Brewing, Cideries & Spirits  December 19, 2023

Denver’s Ironton Distillery plans Louisville production facility, tasting room, events venue

LOUISVILLE — Ironton Distillery & Crafthouse, located in Denver’s River North (RiNo) neighborhood, got the nod from Louisville planning officials last week to move forward with plans that would see Ironton’s operations move to Empire Road near the city’s downtown. 

“I’m in strong support of this project,” Louisville Planning Commission member Debra Baskett said during a hearing on planned unit development, special use review and annexation agreement amendment for the distillery project. “I think that it would bring a unique venue to Louisville.”

The company’s “intent is to entirely relocate their production facility, tasting room, and event center business to Louisville,” according to a memo from Ironton representatives to city planners. The Louisville operation, which planning documents show would include a total building area of about 22,000 square feet, is planned for 1303 Empire Road, a parcel owned by Ironton, which has operated in RiNo since 2018.

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“The tasting room is kind of our heart and soul,” Ironton’s head distiller Laura Walters told Louisville planning leaders. “…We want to make it super family friendly.”

The western portion of the site “the proposal includes the use of a historic building positioned near the intersection of Highway 42 and Empire Road for maximum public visibility,” planning documents show. “The building would serve as a special event structure and is currently undergoing a separate process with the City for assessing, landmarking, moving, and rehabilitating the structure.”

The western portion of the site would also serve “as garden space to grow essential ingredients for (Ironton) products, as well as create outdoor space to support their event center activities (weddings, corporate functions, private parties, concerts, etc.),” the memo said. “The green space or open area is also intended to act as a minimally developed landscape buffer between the proposed building and Highway 42 to maintain the rural character of the area.”

The business would have the capacity to host up to about 450 people, Ironton’s Lance Peterson told Louisville planning leads, but an event that size “would be a very rare occurrence for us.”

The Empire Road location is unique in that when it was annexed into Louisville limits in the 1980s, a “no building zone” designation was applied to part of the property. 

Over the past few decades, such a designation has become “irrelevant” and “limits the property’s development,” said Andy Johnson, a project representative with DHA Design.

Louisville planning officials agreed. “At this point I’m viewing the “no build zone” as a giant setback,” planning board chairman Steve Brauneis said. 

The Empire Road location where Ironton plans to set up shop is unique in that when it was annexed into Louisville limits in the 1980s, a “no building zone” designation was applied to part of the property. Source: Louisville planning documents

LOUISVILLE — Ironton Distillery & Crafthouse, located in Denver’s River North (RiNo) neighborhood, got the nod from Louisville planning officials last week to move forward with plans that would see Ironton’s operations move to Empire Road near the city’s downtown. 

“I’m in strong support of this project,” Louisville Planning Commission member Debra Baskett said during a hearing on planned unit development, special use review and annexation agreement amendment for the distillery project. “I think that it would bring a unique venue to Louisville.”

The company’s “intent is to entirely relocate their production facility, tasting room, and event center business to Louisville,” according to…

Lucas High
A Maryland native, Lucas has worked at news agencies from Wyoming to South Carolina before putting roots down in Colorado.
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