Southern Distilling Company to Locate in Statesville; Will Invest Up to $4 Million and Create 40 Jobs


It has been more than 110 years since local residents could legally take a sip of whiskey distilled in the Statesville Region, but that is about to change. Southern Distilling Company today announced plans to locate a new craft distillery on Jennings Road in northeast Statesville, investing up to $4 million and creating 40 new jobs over five years. The company will produce and sell their craft distilled spirits from a 25,000-square-foot glass-fronted distillery, which will be prominently visible from I-77 and easily accessible for tastings and tours via Exit 54 to Highway 21. The distillery will be one of the largest in the Southeast. The distillery will be a proudly participating site on the #VisitNCSpirits Craft Distillers Trail, a partnership between the Distillers Association of North Carolina and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture.  The company also plans to open a “tasting room” in downtown Statesville.

Southern Distilling will provide high quality Carolina spirits to both the local region and customers worldwide who desire a sense of authenticity and artfulness in the drinks they enjoy. Core products will include bourbon, rye whiskey and fruit brandies.

Owned and operated by local entrepreneurs Pete and Vienna Barger, Southern Distilling will be the first distillery to open in Statesville since 1903, and the first “craft distillery” ever to open in the city. Prior to Prohibition, Statesville was touted as the “distilling capital of the world,” home to hundreds of local distilleries and several of the largest liquor wholesalers in the East. “We are looking forward to bringing this industry back to Statesville, supporting local farms, and creating new jobs and opportunities in my hometown,” said co-owner Pete Barger.

“Craft distilleries, like craft breweries, are an offshoot of the larger ‘local’ movement in food and beverage,” noted Statesville Regional Development Executive Director, Michael Smith. “An increasing number of people want to know where things come from, who makes it, what’s in it, and how it’s produced.”

In addition to its own products, Southern Distilling will serve as a partner for wineries and other craft distillers in contract distilling, warehousing, and bottling/packaging services.
Convenient proximity to the Yadkin Valley and Swan Creek American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) provides unique opportunities for shared tourism and relationships with the multiple vineyards and wineries nearby.

“We are excited about bringing whiskey and brandy production back to the region and want to be a true asset to the community,” said co-owner Vienna Barger. The 20-acre grounds include old growth hardwood trees and agricultural farmland, which will be developed into an outdoor walking trail and a demonstration orchard and grain fields, in addition to development of other supporting businesses, in future phases. Grand opening is slated for summer 2016 and further information will be available at

Southern Distilling has worked closely with the City of Statesville and Iredell County in the development of its business plan. Statesville Mayor Costi Kutteh said, “It has been a pleasure to work with Pete and Vienna Barger in selecting Statesville for our county’s first distillery. Their total dedication to the project and the process makes me confident they will be successful community partners for years to come. I am especially excited they are looking at Downtown Statesville to further enhance their operations. They represent a new era of manufacturing, employment and community engagement which will be a model for our future.”

James Mallory, Chairman of the Iredell County Commissioners, added, “The Iredell County Board of Commissioners are excited that Pete and Vienna Barger, a longstanding Iredell County family with a history of providing employment opportunities throughout the county, will be opening Southern Distilling Company to continue that tradition of job creation and leadership.  Their new venture will not only provide jobs directly related to their production facility but increase tourism throughout the area.”

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