An exciting new project will be completed soon in Troy, Alabama. The Conecuh Ridge Distillery, which will produce Clyde May’s Whiskey, was designed by the talented team at Luckett & Farley and will be a new experience unlike any other in the Southeast.
We had the opportunity to speak with Dana Zausch, the project’s Distillery Design Manager, to hear more about the vision of this one-of-a-kind project.
“I have been involved in the project from day one. I was actually hired to work on this project with my experience in distillery work. We started with a brand that had no home. The brand’s roots were in Alabama so its brick-and-mortar roots also needed to be. At that point, they had just gotten the donation of the property.
“They had looked at a handful of properties, but once they found the property in Troy, they thought it was amazing that it was so close to Clyde’s original roots. The design of the project was about the brand and really about the origins of Moonshining, full process transparency, and being very respectful to Alabama.
“We started by understanding the climate and the need and desire for the ability to be outside. So we developed this as a campus so that the exterior could be utilized, and loved, and we were able to create an outdoor space among all the buildings.
“We knew the client had a modern aesthetic in mind for the brand, but we also knew that a modern feel alone wasn’t the full answer for the project. We wanted to speak to the history of moonshine and the history of Clyde in an Alabama setting. So we had to ask ourselves, ‘What is the right answer?’ And we worked on trying to find a structural vernacular to speak to that culture and appeal to guests coming from all over. So, we used the concept of a dogtrot house to design the buildings.
“We combined the dark ethos of Clyde’s history with the modern aesthetic we were going for while being respectful of what the buildings would look like over time to neighbors. We went with a black exterior for the buildings that would allow the light coming out of the buildings to shine, and we adapted that to all the buildings to create a continuous campus language.
“Within the Big House is Clyde’s original copper still, which is called the 240 still because it cost $240 to make. The still will be mounted in the breezeway as the first thing you’re introduced to when you come visit. We actually have the original stills that have ax marks from being busted up so many times over the years.
“This project is really about giving back to the people of Alabama who have adopted Clyde as the state spirit. So, that’s where transparency being key was vitally important. As you arrive, the idea is you’re welcomed everywhere, into the distillery and into the service building where the process is occurring. Everyone can tour everything. You will be able to see everything from the 240 still that Clyde started with, to modern grain handling operations, all the way to the copper still. You will be able to see bottling operations and get a chance to look and see how the barrels and spirits are aging. The property is roughly 80 acres with natural water bodies. It’s an absolutely beautiful site.
“It’s not often in this part of the country and an architect’s career that you’re able to handle such a beautiful project from start to finish and have a client that really believes in it as well. There is a lot of support for this being a project that’s as beautiful as the brand. It’s going to reap brand loyalty for decades down the line.”
The Conecuh Ridge Distillery is currently under construction with plans to open this year.