Father-son duo, Bill and Andrew Norman's passion for their craft is evident in every bottle they produce. Together, they founded Fainting Goat Spirits. In downtown Greensborrow, the original blacksmith shop's rustic charm is still intact, where the Norman's produce small-batch, handcrafted spirits. Using locally sourced grains and a dedication to quality and craftsmanship, they've become a beloved fixture in the local and regional spirits scene. We caught up with Bill Norman to learn more.
What did you do before getting into the distillery business?
I am a CIA graduate andthen I worked as an Executive Chef for 18 years. Andrew graduated from UNC Charlotte and went on to be a mortgage banker for several years. It was Andrew's idea to open a distillery and he's the one that learned how to distill and is now a Master Distiller.
Where does the name "Fainting Goats" come from?
Fainting Goats are a family mascot for us. The idea is that the goat faints, and all the other goats are freaked out, but the fainting goat is always fine. Fainting goats are an oddity in the animal kingdom. While peculiar, their rarity makes them preferred by farmers and breeders alike. A fainting goat isn't concerned when it does things differently because its life is a series of ups and downs. They don't let others define their species because no goat is created equal. More importantly, when it falls down, it always gets back up again. At Fainting Goat Spirits, we embody the spirit of this animal.
How has owning a distillery in Greensboro shaped & influenced your business?
We are lucky to be in the spot downtown that we have now. We get a lot of walk-by traffic and are in a beautiful part of downtown. Greensboro has been so welcoming and supportive as we have grown. Our family has also owned another business in Greensboro for the past 24 years, Kneaded Energy, is a professional massage therapy business.
What sets your spirits apart and makes them unique?
We don't mass-produce our spirits in a factory; we're a small family of distillers who use their hands from grain to glass. Each one of our spirits has won so many great awards. We are humbled when someone says, "I want to support you because you are local, but I didn't expect this to be my new go-to spirit. It is top shelf." And because Andrew is meticulous in EVERY aspect of making spirits, it comes through in the finished products. Also, having the ability to leave the Whiskies in the barrel for so long really sets them apart. Also, because our grain is grown here in North Carolina, we are assured a consistent base. We're interested in something other than what the other guys do. Instead, we want to create spirits that challenge the average and routine.
What new releases do you have coming out?
Each year, Andrew releases a "Distillers Reserve". This year, it is our Rye Whiskey that is rested in maple syrup barrels. Next year's release is our 6-year-old Bourbon, now resting in Cabernet Barrels. Each year, we also release our Christmas Whiskey. Over the next year, we intend to import Tequila, rest it in our used Bourbon barrels and improt Rum from Jamaica, and rest it in our used Rye whiskey barrels.
Can readers visit the distillery?
Our distillery is open Tuesday through Saturday for bottle purchases. Formal tastings are on Fridays and Saturdays. In the 2nd quarter of 2024, our products will be available in 40 states. You can go to www.faintinggoatspirits.com and have them shipped to you.