Just in time for the new Roaring Twenties, Pittsburgh’s premier distillery is expanding.
Last week, the Strip District-based craft spirit company Wigle Whiskey announced that they have purchased both their current headquarters and the adjoining building on Smallman Street. The acquisitions will enable the boutique bootleggers to double their existing space and expand the workshops and social events the company is known for.
The owners have been renting the 2401 Smallman location since 2010, after state regulations were amended to allow distilleries to sell their products on site. Since then, Wigle has grown to include tasting rooms and bottle shops Downtown and at Ross Park Mall, as well as a barrelhouse and whiskey garden in Spring Garden.
In addition to allowing for a more elaborate distillery and a full bar to complement the tasting room, the purchase also ensures the future use of the site, which the owners say had been in doubt despite doing excellent business.
“Because of the distillery’s continued growth, increasing production and guest needs and the heightened development pressures in the Strip District, we needed to secure our home base by purchasing the building,” said co-owner Eric Meyer.
Over the last five years, as the Strip has become a magnet for tech firms and real estate development, Wigle feared that their flagship location would be displaced by rising rents.
“The value of staying in place was so enormous to us,” said co-owner Meredith Meyer Grelli. “Finding another suitable site in the Strip at this point looked like an impossibility.”
Speaking to NEXTpittsburgh, Grelli said she and her partners eventually struck a deal to purchase the building for $2.2 million. The Pittsburgh-based architecture firm GBBN will collaborate with Wigle on designs for the expansion.
Co-owner Mark Meyer says construction will in no way disrupt ongoing work at the distillery, and they anticipate having the entire space open to the public on Oct. 1.
“Our inspiration to start the distillery was about celebrating the community of which we are a part, including our region’s unparalleled whiskey heritage, our agricultural, manufacturing and neighborhood strengths,” says co-owner Mary Ellen Meyer. “We are so happy to have the opportunity to continue that focus in our home in the Strip.