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Local distillery opens downtown tasting room Friday

by | Jan 18, 2023 | Latest

A local whiskey company is set to open its doors to a spacious tasting room this week after several months of preparing the space. 

Ryan Hamar, the chief executive officer of Herman Marshall Whiskey, said he is happy to bring the company to Wylie, where he currently resides. The tasting room, located at 121 N. Ballard Ave., is scheduled to open at 3 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20, and will also have Wylie-based western hat company, The Turquoise Feather Hat Co, in attendance.

Normal business hours will be from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day of the week.

In a way to share his love for the city and create a fun atmosphere for residents and non-residents to hang out, Hamar said opening in downtown Wylie along the state’s whiskey trail was an easy decision.

“It will 100% help Wylie which [will make] it a lot more fun here,” Hamar said. “We can be that anchor for Wylie that’s bringing people here. It’s ‘hey, build around us because we’re going to be here so why not build restaurants and other fun businesses and shops.’”

Most weeks will have trivia night on Tuesday, poker night on Thursday and live music on Friday or Saturday, said Hamar, adding that there will also be one-off activities, such as a cocktail making class. The upstairs area will be available to rent for several event uses, he added, with a couple wedding receptions already booked. There is also the ability to host a bottling party in the upstairs portion.

The first floor of the tasting room has a cozy, lounge feel, which was important to capture with an off-site tasting room that can be more a separate experience from one attached to the distillery. 

“This place will be a place that people want to go and also a place that we want to be at,” Hamar said. “We want to be a family-friendly distillery. We’re going to have food trucks; we want it to be a place where you can come hang out and listen to music.”

As a bonus, the company was able to maintain the same federal license because the new site is located just north of the tasting room off State Highway 78.

Herman Marshall Whiskey began in 2010 as a hobby project, Hamar said, before COVID-19 restrictions prevented the previous owners from going into their distillery, which was located in Garland. In 2021, Hamar and his partners bought the whiskey company.

“It happened to be one down the street in Garland that I had heard of and seen on the shelf,” Hamar said. “We went over and talked to them and it took us about a year to get the whole deal done.”

The distillery located in Garland continued to operate but Hamar wanted to relocate the distillery and its existing tasting room, saying the existing space was small but “we wanted to go big.”

He and his ownership team eventually settled on a location in Wylie because he and another partner live in the city while another lives in Canton. Hamar said the best part is that the ingredients of the different whiskeys are all produced in the state and the whiskey is distilled down the street.

The corn is grown in Denton while the barley and rye are grown just outside Amarillo, he added. The tasting room will also serve as a stop along the iconic Texas Whiskey Trail, which Hamar says gets up to 100,000 visitors annually.

While 100,000 individuals are unlikely to come through the doors, it helps put Wylie on the map and attract residents to the historic downtown.

“Our thing is keeping it local,” Hamar said. “You’re going to come in and see somebody that you know and you’re not going to have the large conglomerate that’s just here trying to produce booze and upset people. We want to be a true Wylie staple.”

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