Finding the Right Shell
By: Shaun Baker on May 18, 2019
So, by now, many are wondering why our products aren’t yet to market. Well in recent months, we’ve been working hard to get our business operational to support craft spirits in Houston. We’ve procured our equipment, designed our bottles, participated in training courses for recipe development, etc. All of this is needed, but it means nothing without a location to manufacture. Unfortunately, we’ve run into several obstacles in securing a location. A guiding principle of ours in transparency, so we’d like to share with you some of the struggles.
In the Fall of ‘18, we signed our lease at 2500 Summer Street (our 1st Ward location). We developed our architectural drawings, set our interior design, gained City approval for construction/buildout, and applied for all permits to become Houston’s next distillery. Unfortunately, the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission (TABC) declined our permit for the Summer Street location. As some of you may know, Texas has a very strict tiered system for the manufacture, distribution and sale of spirits. Sadly, it turned out that a minor ownership interests of the leasing entity proved an insurmountable obstacle. Kindly, our landlord helped us minimize our financial exposure while we look for alternate locations.
To help make life easier for future Texas breweries, wineries and distilleries, we are actively engaged with various Texas State Representatives to keep this issue on the table for the next legislative session. We believe that there are some sensible modifications to the law that could preserve the intent and integrity of the three tiered system while allowing for certain obvious exceptions.
Many may have noticed the article in Houston’s Eater about our ‘new’ location in the Heights. Indeed, we were in the middle of negotiation for this location. We ended up at the signing table but ultimately the seller decided to withdraw the property from the market. We were quite devastated to have gotten so far and still come up short.
No one ever said starting a new business was easy. We’re committed to bring grain-to-glass spirits to Houston regardless of the (seemingly) endless obstacles that get put in front of a startup distillery and are keen to stay in the Greater Heights area. We believe that this area will welcome our product. We’ve kicked off a new round of our property search and we’re working daily with our Developer to find the perfect spot for us to bring a truly unique establishment to Houston.
We’ll be a bit quiet until we get the paperwork signed as to not tempt fate again. We hope to update you shortly with a new address and sincerely appreciate your patience as we navigate this process!