Jonathan Carver is the namesake for our distillery's home county. 

Carver was a pioneer and frontiersman, a risk-taker and leader. He was inspired by the unknown. This spirit of discovery led him across unmapped lands and undiscovered territories.

This same spirit that led pioneers like Jonathan Carver is found at the heart of our distillery. We are driven to succeed in an emerging and undefined industry. We are inspired by the rare opportunity before us; to master a craft that is as intriguing as it is challenging.


In the Spirit of Discovery


This story of J. Carver Distillery begins with two brothers growing up out east, watching their parents and their parents' many close friends dress up for formal cocktail parties. Drinking martinis, Manhattans, gin-and-tonics and any other cocktail requested, followed by gourmet meals served on the china, crystal, and silver they received on their wedding day. Sneaking a peek from the stairway downstairs, both found their passion for food and hospitality as the two brothers heard nothing but laughter and saw friendships that lasted a lifetime. Right before their eyes, they learned how to throw a party.

One brother, Matt Miller stayed close to home, raising three kids and working the construction trades. The last job he had was building and then operating a distillery in upstate New York, making vodka, gin, brandy and whiskey. The only thing Matt loves more than sharing his knowledge of distilling is hunting, fishing and riding his horses.

The other brother, Bill Miller went off to a college in the Midwest and on to a career in business, and ended up raising his family in Minnesota...Waconia, Minnesota. The only thing Bill loves more than drinking any spirit straight up is fishing and golfing. On weekends, both brothers would be found cooking big meals, throwing big parties, and entertaining old friends, new friends and strangers; Mojito parties, martini parties, gin-and-tonics on the deck, or maybe just a barbecue. Anyone will tell you that if you went to their house, you were going to get plenty of tasty food to eat, and something good to drink. Hospitality ran in their veins, and while tasting Matt’s vodka, they began talking about opening a distillery. The one thing missing was someone that knew the liquor business.

Gina Holman knows the liquor business, and shares the passion of hospitality. She jumped at the chance to join Bill and Matt as a founder and partner of J. Carver Distillery, and will be the Manager of the operation. Gina has over 30 years in the hospitality industry, and is a certified Sommelier and instructor with the International Sommelier Guild. She has managed a large liquor store, a large restaurant, and a large family. She is very active, and is a well-known fixture of every community she touches. She never stops. If there is an organization or fundraiser supporting those in her community in need, Gina is always involved. When Gina isn’t watching one of her kids in an athletic competition, you might find her sneaking in a round of golf. Her preferred spirit is gin, although she has a soft spot for a glass of scotch served neat.

Beth Aschinger

Our next founding partner is Beth Aschinger, and she fits right in with the rest of us. She, too, has a passion for food, especially of the spicy variety, and is known to down a drink or two every once in a while... Her preferred spirit is Bourbon, but she’s flexible! When Beth isn't relaxing or spending time in her glorious gardens overlooking Lake Minnetonka, she will make sure that all administrative tasks are complete, and that the authorities get their stacks of paperwork when they need them.

We knew we needed another pair of hands to help Matt with the stills, but it's not like there are lots of experienced distillers hanging out looking for work in Minnesota! Amazingly, while seeking some help learning about boilers, we discovered Dan Niesen - an old friend right in Waconia that spent his rare vacation touring distilleries down in Tennessee and Kentucky. Not only is he experienced with boilers, he can handle just about any task. And he will!

Matt is going to make sure we produce some unique and awesome spirits. Gina is going to make sure that our customers and visitors are happy. Bill is going to make sure that Matt and Gina have all they need to make J. Carver your spirit of choice, that is where our other partners come in. Partners with skills to add to our mix, and the proper, long term horizon.

Tom Kullman

Tom Kullman lives in Waconia as well.  He is a businessman that knows a thing or two about flavors and is a great sounding board when we are talking about product development.

Gregg Groechel is an old friend that adds a steady keel, bringing a uniquely open-minded and forward-looking view to our business discussions. We appreciate Gregg's willingness to roll up his sleeves and help the team with any task that needs execution. 

John Zupan

The last founder and partner in our lineup is John Zupan. When he is not driving a bobcat or forklift, "Zup" will make sure all of our spirits are bottled with care. No better way to finish up than with the guy who gets the hole in one! Keep the hole in ones coming Zup! See you on the 19th hole!

Jenny Peters

Finally, Jenny Peters provides brand strategy and marketing consultation. Raised in Waconia and schooled out East, Jenny revels in fine dining and sampling the latest craft cocktail trends at home, as well as photography, music and boating Lake Waconia.

Before long, we hope to be adding other partners to this list, and when we do, you can rest assured that they will know how to cook, enjoy spirits, and have FUN. For now, the team members behind our Distillery are inspired by the simple joys in life, family, friends, and libations.

Meet our distillery dogs







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Our doors are open for public tours and tastings. Book your tour today.

Tasting Room Hours

Friday  4:30-9 pm

Saturday  12-6 pm

Tour Schedule - Tours take place on the hour




Contact Gina Holman

Cellular: (612) 306-7870

Feel free to use this form to send us a secure and confidential email. We strongly value our customers' privacy. Your information is always safe with us, and we will never share it with a third party.

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Bill Miller

Gina Holman

Matt Miller

Beth Aschinger

Bailey, Cody & Stella - Our Distillery Dogs


1320 Mill Lane
Waconia, Mn 55387

Phone: 952-442-2433 or 952-442-AGED