Distillery 365, which just opened recently, has become the latest local libations spot to decide to open a second location. They are set to join Santa Fe Brewing at the new Green Jeans Farmery, the new reused shipping container facility located at Carlisle and I-40. They will be taking the spirits, but there beer will remain back at the original location on Stanford south of Carlisle. Co-owner/distiller Matt Simonds sat down to chat about the decision to make the leap to operating two locations so soon in their existence.
NMDSBC: Take me to the genesis of wanting to do a tasting room, a secondary location so soon after opening the first one.
Matt: The gist of the matter is we had no immediate plans, no short-term plans to open up a secondary location. We were approached by the building owner, the developer Roy Solomon, because they’d originally planned on putting a winery in there. With the recent legislative changes every winery in the state went to the biggest brewery and said, ‘Hey, carry our wine!’ So they had no interest in having a winery there. And so Roy came up to me that he had the idea of the distillery instead. He approached us and asked if we’d be interested. I talked with the partners and we said yeah, we’d be dumb not to.
Just the visibility of the space itself, the uniqueness of the design, the architecture of us, the location, the visibility from the interstate, the fact we’re 15 feet from the biggest brewery in the state, we decided yeah, this is something we want to make happen. Let’s go look at the books and see if it’s even feasible. Yeah, we figured out that we could probably make a go of it.
The nice thing is, because of the some of those things I mentioned — the visibility and the location — if this is a net zero proposition, it’s a win. Because it’s such high visibility for our brand. We’re just getting ready to do distribution here in the next week or two, really wanting push the vodka and the rum. So yeah, we have this big billboard at Carlisle and I-40, basically. And if it happens to make some money for us, and we think it will, all the better.
NMDSBC: Can you describe the space itself?
Matt: It’s a really, really small space, about 320 square feet. It has a little outdoor deck off the deck that’s not included in that. We’ll actually have access to one of the rooftop decks as part of our license, so we’ll be able to have some outdoor seating. But the bar itself will a fraction of the size of this tasting room. Jake, our bar manager, has a lot of experience with Chama River, the Microbar that they did. I’ve been relying on him heavily for conceptually what this place looks like, that sort of thing.
I think it’s going to be a similar setup as this, just a U-shaped bar with seating around it and relying heavily on the patio.
NMDSBC: And you going to be selling just spirits, right?
Matt: Just spirits, right.
NMDSBC: I kinda figured since Santa Fe is right there.
Matt: Because the spirits are really our focus, we were OK with that.
One thing that Roy Solomon, the developer, is really focused on doing is picking businesses in such a way that you’re going to have a cooperative environment. If we were try to offer beer and by extension compete with Santa Fe Brewing, that would make no sense. If we can do our spirits and we can do our Bloody Mary bar and we can do something else that’s going to bring people to the development, that’s good for Santa Fe Brewing, that’s good for us and that’s good for the different food tenants that are there. That’s one thing that really attracted us to the space in general was Roy’s attitude to what he’s trying to develop.
NMDSBC: So can two people come in and say, order a pizza from Amore, and then one goes to Santa Fe and gets a pint and another comes to you and gets a mixed drink, and then both can sit together upstairs?
Matt: So the challenge would be, for the most part that’s true, the challenge would be there’s no overlap in the brewing and distillery licenses. You can’t bring a beer over to our space, you can’t bring a mixed drink over to their space.
One of the things they’re looking at is an app, so you can get on your app and say I’m sitting at the distillery deck and I feel like a pizza. You can go and have the food anywhere within the complex. The food is the easy part.
NMDSBC: I know it’s always tough to set a certain date, but what’s your timetable looking like for opening this place?
Matt: I would say that if we’re open by the holidays, that would be awesome. We just submitted the license a couple of days ago. So it’s about three months, you’re looking at mid-December. Fortunately the build-out, improvement stuff will be so much simpler than what we did here. The licensing will be simpler than we did here. I think that’s a pretty realistic timetable. I know there was a huge push for some of the other tenants to be open by Balloon Fiesta. I think that’s a little unrealistic. I think the latest was mid-October was when Santa Fe Brewing wants to be open. They’re close.
Even in the two weeks we’ve been on the scene, they’re moving. Those last few steps are often the most difficult. But if you see so much movement, it’s cool.
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Thanks to Matt for the interview, and the pint of ESB at the original location. Certainly Green Jeans is attracting a wide array of unique businesses, so Distillery 365 should fit right in. As we get closer to GJF opening, we will keep you all updated when soft and grand opening dates are announced.