Small Business Feature – Doc Porter’s Distillery

232 East Peterson Dr. CHARLOTTE, NC 28217 • Tours are $10, offered Saturdays at 4 p.m. and 5:30 P.M • Website

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Dr. Richard Porter, the grandfather of Andrew Porter (Owner & Distiller) was the inspiration and the name behind this venture. Brewing and Distilling have always been a passion for Andrew and a couple of years ago, he and his wife, Liz, started the journey of opening a grain to glass distillery. Their goal is to create great spirits and make the Queen City proud.

We had the pleasure of chatting with Liz Porter and this is her response to the questions we have asked her:

1. How long have you been in business? – We opened our doors for tours and tastings in November 2015 but have been working on getting Doc Porter’s up and running since late 2012. Starting up a distillery is a long and detailed process, but we think it’s been time well spent.

2. What do you love most about being your own boss? – We love running our own business because we get to decide what we stand for and what our brand is. For instance, it’s important to us to make everything from scratch using as many North Carolina agricultural products as possible. Some distilleries use bulk ethanol as a base for their products but we feel like a true craft spirit starts from scratch and is made by a passionate distiller from start to finish. We really want to educate consumers about grain-to-glass and what sets our products apart. It’s a much more detailed and time consuming production, but since we’re the bosses, no one can make us change our philosophy to save time or money.

3. What makes Charlotte so special? – Not sure where to begin with this one because we’re definitely passionate Charlotteans. Charlotte has big city culture, eats, and experiences, but it’s all packaged with friendly southern attitudes. After coming from the suburbs of much larger cities up north, it’s nice that strangers smile at you and strike up a conversation. People here take such pride in the city and we really hope to leave our mark on a city that we hope to stay in for a long, long time.

4. Have you always wanted to own your own business? – I don’t think owning our own business was something that we’ve both always dreamed of. It’s more doing something we love every day that was so appealing. The thing that we love just happens to turn itself into a business.

5. For someone visiting Charlotte, what is the one must see? – You’d have to be visiting on the right weekend, but the Fourth Ward Garden tour would be my choice. Andrew and I met in the Fourth Ward when we both lived there years ago, so it’s special for us to begin with but in my opinion, it is the absolute coolest part of the city. In the spring, when the homeowners open their city gardens up to the public it’s awesome. There’s so much history in that part of Uptown so it’s a must see for me.

6. What is your favorite local restaurant? – Tough call because we have so many, but if you’re going for a uniquely North Carolina experience, I’d have to pick Heirloom.

7. Do you see yourself opening another branch on other locations? – If business really starts booming, an expansion could be down the road. Not necessarily another branch, but maybe a larger facility.

8. Why do your customers stay or do repeat business with you? – We hope that people drink Doc Porter’s because it’s a fantastic product that they love. We don’t want to be a North Carolina novelty product, but rather, people’s spirits of choice because they’re just better and people enjoy them and are proud to drink them.

9. To what do you attribute your success? – We’re brand new so it’s tough to write about being successful in a business sense yet but the feedback that we’ve gotten from people that have tried our products is overwhelmingly positive. It’s incredibly encouraging and lets us know that if we keep on the path of making products we’re passionate about, we’re headed for success.

10. What do you look for in an employee? – Someone who is honest, believes in our philosophy, works hard and wants to be a part of starting something from the ground up. Definitely someone who understands that opening a new business is a struggle and a grid and wants to be a part of that without hesitation.

11. What is unique about your business? – Our products! We take products that people are passionate about (spirits – vodka, gin, bourbon) and have been drinking for a long time and make them personal. Rather than continuing to buy a spirit that’s cranked out of a giant factory, they now have an option that’s created from scratch, with care in their own city.

12. What are your responsibilities as the business owner? – Since we’re just getting started, we wear pretty much every hat at one time or another. Production, compliance, marketing, accounting, PR, hiring, tasting room staff…we do it all at one time or another.

Doc Porter’s Distillery is conveniently located along 232 East Peterson Dr. in Charlotte. You can take a 40 to 45 minute tour to learn all about vodka, gin and bourbon.  Andrew & Liz Porter clearly love what they do and they are very passionate about the craft.

You can reach us at (704) 266-1399 or you can visit our webpage here

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