NATCHEZ — Businessman Doug Charboneau has cleared the first hurdle to opening a micro-distillery in Natchez.
The Natchez Democrat report the city Planning Commission recommended to the board of aldermen an ordinance amendment that would add micro-distillery and micro-winery to the definition of micro-brewery.
Micro-breweries are currently allowed in the city.
The board of aldermen has the final say.
If the board of aldermen approve, Charboneau will go back to the planning commission for approval of a special exception for his proposed micro-distillery or a rezoning of his property.
Charboneau plans to open the micro-distillery with his son sometime in the first quarter of next year.
Charboneau’s wife, local chef Regina Charboneau, plans to open a gourmet pizza restaurant and specialty gift shop permitted as a package store in the former King’s Tavern restaurant location. The shop will sell craft liquors used in the restaurant that are not available anywhere else locally.
A micro-distillery, also called a craft distillery, produces spirits in relatively small quantities. Charboneau has said by industry standards, a distillery is considered a micro-distillery if it produces 40,000 or fewer cases a year. He said his distillery would be producing much less than that.
The proposed micro-distillery would be open for tours when production is not happening and would be permitted by state law to offer limited samples to visitors 21 and older, Charboneau has said.
Charboneau has said the micro-distillery will produce white rum in the beginning and age rum in oak barrels to be sold at a later date.