Atlanta whiskey-maker ASW Distillery is finally moving forward with permitting and construction bids on a second outpost at the Lee & White complex in West End. The 12,000-square-foot barrel aging and storage facility—which includes a Beltline-facing tasting room—has been tied up in permitting since owners Jim Chasteen and Charlie Thompson signed the lease last year. With those issues now behind them, the partners expect to open around September 1.
The cause for the lengthy delay, Chasteen says, was due to modifications to their floor plan in order to accommodate the needs of other building tenants. Those modifications caused the Armour Drive-based distillery to restart the permitting process with the city of Atlanta.
ASW-West End’s barrel-themed location will function as an unconditioned rickhouse (whiskey storage, aging warehouse). Chasteen says the new facility affords them great flexibility with aging and finishing their whiskeys. Some barrels will age similarly to those found in Scotland (they won’t be exposed to extreme swings in temperatures,) while others will age like barrels found at Tennessee and Kentucky distilleries. In addition to barrel storage, ASW-West End will also act as a second blending and bottling facility.
While no whiskey stills are planned at present, Chasteen does not rule out some distilling in the future at their West End outpost.
All of this happy permitting news comes on the heels of the distillery’s first big spirits competition win. The ASW team received the news late last week that their double malt whiskey named “Duality” won double gold at the San Francisco World Spirits competition. That means the whiskey, which distills 50% malted rye and 50% malted barley together, was awarded unanimous gold by all 40 judges. It’s the equivalent to winning an Oscar.
“This is a far cry from Charlie and me peddling whiskey from the back of our cars all those years ago. It was truly unexpected,” Chasteen says of the win. “2018 is the year we doubled our production, doubled locations, and achieved a double gold for our double malt whiskey.”
ASW’s Fiddler cask strength bourbon received gold, while their Resurgens rye, Ameireaganach single malt, and Fiddler unison bourbon all received silver.
The panel of judges for the competition is comprised of bartenders, spirits buyers, and spirits writers. The judges blind taste hundreds of spirits from over 60 countries from around the world over several weeks before selecting the winners in mid-April each year.
ASW will join Monday Night Brewing as well as the second outpost of Wild Heaven Beer, Cultured South fermented market and kombucha tasting room (opening in May), and Honeysuckle Gelato at Lee & White.