Early look at Philadelphia Distilling in Fishtown

The bar at Philadelphia Distilling, 25 E. Allen St., with the distillery behind.

Philadelphia Distilling, the makers of such brands as Bluecoat gin and Penn 1681 vodka, is in the soft-opening phase at its new production facility/tasting room, on Allen Street next to the Fillmore in Fishtown.

The company, which for the last dozen years had been operating out of Northeast Philadelphia, is moving up in a big way, adding a 2,500-liter copper still and a vodka tower to its original 1,500-liter copper still built by the fifth-generation Forsyth family in Scotland. Hall-Woolford Tank Co., a Philly-based family business, built the distillery's open-top wooden fermentation vessels. The distillery occupies 5,000 square feet of the former Ajax Metal Co.

Production of Bluecoat should begin in a few weeks, said president and co-founder Andrew Auwerda.

Grand opening - a chance to look around and try cocktails made of Philadelphia Distilling spirits - will be 1 to 9 p.m. Feb. 19 and 20.

The distilling magic happens behind a glass wall, which serves as the back of a bar.

Distillery tours start Feb. 23 and will start at 4 and 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and 2, 4, and 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Regular hours, after grand opening, will be 1 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday to Sunday.

"This won't be a bar, in the conventional sense," Auwerda says. "Rather, a place where you can taste our spirits and hang out." Because of the hours, he said, it would be a spot to visit before a show at the Fillmore or Punch Line, rather than after.

Auwerda intends the place as an educational experience for the pros (distributors and sales reps).  There's also a comfy lounge. In warmer weather, there will be an outdoor patio.

There's a full kitchen for on-premises catering but no immediate plans for food service to the general public beyond snacks. 

Camera icon MICHAEL KLEIN / Staff
Some of the new Fishtown venues, on Feb. 14, 2017: 1. Philadelphia Distilling. 2. Fillmore. 3. Revolutions. 4. Punch Line (rear side - entrance is around the corner).