Distillery planned for old Hoffman firehouse
Hoffman Estates officials Monday gave permission to a West Dundee man to apply for a special use permit to lease the village's former fire station near the Sears Centre Arena for a liquor distillery, tasting room and retail space.
Noel Garcia, who recently moved from Hoffman Estates, said he'd like to be able to open the business sometime around next Valentine's Day in the former Fire Station 24 at 2601 Pratum Ave.
His new company, Beverage and Mixer Inc., will be known as NG Distillery to its patrons, he said. It will be the only craft distillery within 20 miles and Garcia hopes it will become a tourist attraction like the currently nearest one in Galena.
He said he was drawn to the location in his former hometown both for its proximity to the new entertainment district near the Sears Centre as well as the mere 25 miles to Chicago.
"It's the best location I've seen when I've looked around," Garcia said.
NG Distillery will primarily produce rum, but also make every other kind of spirit except tequila. There will be no beer, either. Though no formal approvals were given Monday night, village board members agreed they had no objection to Garcia's pursuit of a special-use permit and all the other necessary licenses for the village-owned property.
Trustees also gave direction to village staff to begin negotiating a lease with Garcia for the 3,200 square feet he plans to initially use of the 13,000-square-foot firehouse.
Even outside of the permits and approvals he needs from Hoffman Estates, a four- to six-month licensing process is anticipated for all the other state and federal permissions he needs.
Garcia, who has a degree in mechanical engineering and works for a company in Schaumburg, anticipates an initial investment of $220,000 to get his "dream" business off the ground.
Hoffman Estates also needs to create a new class of liquor license for such a business, but he's not seeking permission from any higher authorities to make any more than 35,000 gallons of spirits per year.
"I would be the smallest of the small type of distillery -- purely a local product," Garcia said.
He expects to employ about 10 people at the business.