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Distillery tours show how spirits are made from grain to glass
There hadn’t been a legal distillery in central Arkansas in decades, probably since Prohibition, until Phil Brandon lost his job.
Once in telecommunications in Little Rock, Brandon was a casualty of today’s fluctuating job market. But rather than move out of state to keep his job, the sixth-generation Arkansas native decided to move on to a new endeavor and keep his roots intact.
With an appreciation for whiskey and an enterprising spirit, he founded Rock Town Distillery. “It was just something that I had a passion for,” he said. After doing a lot of research, experimenting with recipes, and remodeling a 1950s-era warehouse, he opened the distillery about two years ago, and already his products have won awards.
Visitors can tour the distillery to discover the process of making spirits from grain to glass. On tour, which Brandon describes as “Distilling 101,” guests learn how small batches of Arkansas-grown wheat and corn are ground, cooked, and fermented. Gin and vodka can be distilled relatively quickly, but Rock Town’s bourbon is aged six to eight months in oak barrels to produce its distinctive flavor and golden hue.
Tours are offered at 4 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, and at 1:30 and 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Reservations are not required. Admission is $7 for adults and free for children, and tours conclude with a tasting of all the distillery’s products for those 21 and older.
Rock Town Distillery is located at 1216 E. Sixth St. in downtown Little Rock. The tasting room is open from 1–5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.
For tour information, call (501) 907-5244, or visit www.rocktowndistillery.com.