Old 4th Distillery, home to Atlanta's first legal still in almost a century, hopes to be open for business by the end of summer, says co-founder Jeff Moore. Moore and brother Craig, Justin Gray, Andy Duvall, and Gabe Pilato plan on launching the still and fermenter in roughly six weeks and distributing bottles by early August.
O4D will distill vodka with south Georgia cane sugar sourced from Dixie Crystal and will begin producing gin after the first year of operation. Getting local sugar isn't a problem, but the siblings have not yet determined a source for the juniper berries necessary to make gin. Because the berries thrive in cold weather, it's necessary to look elsewhere in the U.S. Moore made it clear that the distillery will not use any GMOs.
"We're trying to really stay away from any GMO products altogether," Moore said. "... And that's not really a selling point for us; it's just for our own personal feelings about what's going on in the world of agriculture. We're really trying to stay as clean in, clean out as we possibly can."
Vodka and gin will be the foundation of the company, and it will be quite a while before O4D is in the brown liquor business. Moore said it will be three years before they're ready to distill whiskey, and they'll add five years of aging on top of that. The have no intention of selling non-aged white whiskey.
"We're going to stay away from that," Moore said. "The reason why we're launching with a vodka and a gin is that we can maintain the sales of products without having to really go with a white whiskey.
"For us, we just really don't want to do that. We want to produce a bourbon, a whiskey, inside the city that is properly aged, properly manufactured. … I mean, it could be damn near 10 years before we launch a properly aged brown spirit."
The final details haven't been worked out, but tours and tastings will likely happen twice weekly for a few hours per day. They will be free of charge due to Georgia law, and patrons will be able to sample no more than 0.5 ounces of the spirit. Law also prohibits sampling multiple spirits, so once O4D is making gin and vodka, tasters will have to choose one. Selling bottles on premises is also illegal.
While the the Moores would like to see the law changed, allowing them to sell their bottles in house, they have no intention of offering anything more than tastings for consumption at the distillery.
"We are a dedicated manufacturing facility," said Moore, "and we wouldn't really ever want to become a bar. It's just not really what we want to do."
· All Old 4th Distillery Coverage [-EATL-]
· Old 4th Distillery [Official Site]