Hello, my name is Chris Ferg and I am Co-Founder and Head Distiller for The Durham Distillery. We are currently moving into the Pickering Village Firehall at 25 Mill Street to utilize the location for our distillery.
I know you might have many questions about what that means for you and our community.
Let me start with; my goal is to limit the impact to the Pickering Village community, of which I am a member. My family and I live on Jacwin Drive. We love this neighbourhood and what makes it great. I would not be looking at this location unless I was confident there would be minimal impact on our community.
What does The Durham Distillery do?
We produce small-batch, handcrafted spirits using high-quality local ingredients. We typically produce approximately 1,000 bottles a month (compared to 100,000+ at a commercial distillery).
We are not and have no plans to become a restaurant or pub. We will not be serving "by the galss" drinks to the public.
What are the planned hours of operation?
We plan to operate our retail location, Tuesday through Saturday, from 11 am to 5 pm. Our production hours will be from 9 am to 5 pm.
Will there be changes to the exterior of the building?
We will be adding some signage on the building, much like what exists today. We would also be adding a sign on the lawn to help direct customers to the northside main entrance.
We would not be adding any additional exterior lighting to the building.
Is the equipment safe to operate in a neighbourhood?
Yes, our distillation equipment is computer monitored and operated, making it safe to use. If ever there is a problem, the equipment will shut itself off. We will also have someone monitoring the equipment as a double safety point.
Our equipment is also quiet and will not create noise pollution that will impact our direct neighbours.
Will there be any smells/odours?
If there are some, they would be minimial, and similar to ones you might find in a bakery.
During the distillation process, there are two possible times smells might appear.
The first is during the "mashing" phase. We use cereal grains (wheat, rye, barley, corn) in our various spirits, which smell like a bakery during this phase. Mash days are one of my favourites because of the smell.
The second possible time would be during fermentation (turning the mash into alcohol). Smells emitted during this process are kept inside the distillery. We vent our fermenters directly into water, which minimizes the smell.
One of my partners is an engineer and owns a local filtration company, allowing us to install proper carbon filters if necessary.
What about deliveries and retail store? How will that impact traffic?
One of the things that I love about Pickering Village is how little outside traffic there is, and I intend not to ruin that.
We have committed to the Town of Ajax, and now yourselves, that we will limit delivery times between 9:30 am and 2 pm, Monday to Friday, and no deliveries on weekends. We will also work with our delivery providers to ensure only short trucks (no 53" trailers) are used during deliveries.
Our retail shop impact will be minimal. On a good day, if we had ten people come by, that would be a massive win for us. We will continue to follow the Durham Health Units recommendations for retail operators.
Will people be able to get drinks at the distillery?
To start, this is not a bar or restaurant location, this is a production facility.
We will let customers try small samples of our spirits previous to purchasing if they so wish, but this is limited to .5oz.
All of our staff are SMARTServe certified and are required by law to not allow people to become intoxicated and if they do, ensure they do not drive.
Will there be any events held at the distillery?
No, we will not be hosting any large events that would generate additional noise or traffic within our community.
Ajax has many excellent facilities nearby, mainly the Quaker Meeting House and St. Francis Centre, that we would look to utilize for any large events.