Burlock and Barrel Distillery will be setting up shop within a high-profile warehouse complex in Jacksonville’s burgeoning Brooklyn neighborhood, and plans to open Jacksonville’s first whiskey distillery in 2017.
Colin Edwards and Ian Haensley started Burlock & Barrel in 2013 with a belief that great whiskey can be made outside the Scottish highlands or the mountains of Kentucky and Tennessee. In 2014, they brought their idea to the One Spark festival, and eventually landed an equity partnership with Jacques Klempf and Fraser Burns and their fledging business the Forking Amazing Restaurant Group. Originally slated to open in Riverside, the team will instead house operations at the old Dealers Equipment warehouse located at 417 Magnolia Street and 476 May Street.
The distillery will be housed in a complex comprised of two masonry vernacular buildings. 476 May Street is a 3,818 square foot built in 1925 and 417 Magnolia Street is a 3,346 square foot building built in 1939. The buildings were purchased for $300,000 and $285,000 respectively in 2015 by Jacques Klempf under the company name Foodonics Equities.
Klempf recently sold Jacksonville-based Dixie Egg Co to Cal-Maine Foods Inc out of Jackson, MS. Dixie Egg Co is a large producer and distributor of shell eggs, known by many under the Egg-Land’s Best namesake and sold at retail stores across the country. Jacques’ grandfather Jacob started the company in 1948. Klempf spun off two entities under the name Foodonics Equities, which primarily holds commercial real estate properties associated with his newest venture, the Forking Amazing Restaurant Group. Foodonics Equities also purchased the parking lot adjacent to the future Burlock and Barrel Distillery at a price of $155,000 in February of 2016.
After closing a franchise of The Original Pancake House located at the St Johns Town Center, Klempf began a relationship that would later become the Forking Amazing Restaurant Group when he and Burns teamed up with Chad Munsey to open a wine and tapas bar called Ovinte in 2012. Forking Amazing would later acquire Bistro Aix in San Marco and open Il Desco in Riverside. The group is also rehabilitating the Bostwick Building in downtown which will soon open as the Cowford Chophouse.
When the Brooklyn production facility is fully operational, Burlock and Barrel will initially produce an un-aged product called “Naked”, a premium White Whiskey. The distillery will operate with a 120 gallon copper pot still, utilizing a plated reflex column and will produce a clear white whiskey from a multi-grain mash bill. This blend will also be aged in new 30 gallon oak casks for Burlock’s Signature Burlock & Barrel Small Batch Bourbon, to be offered for sale once properly aged.
The distillery’s name is a nod to Jacksonville’s most famous ‘gentlemen smuggler’, William Frederick McCoy. During the 1920s, Jacksonville boatyard owners Bill and Ben McCoy had fallen on hard times. To make a little extra money, they began distributing whiskeys to the people of North America. McCoy and his superior spirits became a house hold name throughout the east coast of the United States, hence the saying, “The real McCoy”.
Mostly hauling Rye, Irish and Canadian whiskey, McCoy is credited with inventing the “burlock”. The burlock is a package holding six bottles jacketed in straw, three on the bottom, then two, then one, the whole sewed tightly in burlap. These “burlock” bags were ideal due to the easy stacking, stowing, and protection during the open ocean transport and distribution of the McCoys iconic spirits.