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Introducing Love, Katie Distilling: The Area’s First LGBTQ-owned Spirits Distillery

“You will never be successful on your own.”

Those are the words that Katie Sirianni’s former boss said to her on her last day of employment. Sirianni’s response: “Watch me!”

There’s no motivation quite like being told you’re not capable of doing something. “Those words have become my biggest inspiration,” admitted Sirianni. “I’ve been going uphill ever since that day!”

It seems Sirianni has not only gone uphill; she’s reached the mountain’s summit. Opening soon, Love, Katie Distilling will be the first LGBTQ-owned spirits distillery in the Pittsburgh area and—according to Sirianni’s extensive research—possibly the first in the state of Pennsylvania.

Since leaving the aforementioned career behind, Sirianni has followed an entrepreneurial path. It began with the founding of sips MOBILE BAR. Housed in a renovated vintage horse trailer, the award-winning innovative beverage business provides weddings, BYOB restaurants, and corporate and private events with mobile bar services.

Drawing from her experience operating her mobile bar, Sirianni decided it was time to dabble in distilling spirits. Under the mentorship of other Pittsburgh-based distillers, she began distilling gin and vodka. Friends in the business suggested she open her own distillery.

“I never really saw myself as a brick-and-mortar business owner,” said Sirianni. “But, after helping out another distillery friend for a few months, I thought ‘This isn’t so bad,’ and now, here I am!”

As with any new business, the road to opening day is often peppered with obstacles. “Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t screw around,” said Sirianni. “I dive in feet first without thinking much about it. For this project, there have been tears along the way. One particular hiccup led to me going home and crying in my shower.”

But within a week of those tears, Sirianni had a building and was underway with the renovations needed to launch Love, Katie Distilling.

The message at Love, Katie Distilling is as delicious as the spirits she distills. “This venture was born as a love letter to my partner, my family, my community and to myself,” shared Sirianni. “Love is love and Love, Katie Distilling will have a speakeasy vibe in a relaxed setting where everyone—regardless of life choices—will be welcome to enjoy a cocktail.”

The décor centers around three basic colors: black, white and gray. “I want everyone to be comfortable, so I’m leaving the rainbow behind to make my message clear that everyone is welcome,” she said.

It will also appeal to all legal-drinking ages. “I’m 36 years old, but I’m an old soul,” admitted Sirianni. “Patrons will sip cocktails as music from the 40s and 50s plays in the background.” She’s also using a projection screen which will silently play old black-and-white shows like I Love Lucy as a form of moving art.

On the back of every bottle that Love, Katie Distilling produces, patrons will also find Katie’s love letter, and she encourages them to share that love with the special people in their lives.

Love, Katie Distilling will open in Sharpsburg in early summer 2023.

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