June 22, 2018
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Business owner hopes to convert York hardware store into Route 1 distillery

By Susan Morse, The York Weekly

YORK, Maine — David Woods, owner of Wiggly Bridge Distillery in York Beach, is looking for planning board approval to convert an existing hardware store on Route 1 into a distillery with retail space.

Woods is scheduled to go before the planning board on Thursday, July 10, in York Public Library. The meeting starts at 7 p.m., with Wiggly Bridge Distillery third on an agenda that includes final review of the York police station project.

Wiggly Bridge is the first known distillery in York. It opened last year on Railroad Avenue, at first selling only T-shirts, hats and other products with the new logo, spelled differently than its namesake, the Wiggley Bridge in York Harbor.

In April, the Board of Selectmen delayed granting Woods a business license to sell food and liquor.

Woods said Thursday that he has since gotten that license.

The new distillery is planned for 441 Route 1, the site of York Corner True Value. Owner Annie Humphrey declined comment Wednesday.

An April 7 signed purchase and sale agreement gives no price and a closing deadline of Jan. 1, 2015, according to information included in the application submitted to the town.

Woods said Thursday that the new location would allow for a higher volume of sales.

“We sold out last week,” Woods said of product that includes a light whiskey and baby bourbon.

Three locations are eventually planned, he said, with the third in Freeport.

Woods also has said that he has lined up distribution throughout the state, as well as in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Ryan McCarthy of CLD Consulting Engineers Inc. is representing Woods Family Inc. before the planning board. He is expected to request both preliminary and final approval on Thursday, calling the project a minor site plan, McCarthy said in the application.

The application proposes to change the use of the barn building, with property improvements limited to interior renovations, with the exception of the installation of a new water service to replace existing service that crosses an abutting property, McCarthy said in the application.

Wiggly Bridge Distillery plans to distill small-batch, handcrafted spirits, McCarthy said. A distillery falls under the manufacturing-use category, with a secondary retail and tasting room used for selling and sampling food, marketing products and other goods manufactured on site, McCarthy said.

The amount of traffic generated by the proposed change of use from hardware store to distillery is expected to be minimal, McCarthy said.

In holding off in granting the business license this spring, the Board of Selectmen questioned how the alcohol distilling operation came to be authorized in the first place. Woods received code enforcement approval for the cooking of grains at Wiggly Bridge Distillery as an accessory, or secondary use, to the primary operation of a retail store.


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