Local planners to consider microdistillery, wine bar

October 2, 2017 GMT

Fort Wayne area residents may soon have new opportunities for enjoying alcohol, according to applications filed with the Fort Wayne Plan Commission.

Jacob and Ann Hatfield of Fort Wayne, both in their 30s, want to convert a two-story building being used as a tire warehouse at 2119 N. Clinton Street into a microdistillery.

Meanwhile, Janelle Ford of Fort Wayne, owner of Pedal City Beer Garden along West Main Street in the Nebraska neighborhood, is proposing a wine bar as part of a plan for a home decor/gift shop at 227 E. Dupont Road.

Both proposals will have public hearings at 6 p.m. Monday.

Ann Hatfield said the new distillery hopes to drive the trend for not only craft beer and locally produced wine but small-batch stronger spirits. Planned to be made are vodka, rum, gin and whiskey, she said.

Her husband, an HVAC pipefitter, has been taking courses in distilling spirits. The distillery would join Three Rivers Distilling Co. at 224 E. Wallace St., which touts itself as northeast Indiana’s first craft distillery since Prohibition.

Unlike beer, hard spirits can’t be legally made at home, so small distilleries fill a niche, Ann Hatfield said.

For the first 18 months after opening, it’s not legal for the distillery’s liquors to be sold to the public at the manufacturing location, she added, so products at first would be sold through restaurants and liquor distributors.

But plans are eventually to become a destination, with tastings and other community events, Hatfield said. She said another aspect of the business is making “environmentally conscious” products, adding details of what that would entail are still to being worked out.

Equipment for the business, on the northwest corner of Jacobs Avenue, has been purchased, Hatfield said. “My husband is one of those brains that can put together anything,” she said.

The business needs a rezoning from general commercial (C3) to limited industrial (I1) to allow for manufacturing. Hatfield said no changes are expected immediately to the exterior.

The wine bar/gift shop, specializing in “modern farmhouse and industrial” styles and recycled and vintage home accents, is asking for a rezoning from professional office and personal services (C1) to limited commercial (C2).

The shop’s two-acre site is just west of Casa Grille in a stand-alone building that at one time served as a Wesleyan church.

Both public hearings will take place in Room 30 of Citizens Square, 200 E. Berry St.