Craft spirit fans rejoice – Fort Wayne now has a small-batch distillery! Three Rivers Distilling Company is the only distillery in Northeast Indiana, and it’s a wonderful addition to our local tourism scene.
The last thing I expected to see when I walked into the building was half-floating pink balloons left over from the night before. Do they host parties here?
That’s when owner Stephen Blevins walked out to greet me. His warm smile and friendly handshake let me know that visitors are welcome. I also noticed that he was wearing a pink wristband. It turns out the distillery had hosted a kickoff event for the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk.
“We’re looking to connect with our audience in unique ways,” said Blevins. “We plan to host events at the distillery and eventually at our event space next door.” Three Rivers Distilling Company is working to make use of the neighboring building.
“We also offer free WiFi and welcome anyone who wants to stop by and relax here when we’re open. Of course, we give tours of the distillery as well,” Belvins said.
The business has to be creative in finding ways to invite visitors. It still operates under an Artisan’s License and has to wait three years before offering samples or selling its spirits directly to customers.
There are, however, plenty of ways to stay entertained at the distillery. In addition to planned events, the distillery hosts space for impromptu business meetings. A large vestibule sits adjacent to the distillery floor and has a coffee-house feel. Visitors can stay for a game of chess and browse the branded merchandise in the small gift shop.
Tour groups of any size are welcome, and while advance reservations are not necessary, Blevins says it could benefit the guests to call ahead, “We want to make their visit memorable. If we can time it right, the guests could assist in the bottling process and can put their own initials on the label.”
Three Rivers Distilling Company does everything by hand, from mixing to bottling to labeling. They currently sell gin, vodka, and rum, but they’re working on seven additional spirits that should hit shelves later this year. To my fellow bourbon fans, don’t worry - they haven’t forgotten us. Their first run of small-batch bourbon is aging in barrels onsite and will be available in the Fort Wayne area soon. I recommend buying a bottle as soon as you can find it because I’m sure they will sell out fast!
You can purchase Three Rivers spirits at local stores like Cap ‘n Cork, S & V Liquors, and Belmont Beverage. Local restaurants, such as The Golden, The Hoppy Gnome, JK O’Donnell’s, and Hideout 125, now stock the spirits as well.
Three Rivers Distilling Company is located at 224 E. Wallace Street, Fort Wayne, Indiana, 46803. Call 260-745-9355 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a tour.
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