Dread River Distilling Co., billed as the first distilling company of its kind in Alabama, is slated to open its doors this summer, the company said.
Dread River will manufacture several different spirits, including bourbon, blended whiskey, vodka, rum and gin. It will also have several beers on tap that are brewed in-house and is working on a wine it will offer. Eventually, there will be a tasting room, lounges, a VIP room and a private event space on the second floor of its 24,500-square-foot location at 2400 7th Avenue South, where all three types of beverages will be served.
The company’s addition of 10 jobs and its investment of $3 million landed it on the Birmingham Business Alliance’s 2019 New and Expanding Industry List. Dread River currently employs five and the additional positions added will include service industry positions like bartenders, service staff and kitchen staff.
“We offer something really unique and different, yet we compliment area businesses, especially with what we have going on with the food and beverage industry in Birmingham,” said Cyd Quick, a founder of the distillery who is in charge of guest experience. “We saw a great opportunity to add to an already budding and existing culture here and create something Birmingham can be proud of, as we eventually hope to distribute nationally.”
Quick, who was born and raised in Birmingham, was trained in restaurant management and guest experience through her tenure working for Frank Stitt in the 1990s and 2000s. The idea for Dread River has been in the works for three years, she said, and she hopes to bring in locals as well as those traveling through the city. Though the goal is to eventually distribute the Dread River product nationally, the company will always remain rooted in Birmingham, Quick said.
“There’s no better place for us to have our home,” she said. “If we are blessed enough to build other distilleries elsewhere, this will always be our genesis, and will always be our home.”
Quick said many in the city helped lay the groundwork for the project to happen, including the Birmingham Business Alliance.
“Dread River is going to add a unique element to Birmingham’s food and beverage scene,” said BBA Vice President of Economic Development Jeff Traywick, who consulted with Dread River on the project and helped the company through the Birmingham Industrial Development Board tax abatement process. “As Birmingham continues its evolution as a quality place to eat and drink, places like Dread River continue to push the envelope and add a new and different twist to the industry.”
Eventually, Dread River will offer distillery tours where visitors can come in, learn the process, see the equipment and learn how the process works from grain to glass, Quick said. She hopes that Dread River – which got its name from an old legend that Birmingham sits on top of an underground river – will firmly integrate itself into the city’s booming food and beverage industry.
“Birmingham is a thirsty market that has shown they enjoy drinking and being at table with one another,” Quick said. “There is so much life springing here, and we knew it was the right time to bring another element in, to partner with all of that growth to help make our wonderful city be everything it’s supposed to be.”