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Giddings Lands Bourbon Distillery, Tasting Room; TABC, Other Permits Pending
6 Jan 2017
Giddings, TX (December 23, 2016) – The Giddings Economic Development Corporation (GEDC) is pleased to announce the launch of a public-private partnership with spirits manufacturer, Dime Box Distillery, that is expected to culminate in property improvements and the expansion of a distillery and tasting room into downtown Giddings.
During the December meeting of City Council, members approved the GEDC to move forward with finalizing the details of the partnership, the cornerstone of which will be a long-term lease agreement for use by the company of the GEDC-owned Freight Station, which is slated to house a bottling line, tasting room, western memorabilia collection, and space for special events including featured musicians and other entertainment.
As a part of the overall project, dubbed Project Guitar, the company has also negotiated with a private landowner to purchase the empty lots that sit near the freight station and to the west of Orsag’s Furniture Store. The company plans to erect a permanent building for use as a manufacturing distillery on the site where a car dealership once stood.
To support the project, the GEDC also received approval from city council to purchase the property that lies contiguous to the freight station and behind the Orsag’s furniture store. This purchase will allow the GEDC to ensure that there is ample room for parking for the tasting room and distillery, and will ensure that the GEDC properties can always be accessed directly from Highway 290. The lots, which may also be used for outdoor events, art exhibits, fairs and festivals, will be obtained for $80,000 and will be paid over a span of 24 months.
The freight station is one of several structures located on the railroad complex property. Several buildings on the property and nearby parking lots where purchased and renovated by the GEDC in the 2000’s as a part of a much larger downtown development project. The Chamber of Commerce, which offices in the depot adjacent to the freight station, has provided oversight and management of the freight station and its collection of transportation and Giddings-related memorabilia since 2014; however, due to a lack of funds for maintenance and increased competition for tourism destinations with broader appeal, the facility has been under-utilized and is deteriorating.
To address the building’s rapidly declining state, this past fall the city voted to provide the GEDC with $25,000 in hotel occupancy funds. The Chamber of Commerce later agreed to transfer to the GEDC an additional $55,000 of hotel occupancy taxes, funds which were previously acquired by the Chamber for property maintenance, but that had not yet been used.
Renovations of the freight station will begin in February with solicitation of bids for scraping and painting the exterior, repairing decking, and caulking windows to prevent interior leaks. Once the renovations and lease agreement are finalized, the freight station will be turned over to the distillery for use and caretaking. In exchange for below-market rent, the company will be responsible for maintaining the property, paying utilities, and attracting tourists to the downtown district.
Items currently on display in the freight station will be cleaned or repaired as needed, cataloged and placed in climate controlled storage until renovations are complete, after which they will be placed on permanent or rotating display either in the freight station or at new locations throughout Giddings and Lee County.
The Chamber lease will be re-written to allow the organization to remain operating in the depot building without responsibility for major maintenance. The Sterling Theater, which recently received a new roof, is also housed on the railroad complex property and has been the subject of recent scrutiny due to the extensive and expensive renovations still necessary to bring that building up to code. While the building’s fate is undetermined, the GEDC is hopeful that Project Guitar will generate renewed interest in the theater building from community volunteers, a major benefactor, or a private commercial partner.
Dime Box Distillery is a family owned business founded in 2012 in Lee County by brothers Michael and Peter Leidel. The company launched its first product, Sixth Street Bourbon, in 2015, but has been distilling out state and bottling in Fort Worth. The GEDC has been working with the company for a little more than two years to secure a Giddings location, but only this summer began seriously considering the freight station as a viable option. Lease and other agreements currently being negotiated are contingent upon the company receiving the required TABC and other permits, and meeting municipal and state regulations.
Dime Box Distillery’s Sixth Street Bourbon is already being distributed in more than 90 Specs and independent liquor stores and is being promoted at trade shows across the state, in Texas Monthly Magazine, through College Station’s Austin English Singer Songwriter Series, and by the Texas Department of Agriculture’s Made in Texas Program, among other places.
“This is a high quality product and one that originated right here in Lee County. While it is still too early to put numbers to the project, we believe that the expansion of Dimebox Distillery into downtown is going to provide the City of Giddings and the GEDC with a significant return on our investment, both in terms of exposure and actual dollars. We also expect the presence of the Distillery and Tasting Room in the complex will generate increased interest in other downtown properties by complementary businesses such as restaurants, retail and perhaps a craft brew pub. This is a huge win for Giddings,” says Tonya Britton, Executive Director, Giddings Economic Development Corporation.
To learn more about Dimebox Distillery, go to http://dimeboxdistillery.com/. For additional information about this project or to seek assistance from the Giddings Economic Development Corporation, contact the office at 924 East Austin Street or call (979) 542-2067.