INSIDER: New Great Wagon Road Distillery & sister bar The Broken Spoke are jaw-dropping

INSIDER: New Great Wagon Road Distillery & sister bar The Broken Spoke are jaw-dropping
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“It took about five years to create this,” owner Oliver “Ollie” Mulligan told me while walking through The Great Wagon Road Distilling Company yesterday evening. “I think it’s in every Irish person’s blood really… Whiskey is something that is very close to my heart, so it was sort of a no-brainer.”

Sandwiched between two breweries, Sugar Creek on the left and OMB to its right, The Great Wagon Road Distilling Co. (open now) and upscale sister bar The Broken Spoke (target opening night is Saturday) are offering something in stark contrast. Charlotte’s going to love this place. It feels like the love child of the Punch Room and Workman’s Friend.

Address: 227 Southside Dr.


Let’s take a look around.

great wagon road outside charlotte

On the right is The Great Wagon Road Distilling Co. On the left is a jaw-dropping sister bar named The Broken Spoke.

broken spoke and great wagon road distilling

Great Wagon Road founder is Ollie Mulligan, a native of Kildare, Ireland. His Irish accent is incredible and will make you thirsty for whiskey.

ollie great wagon road charlotte

The distillery is 8,800 square feet.

great wagon road distillery

The distillery opened yesterday for tours/tastings. Tours cost $15 and take about 35 minutes.

the great wagon road distilling taste test

Distillery is currently open from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and tours are provided at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m.

great wagon road labeling

All tours include samples of Great Wagon Road’s three spirits. Limit one per customer. Must have a valid driver’s license.

spirits liquor great wagon road charlotte

Rúa (unfiltered single malt) – ABC still needs to approve, and Ollie told me that approval will happen within two weeks. I tried some, delicious.

rua great wagon road distillery

Bán (vodka) – $28.40. Limit one per customer. Must have a valid driver’s license.

ban vodka great wagon road distillery

If Ollie’s in a good mood, he may also bring out their “distiller’s creation, ‘Mucky Pup’ … Poitín aged in one of the used whiskey barrels.”

whiskey barrels wagon road charlotte

Ollie’s  grandfather was once arrested for making whiskey illegally in Ireland. The actual Great Wagon Road carried immigrants — mostly German and Scots-Irish — from Pennsylvania to the Carolinas.

ollie grandfather great wagon road charlotte

Ollie: “We look for and use only the best ingredients, whether it’s the finest grains from Europe or aging barrels made with oak from the States. Our whiskey and vodka are consistently smooth, and their flavors warm both the senses and the soul.”

great wagon road facility charlotte

Next door to the distillery is Great Wagon Road’s sister bar – The Broken Spoke. Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

broken spoke charlotte

It’s beautiful. Two floors.

broken spoke bar charlotte nc

12 beers on tap (24 lines). 180 seats.

the broken spoke seating charlotte whiskey

Lower bar area.

the broken spoke bar charlotte

Upper bar area.

2nd bar broken spoke whiskey

upper bar broken spoke charlotte

The wood on the bar comes from a white oak that was taken down at 2115 Selwyn Avenue due to root decay.

white oak wood the broken spoke

How do I know my wood? It’s the serial number.

wood serial number white oak charlotte bar

Who added the serial number? This guy. Damon Barron. He’s the creator of Carolina Urban Lumber and spoke at TEDxCharlotte this year. Great dude.

damon barron charlotte wood

Damon also made these killer charcuterie boards.

wooden charcuterie boards charlotte

Yes, The Broken Spoke will have food. It’ll start off simple, but Ollie will soon introduce “European food.” Sounds kind of fancy, but I’ll eat it and I love the authenticity.

seating broken spoke

A whiskey will cost $7.50.

bar broken spoke charlotte

Yes, they’ll have cocktails. Specialty cocktails will include Hot Poitin (drumlish, warm water, sugar cube, lemon slice) for $10 and Rua & Branch (whiskey with branch water). I learned that branch water is water than they use in the distilling process. Drumlish is Irish moonshine.

sofas broken spoke whiskey bar

Ollie hopes to open The Broken Spoke on Saturday, December 12. Follow them on Facebook for updates. Patrons will also need to sign up for a membership and present their digital membership card to enter. Learn more here.

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