead” is a compliment in Mississippi, first coined back in the day by blues musicians as a nod to artists they respect. Mississippi artists and musicians went on to use “Catheads” in many forms of folk art, as a way to pay the rent and share their legacies.
Mississippi repealed prohibition in 1966, the last state to do so. Forty four years later, lifelong friends and blues fans founded Cathead Distillery. Cathead is proud to be the first and oldest distillery in the state of Mississippi.
Mississippi is the proud state where blues music began, a genre that has deeply influenced all forms of American music. We work hard to bring honor to the meaning of Cathead through our philanthropic support of live music and artisans alike. Cathead also donates a portion of proceeds to nonprofits that contribute to the region’s abundant arts and culture. Cathead Distillery is an event-driven facility and a place for both locals and tourists to enjoy spirits tastings, live music, community, and a cold beer.