Starting A Distillery? 3 Tips On Planning The Location


Last month, we talked about how local breweries impact the Calgary community, including their role in creating jobs and opportunities, tourism, and charitable efforts. It seems that more and more breweries are popping up – and for good reason. There is a lot of enthusiasm around local breweries that attract customers from around the world with no signs of slowing down anytime soon. But as competition ramps up, brewery owners are feeling the pressure to introduce new opportunities to expand and sustain their business.

This is where distilling becomes one of the biggest opportunities. There is a rise in brewery-distillery hybrids that gives a fresh take on the industry, going from offering only craft beer to adding craft spirits to the table. Visit your local liquor store and you’ll see a growing number of craft spirits distilled locally. If you’re looking to take advantage of this rising opportunity, location is key in your planning.

As experts in commercial retail spaces, here are some of our top tips on planning the location of your distillery business

1. Think strategically

It can be tempting to follow other breweries that have found success in the downtown core of Calgary and popular haunts like Kensington and 17th Avenue. However, this also means that you’re stacked against heavy competition as a newcomer.

Commercial retail spaces like The Wedge are an ideal home for distilleries and breweries because of the surrounding communities. Distilleries attract a more mature crowd who have an interest in local craft spirits – working professionals with young families and older customers who reside in the suburban areas of the city.

More breweries are establishing themselves outside of the core areas and into industrial regions and suburban neighborhoods. Doing this separates you from the competition and allows you to stand out in the community. Additionally, more people now work from home or have a hybrid schedule, which means the downtown core is not as profitable of a marketplace as it used to be pre-Covid.

2. Scope out the building and surrounding amenities

Of course, you’ll want to scope out the building you’re looking to rent, its amenities, and the surrounding area. Look for things like easy parking, accessibility for customers with limited mobility, and a convenient commute with quick access to main arteries like Stoney Trail and Deerfoot.

You’ll also want to consider the ease of deliveries. As a distillery, you’ll have plenty of trucks coming and going to deliver supplies and distribute craft spirits to local liquor stores. Be sure to map out where your goods will enter and the available room you have in the commercial retail space.

3. Consider other profitable areas

When choosing the right location, you want to keep growth in mind. While your distillery may only be producing craft spirits within a small space right now, there are other profitable areas that can help your business grow. This can include planning your distillery as a restaurant with a full kitchen and as a space that can be booked for events.

Breweries and distilleries become a big part of the community and often get involved with local charitable efforts. The location you choose can be an opportunity to connect with other businesses within the building and surrounding areas to collaborate.

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