It’s no surprise in the town of Smyrna that the downtown area and the town as a whole are in a redevelopment phase. While it may seem like the area has been trying to redevelop for quite some time now, the fact that Smyrna is trying to move forward is one reason why the owners of start-up organization Legacy Distilling, LLC want to bring their business to town.
If approved, Legacy Distilling will be the first standalone, independently owned and operated craft distillery in Delaware and will specialize in gin, vodka, whiskey and brandy. The state of Delaware recently passed legislation allowing the owners to build the company, sell spirits, and offer tastings and tours onsite; they can only produce up to 750,000 gallons a year.
Ron R. Gomes and Mike Rasmussen, the owners of Legacy Distilling, were drawn to Smyrna for a variety of reasons. Rasmussen said they read about the town trying to reinvent itself and they wanted to be apart of that. They were also drawn to Smyrna because of it’s proximity to Route 1 and Route 13, it’s closeness to local agriculture and the quality of the town’s water.
“There’s something really attractive to us of being in a town that’s actively thinking about what it wants to be and we would like to be a part of that,” Rasmussen said. “All of that came together really well and made Smyrna really attractive to us.”
Along with selling spirits and doing tours, Gomes and Rasmussen are hoping to use the facility for much more including social gatherings such as art shows or charitable events. They hope to work with the local farmers and restaurants to build partnerships in the community.
“We see our space as being something that is hopefully more than just a place where you go just to do a tasting or a tour. We conceived our space as something that’s useful and kind of part of the community,” Rasmussen said.
Gomes and Rasmussen are in the process of securing a location at 13 West Commerce Street with the idea of building a 5,000-square foot facility.
“We see the distillery as an opportunity to showcase the brand. To be a place that people want to come to, to sample in-house our products, and hear our story and the stories for each product from it’s owners,” Gomes said.
Even if the Commerce Street location doesn’t work out, Gomes said the plan is to come to Smyrna and they’d find another location: “We are very comfortable saying we want to set up shop here.”
The goal is to start construction in July and open by the end of the year. Along with securing a location, the two still need to get a state and federal license.
Although news only recently broke out about the possibility of Legacy Distilling coming to town, residents have already raised concerns about the business, all of which Rasmussen and Gomes have addressed at a recent town council meeting; town council approved some utility discounts and waivers that helps them as a new business.
Concerns raised by residents vary from increased traffic to whether the business will give off a smell.
Rasmussen and Gomes said they’re a small business so traffic won’t be a concern and the only smell is the fermentation process, which smells like dough rising.
Prior to council’s 6-0 approval of the waivers at the council meeting, Councilman Anthony DeFeo addressed Rasmussen and Gomes.
“Thank you for choosing Smyrna as the place for opening your business and welcome to town,” he said.
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