The idea for Rock Town, which bills itself as Arkansas' first craft distillery, came to Brandon, a former acquisitions man at Alltel, when the company merged with Verizon, he said this morning at his warehouse. He figured he was soon out of job or, at best, in a new one and was tired of the corporate life. So he took his love for small batch single malt Scotch and decided to try his hand at distillation, but with an Arkansas focus. To get the idea off the ground, he visited distilleries, took several classes, sought guidance from a former master distiller at Maker's Mark and filled out three inches worth of paperwork to secure a federal permit.
Brandon said today that he hopes to be in production by mid-July and in stores and bars by August with his gin and vodka. The bourbon, of course, will take longer to age, though since Rock Town is working in truly small batches, the aging time is shortened, in this case, hopefully to six to eight months, Brandon said. Tasting tours at the factory, at 1216 E. Sixth, near Heifer International, should begin in September.
Initially, including Brandon and his wife, Rock Town's staff will be four.