A Franklin County distillery plans to move into downtown Rocky Mount in March.

Twin Creeks Distillery, previously located in Henry, has signed a lease for approximately 1,200 square feet in the Jones Building beside the Harvester Performance Center, said Susan Carter, marketing manager.

The Rocky Mount location, at 510 Franklin St., will include a tasting room and store. The bulk of production will now take place at a facility in Ferrum, but some liquor will be made in Rocky Mount so visitors can see how it’s done, Carter said.

The distillery had considered moving into the Jones Building several years ago. In 2016, the Rocky Mount Town Council approved a special-use permit that would allow Twin Creeks to operate there.

But Twin Creeks ultimately chose a location in Henry for its tasting room and production facility.

Owner and distiller Chris Prillaman said in a previous interview that the Jones Building was larger than the distillery required, and he would have needed a partner to purchase it. Prillaman also felt the Henry location offered better quality water, important to the distilling process.

The distillery had planned to make Henry its permanent home, but a long-term arrangement to do so fell through, Carter said.

Production was moved to a property in Ferrum owned by Prillaman, where he wouldn’t have to risk moving again, knew the water quality was good and had space to expand if needed, Carter said.

They considered scrapping the tasting room, but ultimately decided not to.

“We realize that there are advantages, especially in the state of Virginia, to have a distillery store,” Carter said.

The search for a tasting room ultimately led them back to the Jones Building, where the special-use permit approved in 2016 is still in place.

Twin Creeks ceased operations in Henry in December. The production facility in Ferrum, which will not be open to the public, is now up and running.

But the opening of the Rocky Mount location got caught up in the government shutdown, Carter said. She’s optimistic that, with the government now reopened, they can be serving liquor in town by March. Delays at the federal level were kept in mind when setting the opening date, Carter said.

Town Manager James Ervin said he was glad Twin Creeks had followed up on its earlier interest in Rocky Mount.

“Across Virginia, wineries, microbreweries and, in our part of the state, distilleries are a big part of the tourism and quality of life industry so we certainly hope their plans materialize,” he said.

Twin Creeks will be an interesting addition to downtown Rocky Mount, Ervin said, where visitors can sample “some great spirits” and learn about Franklin County’s moonshine legacy.

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Casey Fabris covers Franklin County, Rocky Mount and Ferrum College.

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