We’ve raved about Moore County’s dynamic craft brewery scene in previous articles as we are home to four microbreweries and a cider house, but we may soon have a new offering on the spectrum of spirits.

Southern Pines couple Brad and Jessica Halling of Rickhouse Properties have a conceptual development plan for their American Whiskey Co. project, a resort-like distillery campus off U.S. 1 at Yadkin Road in Southern Pines.  Plans call for developing 4-acres of an existing 15-acre site in the town’s light industrial area.

The Hallings’ four-phase plan includes construction of a distilled spirits plant with production and storage facilities, plus a cocktail bar, commercial kitchen and restaurant, retail area, office space for the business, and private tasting areas. Later phases include expansion of the plant and construction of additional storage facilities, in addition to an outdoor stage and entertainment area facing the wooded rear portion of the property.

Rendering of American Whiskey Co. building

“This is a post-military retirement purpose-driven project for us,” Jessica Halling said, noting the couple spent considerable time discussing what kind of business they wanted to bring to the community. “We are surrounded by so many military and civilians who are extraordinary quiet professionals. We felt that whiskey, because whiskey and soldiers go together, is just an amazing medium to send messages of gratitude and thanks to these extraordinary people.”

The couple, who’ve lived in Moore County since 1990, also feel the facility will promote Moore County and encourage military entrepreneurship, business growth and key relationships with Fort Bragg. The branding of the distillery’s products will primarily feature military themes and be consistent with higher end spirits.

Brad Halling retired as a Sergeant Major with a remarkable personal history of service in Special Forces. His wife, Jessica, a former JAG officer, retired as a Colonel.

“We are very excited about being a small business in the community that people will be proud of,” said Jessica. “We look for this to be a cool gathering place in our multi-generational community.

Halling said they envision a small, regional distillery facility where guests -- marketed specifically to small groups visits -- can take a tour, try samples and have a bite to eat, and the opportunity to purchase merchandise at one location.

The addition of a restaurant feature and the outdoor stage are consistent with a higher end brand and facility campus, and these amenities would be consistent with the greater Southern Pines community, Halling explained.

The Southern Pines Planning Board has enthusiastically recommended approval of the plans, and the next step is review by the Southern Pines Town Council.

(Original story by Laura Douglass, The Pilot.  Photo courtesy of The Pilot / Rickhouse Properties)

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