What was your inspiration to open and operate your own distillery?
Our inspiration came from years of drinking and creating products in the marketplace. As a distillery we can now create amazing products and control the production of the products to make sure they turn out amazing. Most of the products we create are for contract brands that have very complicated formulas, and need a turnkey solution to fermentation, distillation, bottling, canning and packaging.
Can you tell us a little about the history of Citrus Distillers and the decision to relocate to Jacksonville?
Citrus Distillers was originally started in Riviera Beach in 2012, we quickly outgrew our facility and moved 3 times in 6 years. We moved to Jacksonville so we could buy a facility with room to grow our business and provide new offerings like ready to drink canned cocktails and other products.
Is there a story behind the name “Citrus Distillers”?
Yes, 85% of the final products we manufacture have some sort of citrus in them. We believe in Florida Agriculture and make every attempt to use local Citrus products. We in turn used this as part of our brand image.
Can you tell us a little about the layout and plans for your new Rail Yard District distillery?
Our new facility in the Rail Yard District has the space we need to increase our storage space from 10 thousand gallons to around 60 thousand gallons in tanks and barrels.
What do you imagine the future of spirits will look like? Which trends do you think we will see more of?
Currently the ready to drink cocktails are hot, and we see that space growing quickly.
What factors are critical to help keep brands, and their products, forward-thinking?
We work with all our contract brands to guide them through our process of product creation and provide them the tools to get started. It’s important to create something new, if there’s 20 bottles of neutral vodka on a restaurant menu, there’s no reason to buy another one - create something new and great!
Photograph courtesy of Citrus Distillers, LLC.
For our readers thinking of getting into this business, what were some of your greatest challenges and how did you overcome them?
The spirits business is an exciting industry, and it’s very difficult as well. People don’t want to drink grand dad’s old moonshine recipe that got him arrested in the hills. They want nice tasting products that are modern and affordable.
What is exciting you most about the current climate in spirits and cocktails?
It’s surprising to some, but technology and beverage development are closely tied together even in hard spirits. So the ability to make new products like ice cream rums and low calorie cocktails is exciting. Our company is run on technology and computers, no backwoods pot still around here.
Will you offer tours of your distillery as well as tastings?
We currently don’t plan on offering tours of our facility to the public. We do offer tours to brands that we create products for.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
If our readers have ever thought about creating their own spirit brand, we can help them build it!
Inside Citrus Distillers. Courtesy of Citrus Distillers, LLC.
Article by Ennis Davis, AICP. Contact Ennis at firstname.lastname@example.org