A little more than a year after opening its doors, Old 4th Distillery is making a big expansion move. Atlanta's first legal distillery in more than a century has closed on a 15,000-square-foot building at 536 Decatur Street, which will house manufacturing, office space, and room for events.
"What we are doing right now is preparing for the next two-and-a-half, three years on manufacturing capabilities," O4D co-founder Jeff Moore said in a Wednesday phone conversation with Eater Atlanta. "Our existing facility right now, our manufacturing area is about 1,100, 1,200 square feet, so we're in a very, very small facility. Our capabilities right now, if we really push the envelope, then we're probably at about six, 700 cases on the vodka and probably that same amount on the gin.
"Our feeling is that in order to really keep up with demands — we're hoping — over the next seven, eight years is to start thinking about a new facility now."
The distillery produced only vodka for its first year of existence, its gin hit package store shelves last week, and bourbon is on track for a 2019 release. With the huge jump in added space — the new facility is roughly 10 times bigger than O4D's current home — there will be ample room for anticipated staff additions, larger events such as wedding receptions, and classes on professional distilling. The business will continue to operate out of its space at 487 Edgewood Avenue SE, which will be the headquarters for gin production and allow for some experimental distilling.
"Currently we're experimenting on things like absinthe and an Italian amaro," Moore said. "We do things like different flavors of bourbon — none of which has gotten on our radar in terms of launching to the public. Typically what we do is we'll create some interesting spirits so that we can provide those as an interesting thing for people to taste when they come into the distillery.
"But, if we can get what we would consider the larger requirements of manufacturing, such as the vodka, into the new facility, then that leaves us with the possibility of maybe launching some of these experimental things in a very small way. The demand of our vodka manufacturing leaves us with very little ability to take these small experiments that we do into larger production."
The new building won't do anything to change O4D's distribution abilities, and the distillery will continue to sell its products at package stores. Moore said he and his partners are fine with that, because distributing on their own would be a "massive cost increase."
O4D closed on the building, which is two blocks away from the distillery's current home, last Friday, and nearby design firm The Epstein Group is in charge of the buildout. As Curbed Atlanta notes, the expanded business will remove an eyesore from Decatur Street.