The local distilling world is about to get a bit bigger this spring when Independent Distillery
fires up their fermenter and mash tun and still and starts cranking out locally made liquor downtown. Located off of Arizona Avenue between Congress Street and Broadway Boulevard next to the future Johnny Gibson Downtown Market
, the distillery plans to open about the same time this spring as the market, which will share a large outdoor patio with the bar and distillery.
Although Hamilton Distillers have already made a name for Tucson craft liquor, the team behind Independent Distillery sees their project as a partner to Hamilton. Founder Don Northrup explains that he sees craft distilling as an up-and-coming market in Tucson that definitely has more room for growth.
"We love what they're doing at Hamilton and we're not trying to step on that," he says. "There's enough room for a few more distilleries in town even."
To that extent, Northrup says they won't be making single malt whiskey, which Hamilton is known for. However, the crew, which currently includes his wife Toby Hall and their friend Trevor Streng, will start by distilling vodka and a couple of styles of gin (with secret botanical composition) and then move on to aged spirits like bourbon and rum. Northrup says they also plan to make bitters.
Streng and Hall met initially through the service industry as coworkers and all three have worked in the industry locally for years.
"This is what I know, but I knew I didn't want to do it for anyone else anymore," Northrup says. "We combined all of our experience and now we just want to have an impact on the community and to make a good product. There's a reason that we're here. This is our home."
The distillery team says they're excited to be downtown, which, until very recently when the state approved the issuance of a Series 18 craft distillers license, wasn't even possible.
"The development that's going on in this area in the next year is going to be nuts," Hall says. "We're just happy to be a part of it."
That development Hall is referring to includes partially turning the Arizona Avenue corridor into a more pedestrian-friendly area with outdoor seating, storefronts, and less dumpsters, according to Streng. However, just being neighbors with currently operational local businesses that they plan on partnering with like Pueblo Vida Brewing Company
makes the location ideal for them too.
You can stay up-to-date with the distillery's progress by checking out their Facebook page