Rehoboth Restaurant To Start Distilling Liquors - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Rehoboth Restaurant To Start Distilling Liquors

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REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. - From the distiller to the infusion bar, Zachary King is pouring out his latest batch of homemade rum.

He's transforming his one-year-old restaurant into a completely functional distillery called Delaware Distilling Company.

"We're doing craft spirits by hand, small batches [and] being creative," said King. "I've got a strawberry brandy working right now. I've got a sweet potato vodka which is something completely different that no one thought of."

In a week, King will start stocking the cabinets with his own vodka, gin and rum to become one of just a handful of small distilleries on the Eastern Shore.

But the market of craft distilleries is a lot smaller thancraft breweries, where the popularity has skyrocketed in the past few years. According to the Brewers Association, 18.5 percent more opened up in 2012 than the year before, with a total of 2,360 in the United States. Compared to small distilleries, that's percent more, according to a 2011 survey from Coppersea Distilling, LLC.

But, if legislation passes, King believes small batch distills will start bottling rapidly across the country over the next five to 10 years. In April, Rep. Rick Larsen (D-WA) introduced "Distillery Excise Tax Reform Act of 2013," a bill that would cut back tax rates by 80 percent for businesses making 60-thousand gallons or less of liquor.    

"The small distillers are going to do what the brewers have done for the past 10 years on a smaller level," said King.

But as he waits for the bill, King will open his new business filling up one bottle at a time.

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