The Cumberland County News …

Posted August 12, 2020 at 7:45 am

“Our long term goal is to be a craft distillery on the Bourbon Trail,” said Junior Cecil. He said he hopes that other businesses in the county will benefit from the tourist traffic generated by the new business.

County Judge/Executive John Phelps also pointed out that the distillery will directly benefit the county by adding anywhere from 12 to 20 jobs as the operation grows.

Cecil said he and his partners in the operation, Dr. Michael Wilson and Kevin Dailey are intending to provide not only a destination for tourists, and a distillery that ships Bourbon nationally, but also an event and meeting venue in the county.

“We’ve already had people contact us about having weddings,” Cecil said. “A business called me wanting to have an event and meeting here.”

He said the distillery is located on a 60 acre lot, and in addition to the required building for housing the aging whiskey, they plan on a large meeting room for reunions, meetings and other events.

The problem at present though, he explained, is because of the Covid virus, getting equipment, like the fermentors and still built and delivered, has been a challenge.

He said he has been saying he would be open in three or four months, for more than three or four months.

“Things keep getting kicked back because of Covid,” he said.

Because of the delays, he said, they are not yet hiring, adding that they have used local contractors as much as they could in the construction.

“We’re finishing it on the inside ourselves,” Cecil said.

He explained that they recently finished much of the work on the bar themselves, including pouring and mounting the concrete counter tops.

“This is a real family business,” he added, stressing that, “We aren’t trying to open a bar or anything rowdy. We’re a family business.”

Cecil did grant that getting into the distilling business has been something of an eye opening experience for him and his partners.

“There are nine chapters in the law just on labeling,” he explained. But he said they are moving through the challenges and, as he has said before, they hope to be open in three to four months.

The plan is to start fermenting and then distilling Bourbon, Vodka and Moonshine as soon as they are able.

“We’re waiting on the tanks,” he said.

Repeatedly Cecil stressed that the business will be good for the stores, restaurants, and lodgings in the area, adding, “people buying gas, eating and visiting other places here like the winery, the lakes and the rivers.”

Phelps said that the tourism growth brought by the business, because of the Bourbon Trail, could be very large indeed.

In a recent meeting of the Cumberland County Fiscal Court, the final paperwork on the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), federally provided grant money for some of the project was approved.

Phelps explained that the grant will be paid back to the Cumberland County Industrial Development Board, and that federal money can then be used to promote more business growth in the years to come.