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Plans to turn former Wiltse’s site into high-end spirits-tasting room tabled

 Plans to turn former Wiltse’s site into high-end spirits-tasting room tabled

An entrepreneur would like to convert the downtown Plymouth property formerly occupied by Wiltses Pharmacy into a spirits-tasting room.

An entrepreneur’s plan to turn the downtown-Plymouth space at 330 S. Main Street formerly occupied by Wiltse’s Pharmacy into a high-end spirits-tasting room was tabled during a public hearing at Monday night’s Plymouth City Commission meeting due, in part, to the absence of a kitchen.

Highline Spirits’ attempt to secure a tasting room liquor license for the property without a plan to serve its own food was at the forefront of the Liquor License Review Committee’s decision to recommend the Plymouth City Commission to deny the license.

Members of the LLRC met immediately before Monday’s city commission meeting.

Lack of food service a negative

Among the factors the city commission must consider when approving a liquor license within the Downtown Development Authority is whether the applicant’s business plan includes a 70-to-30-percent split when it comes to the serving of food over alcohol.

Details in Highline Spirits’ business plan called for a limited amount of prepackaged food/snacks offered in its business, but there would be no onsite kitchen. Patrons would be encouraged to order food from nearby eateries and eat the carried-in food while they tasted the business’s premium spirits.

City Commissioner Suzi Deal explained that an emphasis in the LLRC’s recommendation to deny the license was the business’s lack of onsite food service, adding that since-closed downtown businesses that ran similar bring-your-own-food business models were the source of significant “added stress” to the city’s police and fire force.

Regardless of the LLRC’s recommendation, the city commission can vote to approve or deny the license, or table the matter for a later date.

Highline Spirits Company CEO Christi Lower.
Highline Spirits Company CEO Christi Lower

CEO’s public hearing request

Highline Spirits CEO Christi Lower made the commission’s decision easy when, during the public hearing, she asked the commission to table the discussion until a further-use case can be presented.

Lower’s business plan includes more than spirits tasting. It could also serve as a location for team building and educational-focused meetings.

Highline Spirits would serve spirits that were made elsewhere and give customers an opportunity to taste the brands before purchasing bottles to take home, Lower explained.

According to the business plans, Highline Spirits would be open daily from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. — but not, it appears, until a kitchen can be built into its business model.

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Ed Wright

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