NATCHEZ — Businessman Doug Charboneau and his son want to open a rum micro-distillery in the building that formerly housed King’s Tavern bar in Natchez.
First, Charboneau must get the city to amend its ordinances to allow for micro-distilleries.
Charboneau tells the Natchez Democrat if the change can be made, he’d like to open the micro-distillery in the first quarter of 2014.
The business will be separate from the restaurant and specialty gift shop Charboneau’s wife, Regina, is opening in the former King’s Tavern restaurant location. The gift shop will sell craft liquors, including rum from the distillery.
Charboneau said he had talked with city officials and will meet this week with the Natchez Planning Commission. He said he will ask the commission to add micro-distillery and micro-winery to the definition of micro-brewery and allow the businesses in the city.
Micro-breweries are currently allowed in the city.
A micro-distillery, also called a craft distillery, produces spirits in relatively small quantities. Charboneau said by industry standards, a distillery is considered a micro-distillery if it produces 40,000 or fewer cases a year.
“We will be doing a lot less than that,” he said. “If we do 3,000 cases a year, we’ll be doing well.”
Charboneau said the micro-distillery will produce white rum in the beginning and age rum in oak barrels to be sold at a later date.
The city is updating its local ordinances and the changes are to be proposed publicly in September or October.
“A lot of towns started out with micro-breweries (in their codes) and realized micro-distilleries and micro-wineries are very similar in the way they’re done in that there’s not really an increase in traffic because it doesn’t take that many people to run it,” said city planner Frankie Legaux. “And they’re very good for downtown areas.”