Maple Just Got A Little Kick To It

You don't need to wait for breakfast. Black Squirrel Maple Liqueur.

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Leave in the maple taps. We need more gold...

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Black Squirrel Aged Maple Spirit

(The original maple spirit.)

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Ardilla Negra Has Arrived

What do you get when you mix Grade A
maple syrup, a smooth blend of cold brew coffees,
and aged, hand-selected Carribean rum?
Ardilla Negra Maple Coffee Liqueur.

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Publication Original Publication Date
Black Squirrel, Rum from Maple Syrup but don't tell the TTB WineCompass 09/09/2015
Black Squirrel Distillery releases Mapleshine Buffalo Rising 07/18/2015
Black Squirrel Distillery talks spirits The Buffalo News 03/02/2015
Rum-making in spirit of the law The Buffalo News 02/21/2015
  • Jason Schwinger

    President ("El Presidente")

    The self-described "Purveyor of Liquid Fun himself.

  • Brian Fending

    VP, Product ("Heisenberg")

    Worry when he smiles.

  • Matthew Pelkey

    General Counsel ("Legal Eagle")

    The bumper sticker is correct. He really would rather be sailing.

  • Bob Roland

    Head Distiller ("Papa Bear")

    Bob makes the booze. A lot.

  • Annie Krause

    Assistant Distiller ("Rum Wench")

    Annie bring the funk.

Where to buy Black Squirrel

Black Squirrel products, like their namesake, are a little rare... depending on where you live. We sell out our front door at the distillery, through retail and restaurant locations, and can be found at events throughout the region. If you can't make it to our weekly Saturday retail hours, please contact us to schedule a private tasting at the distillery. Please note that we don't do "tours" of our facility, but it sure is a great place to hang out. (We get to do it every day!)


If you're interested in carrying Black Squirrel at your establishment, contact us! We use TryIt Distributing within our region, and will be adding a distributor in your neck of the woods very, very soon. Until then, we have a license to self-distribute... so just give us a call!


We have capacity, and make products that consumers love. (716) 249-1122



We are open to the public weekly on Saturday afternoons retail, and we love to host small private parties, as well. We have a few packages that fit most needs. All events are (about) two hours long, with an additional 30 minutes before and after the event for setup and cleanup.

The Speakeasy
Cash bar, full price select cocktails with staff bartender. Popular for casual gatherings. $100 bar fee.

The Socialite
Open bar (billed to you only), discounted select cocktails with staff bartender. Popular for special occasions. $100 bar fee.

The Popular
$15 a head, up to two free cocktails/person, full price cash bar thereafter. Popular for fundraisers.

For all events, please bring your own food. There are no kitchen facilities available. We can accommodate up to 20 people.

Please also note that the Employees-only bonded premise ("The Lab", where everything is made at Black Squirrel) is locked during retail and private events.






1919. The legend of Black Squirrel.

The damn 18th Amendment was ratified, marking the beginning of prohibition.

Nearly as soon as production, sales, and distribution of liquor was outlawed in the States, a new type of entrepreneur was born – the rumrunner. And, the rumrunners knew their market was Buffalo, New York – the richest city in the country, and residents were thirsty. For Buffalo, a city fueled by paychecks earned on the Erie Canal, then spent to drink alongside it – prohibition came at a pretty lousy time. Lucky for them, it didn’t take long for moonshiners in Ontario, Canada to fire-up the stills and float some legendary distillations across the lake under cover of darkness.

The opportunity of prohibition was not lost on Canadian Carl Hartmann. Carl sold truckloads of maple syrup to the markets around Buffalo and the rest of the Great Lakes region. His maple trees were all he had in the world, having chosen a life of solitude in the woods. On one of Carl’s last maple syrup deliveries, he brought a special bottle to friend Jack James. After trying it Jack promptly insisted that Carl bring as much as he can, as soon as he can. Carl agreed and gave Jack a quiet spot on a dark stretch of the Black Rock Canal where he could meet him by boat at midnight.

When midnight came and went, Jack set off up the canal and into Lake Erie to see what became of Carl. What he found became legend.

Jack found Carl dead in his boat drifting on the open water -- lake water slowly filling his boat from a hole left by his recently fired rifle. Next to him, five toppled crates filled with liquor. On the top-most crate, watching over Carl, was a one-eyed black squirrel.

Jack secured the broken boat and motored off back to shore. Jack pulled alongside Carl’s skiff and loaded the unbroken bottles and Carl’s body into the back of his truck. With nothing more he could do, Jack threw his lighter into Carl’s boat and drove off into the early morning light. In the shadows of the roaring flames, a black squirrel sat watching.

The next week Jack James’ speakeasy on Amherst Street hosted a wake for his friend Carl. That night, he also served the last drop of the best drink he ever had. When patrons asked when he was getting more, Jack only had one answer, “never again.” When patrons pressed further on what they had been drinking, Jack paused, looked down and answered, “Black Squirrel”. And Black Squirrel was born.