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Immortal Spirits makes move to Central Avenue

Immortal Spirits & Distilling Co.'s products are found statewide in liquor stores, but finding the Medford distiller's absinthe, whiskey, rum, gin and pear and blackberrry au de vies hasn't been so easy on its home turf.

The distiller was founded in January 2010 by local dentist Jesse Gallagher and Enrico Carini.  Its origins were in a small warehouse behind WinCo.

"We didn't last there long and we moved to a new place pretty quickly," Carini said.

In recent years, the firm's production and tasting room were in a warehouse off South Pacific Highway, near Ewing Irrigation.

"We had a little tasting room at a warehouse in the middle of nowhere, but it wasn't a very good venue or friendly for the public wanting to check out our wares," Carini said.

That problem has been solved.

Immortal Spirits' new tasting room is at 141 S. Central Ave., in the old Burger Spot location next to Paisans Pizzeria. The business will hold a grand opening at 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 13, with live music scheduled from 3 to 6 p.m.

Immortal Spirits produced 5,000 bottles last year, and surpassed that figure early this year. 

"We were really cranking in 2014 because we got our hands on a good load of barley from Sams Valley," Gallagher said. "But we've definitely taken a break from production while we got the tasting room in. We had built our inventory up, but we've probably missed five months of production. You need to have a pretty good inventory before you go to the public like this, otherwise you don't have enough product, especially with the aged-stuff that has to be years old before you do anything with it."

Gallagher anticipates pushing production to full capacity, around 10,000 bottles, in a newly occupied 2,400-square-foot warehouse in 2016.

"We're still a micro operation in the grand scheme of things," Gallagher said. "But the area we're working in is a little less cramped."

A bottle of rum is priced at $24 on the shelf, with a four-year-old single barrel whiskey hitting $47 per bottle.

Distilled liquor is primarily disseminated through Oregon Liquor Control Commission stores, leaving in-house tasting room and special events as incremental marketing options. 

"This is kind of a natural progression of things," Carini said. "Where we want to go from here is to build a fan base here in Southern Oregon and bring brand awareness to the people here before we think about distribution outside the state or country."

The new venue seats 35 in two rooms, and food will be available for patrons of all ages. Minors can be on the premises until 9 p.m.

After searching for an in-town tasting room for two years, the partners settled on Central Avenue.

There are plenty of advantages to the new venue, Carini said.

"It's right next to the Craterian, and Medford now has some great places to eat downtown," he said. "Plus, (pubs) Portal and Bricktowne are near here. There's enough stuff going on that it's a good location."

Even better, he said, is that the city parking lot is free after 6 p.m.

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or business@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GregMTBusiness, and read his blog at www.mailtribune.com/Economic Edge.

Enrico Carini, co-owner of Immortal Spirits, prepares Thursday for the opening of a tasting room in downtown Medford. Mail Tribune / Jamie Lusch