ROCKFORD, Mich. (WOOD) — Eastern Kille Distillery broke ground on its new facility set to open in the Rockford area later this year.

A downtown Grand Rapids staple since 2014, Eastern Kille has served award-winning spirits and cocktails to patrons and continued to grow over the years. It was that growth that created the need for expansion. When Corewell Health, formerly known as Spectrum Health, purchased the original building in 2021, an opportunity presented itself.

“That was a mutual agreement between us and Spectrum. They really wanted that property to expand their operations to the West Monroe neighborhood and we really wanted to expand our distillery operations, which would not have been possible there in that neighborhood,” co-owner Brandon Voorhees said. “So, that was a deal that worked out for both of us.”

The new site will include a nearly 8,000-square-foot distillery and a 4,000-square-foot restaurant. An outdoor patio area and cocktail garden are also in the works for the grand opening. A full menu and potential for beer and wine availability could also be a reality.

This is the first time Voorhees and his team have ventured into the restaurant space. But with more area for operations, he’s confident the transition will lead to success.

“We’re going to be able to increase our production immediately by multiple times. So that means more whiskey, more barrels stored. And we’re also going to be able to increase the amount of people that we can host and have in our facility,” Voorhees said.

The new distillery is slated to open to the public in the fall and provide 15 new jobs to people in the area. Around $4.2 million has gone into the project and that includes many obstacles and supply chain issues the company has dealt with. But the groundbreaking ceremony is a step in the right direction.

“Too many of those random factors in 2022 than I would care to list right now. But it was a challenge to get the project off the ground and so that’s why today is such a huge milestone for us,” Voorhees said.

The original Eastern Kille in downtown Grand Rapids will remain open to the public until the end of September, when the new location becomes operational.