Distillery expands with gin tasting room

Kristi Croxton her James River Distillery co-owners have expanded the distillery's retail. Photos by Michael Thompson.

Kristi Croxton and her James River Distillery co-owners have expanded the distillery’s retail business. Photos by Michael Thompson.

A local distillery’s gin is flowing more freely near the Diamond.

James River Distillery last month opened a new tasting area and store at its production facility at 2700 Hardy St.

Visitors can now try half-ounce pours and buy bottles of the company’s three gins: Commonwealth Gin, Continental Gin and UA Navy Strength Gin. The Commonwealth and Continental 25-ounce bottles sell for $34. Navy Strength, which is 114-proof, sells for $40.

James River took over the space from a vodka distillery.

James River took over the space from a vodka distillery.

James River Distillery is owned by Kristi Croxton, Matt Brophy and Jonathan Staples, who bought the distillery property in 2013 at an on-site auction. The facility was previously used by Cirrus Vodka, which last year moved its operations nearby to 1603 Ownby Lane.

Croxton said thirsty visitors to the facility prompted the company’s move to gain the necessary ABC licenses to open a tasting room.

“It’s something we always wanted to do because it’s a good way to engage with the public,” Croxton said. “We have had a lot of people come through to see what’s going on and tour. We saw a need (for tastings) from that standpoint.”

James River Distillery’s products are also sold at ABC stores and served at restaurants around Richmond. Croxton said more than 120 ABC stores carry Commonwealth Gin.

She said James River Distillery produced around 400 12-bottle cases in 2014 and plans to see that number increase to 600 cases in 2015.

James River Distillery isn’t the only local liquor maker serving up its wares on-site. Reservoir Distillery on Summit Avenue in Scott’s Addition is open Wednesday and Thursday for tastes of its whiskey.

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Congrats! Looking forward to a tour and tasting!