For those wanting to break into making whiskey, building a distillery from scratch has heretofore been the only way forward. Although the rapid growth of craft distilling has created a market for used equipment, buying a working distillery wholesale has been the province of large and medium-sized liquor companies. This has even been true of the purchase of relatively modest craft distilleries, such as was the case when Proximo bought a then-smaller Stranahan’s in 2010 and William Grant & Sons acquired Tuthilltown in stages.
That changed in February 2019, when the Zac Brown Collective announced they were selling the Z. Brown Distillery. Although distilleries “for sale” are not uncommon, it’s not normal for an entire operation, including the building itself, are up for sale. Most advertisements offering a distillery for sale, upon closer examination, are really calls for investment or from a nano-distillery operating out of a small, rented industrial space. In other instances, the distilleries in question have been remote farm operations, using cheap equipment.
The Z. Brown Distillery offers something different. Located just one hour north of Atlanta and sitting on 6.5 acres in the hills of the North Georgia Mountains in Dahlonega, the distillery produced Georgia straight bourbon, whiskey, gin and brandy in partnership with local wineries. Following its recent closure, Z. Brown Distillery has maintained transferable licensing, and the distillery is furnished with equipment made by the premiere still-builders in America, Vendome Copper & Brass Works of Louisville, Kentucky. Finally, the distillery has finished spirits, ready to sell.
In addition to production capacity, the site features a tasting room and retail sales area. The facility has additional room for expansion or conversion to entertainment/event spaces.
The few examples of a small distillery for sale with quality equipment and a comparable location, convenient for visitors and offering an adjacent major city market for sales, have been semi-secret affairs. When the “For Sale” sign went out in the liquor trade media, there has usually been a buyer already there and negotiations under way. That isn’t the case in this instance; Z. Brown Distillery is on the open market, with the sale being handled by New Mill Capital.
“What an awesome location in a great part of the country. This is a topnotch, late model distillery in the heart of the Dahlonega Wine Trail. You can feel it when you visit the distillery and surrounding area,” said Eric Weiler, Principal of New Mill Capital. “The opportunity for multiple revenue streams including retail and event-driven business is endless.”
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