Philadelphia Distilling, the makers of such brands as Bluecoat gin and Penn 1681 vodka, is in the soft-opening phase at its new production facility/tasting room, on Allen Street next to the Fillmore in Fishtown.
The company, which for the last dozen years had been operating out of Northeast Philadelphia, is moving up in a big way, adding a 2,500-liter copper still and a vodka tower to its original 1,500-liter copper still built by the fifth-generation Forsyth family in Scotland. Hall-Woolford Tank Co., a Philly-based family business, built the distillery's open-top wooden fermentation vessels. The distillery occupies 5,000 square feet of the former Ajax Metal Co.
Production of Bluecoat should begin in a few weeks, said president and co-founder Andrew Auwerda.
Grand opening - a chance to look around and try cocktails made of Philadelphia Distilling spirits - will be 1 to 9 p.m. Feb. 19 and 20.
The distilling magic happens behind a glass wall, which serves as the back of a bar.
"This won't be a bar, in the conventional sense," Auwerda says. "Rather, a place where you can taste our spirits and hang out." Because of the hours, he said, it would be a spot to visit before a show at the Fillmore or Punch Line, rather than after.
Auwerda intends the place as an educational experience for the pros (distributors and sales reps). There's also a comfy lounge. In warmer weather, there will be an outdoor patio.
There's a full kitchen for on-premises catering but no immediate plans for food service to the general public beyond snacks.