Fort Lauderdale, FL has plans in motion to welcome its first Black-owned distillery. According to a press release, Victor George Spirits has announced that the Fort Lauderdale Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) board voted unanimously to pledge $2,450,000 to fund the construction of a 15,000-square-foot facility set to house a co-working space, cigar bar, distillery, restaurant and whiskey lounge. The space will be located on the city’s historic Sistrunk Boulevard and will include a rooftop bar.
“This will be a signature project on the Sistrunk Corridor!” said Fort Lauderdale Commissioner, Robert McKinzie in an official press release.
Owner Victor G. Harvey will use the forgivable loan for the project alongside his own investment and financing provided by a local bank. He is responsible for the nationally distributed Victor George Vodka (VG) and looks to use his own development company, Northeast 6th Development to turn the once vibrant area back into a place where neighbors, visitors, and locals can dine, drink and tour the distillery getting a taste of the unique craft spirits.
“As our core brand VG continues to grow nationwide, we are committed to helping our own city grow, particularly the Sistrunk corridor. This has been a long process, but we stayed the course,” Harvey continued in the release. “Through these difficult times our focus was to keep all of our employees working and get to this point, which we were able to do. This building will allow the creation of several more job opportunities, with most of the hiring coming from within the neighborhood.”
The new building will be named The Victory Building in honor of the historic Victory Theatre that once sat on Sistrunk, serving as a premier destination for Black people in Fort Lauderdale. It was the only theatre that they were allowed to attend upon the end of segregation in 1964.