Food Service & Agriculture, Real Estate, and Retail

Craft spirits maker moves and expands operation

March 4, 2016
| By Pat Evans |
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Bier Distillery
Bier Distillery makes rum, whiskey, vodka, gin and moonshine. Photo via fb.com

A craft spirits maker in the area is moving to expand its production.

Bier Distillery, which has been operating out of Cellar Brewing Co. in Sparta, will move to Comstock Park, at 5295 West River Dr. NE.

Renovations are underway on the building that Bier Distillery owner Joel Bierling purchased.

He hopes the facility will be open in late June, as long as there are no hang-ups at the state level of approval.

The move will take the distillery from under 400 square feet of production space to about 4,000 square feet, Bierling said.

He will produce spirits in the facility and feature a small tasting room with “high-end cocktails.”

While Bierling said he loved his space in Sparta, a move by Cellar Brewing Co. to downtown Sparta allows Bier Distillery the freedom to move, along with the ability to expand production and move closer to his target markets of Ada and Rockford.

“The new Cellar space is twice as large,” Bierling said. “But what they want is to keep growing too, so it’s not enough space for both of us to grow into our visions for our companies.”

From coding to spirits

Bierling had spent nearly 20 years writing computer software before thinking about launching a distillery in 2011.

He began conversations with Chuck Brown, the owner who had just taking over Cellar Brewing Co. and who had a distiller’s license, but wasn’t using it.

Bierling began producing spirits in 2013, before selling them in the summer of 2014.

“I figured it was time for a change,” Bierling said. “It’s an underserved market, and I think it will continue to grow.

“It’s about where craft beer was 10 years ago.”

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