Lilburn Trigg Myers must be having a good laugh. Myers, the railroad superintendent from Virginia who laid out the present day Lilburn in 1890, will soon have his likeness on hundreds of bottles of vodka produced just feet away from the railroad tracks he knew so well.
More than a year ago, husband-and-wife team Paul Allen and Betsey Dahlberg rented 5,000 square feet just off Main Street in the historic area of the Lilburn CID. Their intent was to establish Hope Springs Distillery. Paul is a retired engineer who spent 40 years helping businesses to improve their manufacturing processes, and Betsey is a retired attorney who spent years helping people navigate the legal system.
The couple’s connection to distilled spirits was their brewing and wine-making hobby. Little did they realize how well their skills would serve them as they tackled challenges during months of refurbishing and equipping the warehouse space to meet all of the specifications required by federal, state and local laws. Throughout this process they have nothing but praise for city officials and the county fire department, which had to devise strategies for addressing a distillery fire.
Now after adjusting equipment and running test batches, they see a light at the end of the tunnel. With all the necessary permits in place, Hope Springs is legal and can produce and sell through their distributor. However, Paul and Betsey are not quite ready to simply produce and distribute. They want to meet their customers.
Before Hope Springs goes into full production, the couple will spend the summer working on a tasting room and event space as they await the anticipated fall opening for community tours, tastings and sales – with Lilburn Trigg Myers there raising his glass!