An entrepreneur’s dream of opening Dawsonville’s first legal distillery is a step closer to reality.
City council voted 4-0 on April 4 to lease space in city hall to Dawsonville Moonshine Distillery. The spot is currently occupied by Adam’s Little Italy.
Owner Cheryl Wood’s plan for a 6,500-square-foot Dawsonville Moonshine Distillery also means the local American Legion post’s meeting place will be relocated to a different part of the building.
“The terms of the lease would result in a net increase in rental income to the city,” said Dana Miles, city attorney.
Wood hopes to open the distillery in time for the Mountain Moonshine Festival in October.
The plan will require some minor construction work to the inside and outside of city hall. All renovations will be done at Wood’s expense, Miles said.
To Mayor Joe Lane Cox, the distillery will be a good fit for the facility, which also includes the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame.
“I think it will help the racing hall of fame, and I think the racing hall of fame will help her,” Cox said. “They’ll complement each other.”
Once the attraction opens, the distillery staff could guide tours through the process, but samples would not be available.
Under current Georgia law, providing samples of distilled spirits is prohibited. Distillers also cannot sell spirits on the premises.
The liquor must be sold to a distributor, who would then sell the alcohol to consumers.
“It’s got to go away to be sold, but people could see it being made and buy it elsewhere, assuming [local distributors] decided to carry it,” said Mayor Pro-Tem James Grogan.
There is currently one liquor store in the city limits.
Georgia codes do allow for beer and wine samples with special permits, but not liquor.