Small batch distillery Dry Fly announced an expansion into Asian markets Wednesday that will coincide with a move into a new development near Spokane’s downtown core.
The maker of whiskey, bourbon, gin and vodka will be one of the main tenants in a 5-acre mixed-use business center that will comprise the city of Spokane’s former fleet and street maintenance operations center south of Mission Avenue, near North Central High School. The Normandie site, as its known by the city, was sold in June to developer Chris Batten for $2.7 million.
“We think this site is kind of a unicorn,” said Don Poffenroth, co-founder and president of Dry Fly. “We were positive we were going to have to move outside the city.”
Dry Fly plans to move into the building directly across Sinto Avenue from the North Bowl bowling alley after renovations and the installation of new distilling equipment by Christian Carl, a German firm with a history in the business dating back to 1869. Dry Fly, whose headquarters is currently located at 1003 E. Trent Ave. in a building it shares with the No-Li Brewery and Bangkok Thai restaurant, will increase its annual output of spirits from 30,000 gallons per year to 250,000 gallons per year after the move.
Work on renovating the building and installing the new equipment, which is expected to cost about $5 million, is anticipated to begin after the new year, Poffenroth said. The city has yet to fully close its deal with Batten for the land, which the developer envisions as a mix of housing, office and retail uses, according to a news release from Dry Fly.
Batten did not immediately return a phone call for comment Wednesday. The land is zoned for industrial and office uses, and likely would require some zoning changes to enable construction of the planned development.
The distillery will team up with Seven Seas Export Co., a member of the Washington Council on International Trade, to expand Dry Fly’s sales into South Korea, its first full push into Asian markets.
“South Korea is No. 1 for consumption of spirits in the world,” Poffenroth said. “It is a voracious market for American product, and especially now American craft products.”
Dry Fly, named for Poffenroth’s love of fly fishing, originally opened at the Trent Avenue location in 2007. It opened a tasting room there as well as a restaurant and bar in the Spokane Arena in 2016.
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