Tax break for Greenwood distillery rescinded

A craft distillery planned as a destination spot in Greenwood is on hold because the owner has not been able to get the proper alcohol permit.

For now, city board has taken back a financial incentive for the proposed distillery but is willing to make the offer again should the distillery receive the state license it needs.

Dragon Rock Distillery, a craft distillery, brewery restaurant and warehouse for spirits is planned for 12 acres on Main Street, east of Interstate 65. Construction for the $7 million project at Commerce Park East Drive and Main Street was initially supposed to begin last year. No work has begun at the site.

Last year, the Greenwood Redevelopment Commission approved spending $170,000 in property tax dollars to fund an access road and sidewalks for the project.

But after the funds were approved, a contract between the city and the owner, southside resident Dave Hunter, was never finalized, redevelopment commission president Brent Tilson said.

The city tried to contact Hunter several times to begin the negotiations but were told he had several issues he needed to finalize first, city attorney Krista Taggart said.

Last year, the Indiana Legislature approved a law reducing the wait for an artisan distiller’s permit from three years to 18 months, but Hunter had wanted that wait time dropped even further, Tilson said.

The problem is that with the 18-month hold, Hunter needs to wait another nine months before he can get the permit and begin construction, Hunter said.

While the Tilson said he was still supportive of the Dragon Rock Distillery project, he didn’t want the redevelopment commission funds to be tied up in case they were needed for another project.

If Hunter gets all of the other licenses and approvals he needs for his project, the redevelopment commission would consider offering the same financial incentive to him again, Tilson said.

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Jacob Tellers is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at jtellers@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2702.