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City Approves Zoning Appeal For Bloomington Craft Distillery

After receiving approval for a zoning appeal on Thursday, a group of local investors can move forward with plans to open a craft distillery in Bloomington.

  • Architect Matt Ellenwood's proposed design for the new Bloomington craft distillery.

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    Photo: courtesy of Cardinal Spirits

    Architect Matt Ellenwood designed the building plans for the Bloomington craft distillery. A previous manufacturing facility in McDoel Gardens will be renovated.

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    Image 2 of 2

    Photo: Amanda Solliday / WFIU-WTIU News

    The future distillery site is zoned as industrial, with residential areas on two sides of the property. Because the City of Bloomington designated the distillery as a heavy manufacturing facility, the distillers filed a zoning appeal for conditional use of the location.

A former sheet metal factory will house Bloomington’s new craft distillery, Cardinal Spirits.

After the factory closed, the property served as a storage space and a canvas for graffiti artists.

“We think it’s ripe for growth and development,” Jeff Wuslich, co-founder of Cardinal Spirits, says. “We want it [the distillery] to be along the B-Line, it’s Bloomington’s greatest sidewalk.”

The Board of Zoning Appeals unanimously approved conditional use at the location on South Morton Street. At a meeting Thursday, the board reviewed details for fence construction, truck traffic, hours of operation, odor concerns, parking availability and interactions with the homeless community.

Wuslich and his fellow distillers are also working with the McDoel Garden Neighborhood Association to address community concerns with the new business.

A recently-passed state law allows newcomers who do not hold a brewery, winery or general distiller’s license to apply for an artisan distiller’s permit. This exception expires at the end of the year.

“We were kind of moving in this direction regardless of the legislation, but we’re certainly taking advantage of that opportunity now,” Wuslich says.

The distillers plan to open their doors in early 2014.

Amanda Solliday

Amanda Solliday is a reporter for WFIU/WTIU News and a news anchor on WFIU’s Morning Edition. She has won awards for radio news reporting from Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRDNI) and the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ). You can follow her on Twitter @AjSolliday

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