Panel recommends nano-distillery plan for Slinger House

A man talking on a cellphone walks past the Slinger House, left, Thursday morning at the corner of Washington Street and Kettle Moraine Drive in Slinger. The stone barn-like building to the right is where the business plans to build a small distillery that will have a glass enclosure to allow the public to view the distilling process. Between the two buildings is the Slinger House’s outdoor eating and patio area, where large umbrellas can be seen.


SLINGER — Slinger trustees gave unanimous support during a special meeting of the Village Board Tuesday night to submit an application to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation for $250,000 in grant money to aid the nearly $1.1 million expansion project proposed for the Slinger House in the village’s downtown. “We needed the special meeting for approval of the application packet for the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. The application was 45 pages,” Village Administrator Margaret Wilber said. “They needed a resolution approved by the Village Board and included with the application in support of the project and the application.”

In July trustees approved various requests from owners of the Slinger House to allow their proposal to move ahead to operate a nano-distillery and expand their downtown business. One was for several properties to be combined including a stone carriage house and the former location of Bergmann Appliance before Bergmann’s moved farther down the street, all on Kettle Moraine Drive, along with the Slinger House’s current property at the intersection with West Washington Street.

Another request granted for the development to take place was a zoning amendment to add “nano-distillery” as a conditional use in the B-1 Commercial District.

Wilber said the grant, if it gains WEDC approval, is reimbursable.

“They need to put expenditures out and the expenditures have to qualify under the grant criteria and they can work through the village to get reimbursed up to $250,000. That’s the maximum for the program,” Wilber said. “It’s a matching grant and they have to use at least $250,000 of their own money. They’ve got more than that invested in the project.”

Wilber said another reason a special meeting was held is because the developer is closing on the purchase of the properties involved on Aug. 31 and they are set for the very first day after that demolition.

“They will tear down the older storage shed and back part and once the WEDC begins reviewing the application any costs incurred after that would be considered eligible for reimbursement.”

As part of the business plan, the Slinger House owners will add an outdoor dining area to serve the Slinger House at the north side of the carriage house. They also propose to remodel the existing carriage house into a dining space expansion area to serve the Slinger House bar/restaurant use.

The plans also include a cabinet and countertop makers showroom, office and shop and an accessory residential dwelling unit in a portion of the existing stone walled garage building at 111 Kettle Moraine Drive North.

“We plan to build out this garage space to include a glass tower in front to allow easy viewing of the ‘still’ rising about 18 feet into the air,” the owners of the Slinger House, Kelly Henrickson and Tracy Smith, said in the application.

The owners said they plan on doing two to three distillations per week during the first year of operation in 2022 with spirits also to be sold wholesale to local restaurants and bars and tours will be offered regularly. They hope to start construction soon with completion in 2021 or 2022. The first phase is the rear parking lot and then the carriage house restoration.

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