An amendment to Casper’s liquor ordinance that would allow distillery satellite tasting rooms in the city is up for vote Tuesday — and at least one local business is hoping it will pass.
Backwards Distilling Company, a Mills establishment that produces gin, rum, vodka and moonshine, wants to expand by opening a satellite tasting room in Casper, according to Amber Pollock, who co-owns the business with her parents and brother.
“We are still in the early stages of planning because we’re waiting to see what the city of Casper does,” she said.
Pollock said the Mills location, which has a distillery and tasting room, doesn’t bring in any foot traffic.
“People have to mean to come there,” she said. “We are trying to get more visibility.”
The Pollocks recently approached city officials with their idea, which received an enthused response. The City Council had no objections when the issue was brought up by City Attorney John Henley at a work session last month.
Henley said Monday that it was a straightforward request.
“Backwards has been established in this county and this community for a number of years and has been successful,” he said. “So when they requested the possibly of expanding the (liquor) ordinance, it seemed like that would be something the Council would want to know about and likely approve.”
A distillery satellite tasting room is similar to a bar, except the only alcohol that can be sold must be produced by the owners. Offering another type of liquor license might be advantageous to business owners, as the regular bar licenses are competitive and likely more costly, Henley said.
The city attorney said this potential new option would be a better fit for entrepreneurs who are only interested in expanding their brand and products.
Although other distilleries may be interested, Henley said Backwards Distilling Company is the only business that has approached city officials about the idea.
A satellite permit would only allow the holder to open one satellite location within Wyoming separate from its manufacturing site. The permit also allows holders to give out free samples of up to 1 1/2 ounces, up to 3 ounces per customer per day, according to a memo from Henley to City Manager Carter Napier.
The permits would apply to those who produce distilled spirits, not wine or beer.
Pollock said she hopes to have the opportunity to share the company’s alcohol with a wider base of customers. Backwards sells made-from-scratch products, she said, and uses mostly locally grown ingredients, like sugar from Wyoming’s beets.
“We appreciate the Mills community and the Casper community and all the folks who have supported us for far,” she said. “We hope that the City Council will approve this concept so we can hopefully get our brand in front of more people and continue to grow as a company.”
Community members will have the opportunity this week to weigh in on whether the city should approve the amendment. A public hearing will be held at the City Council’s Tuesday meeting prior to the vote.
The measure must pass three rounds of voting to take effect.