Nippitaty Distillery could be headed to the Park Circle area. Owner Traxler Littlejohn is raising funds through a Kickstarter campaign, which ends Dec. 30, to pay for a portion of the cost to renovate a circa-1950s Gulf service station located on Spruill Avenue with enough space for a 40-seat tasting room.
The move from Nippitaty’s pint-sized Pace Street facility (located near Freehouse Brewery) would bring something different to the area, Littlejohn said.
“It will give Park Circle an option for craft cocktails and will increase our production space by another 1,000 square feet. The dream is to continue to spread our product,” said Littlejohn, lives in Park Circle with his family.
Nippitaty became South Carolina’s first organic distillery when it opened in 2017, setting itself apart with craft gin and flavored vodka. The gin has won multiple awards, including a 2019 gold medal from the International Review of Spirits.
“I decided to follow a contemporary-style gin, which means you feature botanicals more,” Littlejohn said. “We started with that, and then we decided to make vodka because there’s always those people who don’t like the letters G-I-N.”
The move to Park Circle would allow Littlejohn to expand his tasting room hours — right now, Nippitaty is only open on Saturday’s from 1-6 p.m. due to the current distillery’s off the beaten path location and the fact that it can only hold 15 guests inside at one time. It would also help Littlejohn and his staff increase production.
“We currently fill, cork, label, seal and box each and every bottle of liquor by hand,” Littlejohn wrote on Nippitaty’s Kickstarter page. The potential increase in revenue from the new location would allow Nippitaty to streamline this process, while also helping it secure additional state licenses and spread bottle distribution to more states, Littlejohn said.
Nippitaty was the first local distillery to switch production from liquor to hand sanitizer at the onset of the pandemic. According to Littlejohn, the distillery recently donated 45 gallons of ethanol to MUSC for the production of more sanitizing products.
Small businesses do not receive any of the funds raised from a Kickstarter campaign unless the goal is reached. The building is ready for renovations, and Littlejohn is aiming to complete the project by spring 2021.
“It is with sheer grit and determination that we are still moving forward this year,” Littlejohn wrote. “With your help, we can bring Nippitaty’s Rejuvenation Project to fruition. Without it, the growth and success of our business is much harder and much, much further away.”
For more information and to donate to Nippitaty’s new facility, visit the distillery’s Kickstarter page.