An architect’s drawing of the proposed Adirondack Brewery complex in Lake George depicts the planned distillery, new beer brewing and bottling facility, tasting room and events space. The $5 million development project, to be situated where the present OTB parlor is located, is to take five years to complete. Illustration provided.
Lake George Village will be hosting a new major attraction — a whiskey distillery with a tasting room and events space — if a developer’s plans move forward as expected.
Adirondack Pub & Brewery owner John Carr has announced he’s purchased a four-acre lot on Rte. 9 to expand his existing beer brewery operations three-fold and establish a new distillery.
The property, formerly owned by the Off-Track Betting Corporation and purchased by Carr for $1.25 million, is located near his existing pub and brewery at the intersection of Sewell and Canada streets.
The plot Carr purchased includes a pedestrian corridor that will connect it with Sewell Street and the Adirondack Pub & Brewery, allowing the facility to shift its parking to the OTB lot and expand its outdoor seating with cafe tables and year around fireplaces.
Carr opened his pub in 1999 after transforming a vacant neighborhood market into the Adirondack-themed tavern. Several years later, he expanded it to include a brewery, which produces a variety of beers and ales that are now sold in both taverns and retail outlets in central and eastern New York.
He plans to renovate the 8,000 square foot OTB building and expand his current brewing and bottling operation, as well as adding a whiskey distillery.
The project is expected to take approximately 5 years and $5 million to complete.
Carr said said expects his brewing and bottling capacities to triple and produce 35,000 barrels of beer a year, He also plans to increase his staff size three-fold, adding a variety of positions.
Lake George Mayor Robert Blais said he was pleased to hear about the development, which would be a year-round attraction, provide vital jobs and be an aesthetically pleasing addition to the village.
“Mr. Carr’s brewery and his labels publicize Lake George all throughout the Northeast,” Blais said. “This is exactly the type of development we need in our community.”
One of the most exciting aspects of the expansion, Blais added, will be the High Peaks Distillery that will produce whiskey and rye under the brand name Cloudsplitter.
The distillery is something Carr has been planning for more than eight years. In recent years, he’s collaborated with other distilleries, sharing resources to help plan the project. Carr said he believes the distillery will be a popular attraction.
“Governor Cuomo and the Commissioner of the State Liquor Authority Jeanique Greene have aided us in changing laws that previously didn’t allow breweries to include distilleries,” said Carr. “If you’re making beer, you’re about halfway to making malt whiskey.”
The distillery will be built behind a glass wall facing Route 9, allowing people passing by to witness the distilling process in progress. Plans call for tours to be conducted of both the distillery and the brewery. The facility is to include a tasting room and a retail outlet and produce approximately 5,000 cases of spirits a year.
Carr said his development plans call for providing space for catered events, whether it’s a wedding rehearsal dinner, an anniversary celebration, or a public Oktoberfest event — which Carr’s pub now hosts each fall.
“With the potential to accommodate 300 people, we expect the space to be used for concerts, rehearsal dinners and even Oktoberfest.”
The brewery not only makes beer, but it also manufactures a variety of cane-sugar sodas. Plans call for expanding the brewery’s entire line of products to boost the national and international interest it already has generated.
“Lake George is a beautiful place as any,” said Carr, “It makes sense to expand on a locally made product.”
OTB will continue to operate at the location until it secures a new location, Carr said.