This week, N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper signed into law a bill that relaxes regulations on distilleries. Among other perks, the measure will allow distilleries to sell mixed drinks on site starting September 1.
Distilleries such as Doc Porter’s, opened in fall 2015 by husband-and-wife duo Liz and Andrew Porter, stand to benefit significantly from the new law. Liz Porter told the Agenda this week that Doc Porter’s is looking to possible secure a larger space as its distillery business expands under loosened liquor laws.
“We are very excited for the new bill,” Porter said. “We are currently exploring different options of how we can best take advantage of the new legislation to help us grow our business and create a cultural hub much like the breweries in town.”
Don’t look now, but distilleries could be the new breweries.
“When we open the new concept, we will be getting creative with how we engage the community on different nights — hosting cocktail classes, fitness activities, theme nights, etc.” Porter said.
Space: Doc Porter’s is considering a potential move with its broker since its current location near OMB doesn’t have enough space to support the distillery as well as what owners are envisioning — a cocktail concept with outdoor space.
“Ideally, we will want to move the entire operation into a new location that can house both production and the cocktail/bar concept,” Porter said. Also expect the future Doc Porter’s space to have room for private events.
Doc Porter’s is looking at space convenient to the light rail — think South End, NoDa and the West Side.
Investment: “We’re in the process of finalizing our expansion plan, which we’ll use to bring on new investors for our next phase of growth,” Porter said.
To fund its expansion plans, Doc Porter’s is looking at $400,000 to $600,000 from outside investors that owners will combine with a reinvestment of profits from the current business.
“In the short term, the bill also allows us to sell unlimited bottles from our tasting room, which is immediately huge for us,” Porter added. Previously, state law capped that number at five per year.
Expect competition: Although we’ve got around 30 breweries in Charlotte, Doc Porter’s is one of the only distilleries in our city right now. With these new favorable laws, expect more distilleries.
“We anticipate additional competition,” Porter said. “But our goal all along was to build a strong brand and establish ourselves as a Charlotte original so that when the time came for this expansion, we were well-positioned.”
Quick side note: The new law also allows dogs back into brewery taprooms if food isn’t produced on site.
Agenda related guide: 11 best cocktail bars in Charlotte