Caledonia Spirits set to open new Montpelier facility

MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) Caledonia Spirits is putting the "bar" in Barr Hill. The distiller is just days away from opening its new space in the Capital City.

Our Cat Viglienzoni got a tour ahead of the grand opening and found out why the city says investments in the space will pay off.

Before anyone can raise a glass, first they have to raise a sign in Montpelier.

Gin Lane-- signaling Caledonia Spirits-- is nearly ready for business. Several years of planning and construction have led up to this moment.

"We just have to open the doors," said Ryan Christiansen, the president of Caledonia Spirits.

Christiansen says their new space will allow them to grow their production and cater to the growing number of visitors who come to the Green Mountains to sample the spirits.

"There's more and more tourism," he said. "People are not as focused on drinking a lot, they're focused on drinking better and that is really where the craft distillers come into play."

The city is also excited for its newest arrival.

"This is going to be a big employer for us in town," Montpelier Mayor Anne Watson said.

Watson says they expect the new facility to bring about 40 jobs and more visitors to spend money in the city. She says the tax incentives the city gave Caledonia Spirits will be worth it.

"Absolutely going to pay off. I think it's going to be bringing people to Montpelier from out of county and out of state," Watson said.

But Montpelier's gain is Hardwick's loss. Christiansen says it was a difficult decision to leave but booming business forced their hand.

"Hardwick doesn't have the infrastructure that we needed. We don't want to leave Hardwick. We never wanted to leave Hardwick. We tried to grow within Hardwick but could not find the space and could not find the solution for the wastewater management issues that were on the horizon," Christiansen said. "So Montpelier just fit the bill."

He says they plan to maintain retail space in the community that gave them their start and turn their attention to using the new multimillion-dollar space to its full potential.

"We have faith that people will come out. And we know that our team needs space to grow," he said.

The facility isn't open to the public until Saturday. The grand opening starts at 11 a.m. and will involve music, food and tours.