Vermont Business Magazine Middlebury-based Stonecutter Spirits announced Tuesday that they will close Highball Social, their bar & restaurant in Burlington, and their tasting room in Middlebury at the end of 2019. The company will continue sales to liquor stores, bars, and restaurants throughout Vermont. However, it no longer is producing its award-winning spirits.
Middlebury Tasting Room. Courtesy photo. stonecutterspirits.com
“We are so grateful for the strong support that our community has shown us since we opened our doors in 2015. We’re proud to be a part of the Vermont ecosystem, and are excited to host fundraisers, collaborations, and holiday parties to close out this year. While we’re sad to end this chapter, it’s only fitting to spend this time celebrating the people and products that make Vermont outstanding,” said Sas Stewart, the company’s President and Co-Founder.
Stonecutter has built a strong reputation for their aged gin and whiskeys over the years, winning dozens of awards along the way, including top honors at Good Food Awards and the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
The brand is well known for their experiential events and fundraisers, including Adventure Dinners, Secret Bars, and the annual Galentine’s Day Benefit for Addison-County based WomenSafe. Despite industry and customer recognition, the company has been unable to expand into markets outside of Vermont.
“The reality we’ve faced is that everywhere you look, craft spirits is an increasingly crowded marketplace. Our reception locally has been incredible, but we’ve never been able to make inroads into other sales areas. Without achieving broader geographic coverage, we just aren’t strong enough to keep operations going,” added Sivan Cotel, Co-Founder and Director of Operations.
Cotel told VBM on Friday that, “We have ample supply on hand to continue stocking bars, restaurants, and liquor stores for quite some time. Beyond that current supply, it is unlikely that we will do further production.”
As for employment going forward, Cotel said, "We currently have 4 full-time employees and 10 part-time employees, plus Sas and myself (the founders). Following the closing of our retail spaces, I will be the only remaining team member focused on Stonecutter full-time, with some part-time help for existing events/commitments/etc."
The company will be offering free giveaways with every bottle purchased at Highball Social and at the tasting room in Middlebury, and Stonecutter fans are encouraged to visit both locations for cocktails and bottle sales through December. Highball Social will host a packed calendar of events throughout December, including a Repeal Day Party and a Gingerbread House Competition to benefit COTS. At the end of the year, Highball Social will host a New Year’s Eve bash on December 31.
A closing party, which will be the last event, is being planned for Friday, January 3, 2020 at the tasting room in Middlebury
“Sivan and I are so appreciative for the community we have found within Vermont, and the craft spirits world,” Stewart said. “We are both looking forward to continuing those relationships in new forms. But, for the next 30-days, there’s much to celebrate and we hope that people will come toast with us at Highball Social and come cheers us in the Tasting Room.”
ABOUT STONECUTTER SPIRITS
Founded in 2013, Stonecutter Spirits is a craft distillery making thoughtful gin and whiskey on the edge of the mountains in rural Vermont. Stonecutter Spirits offers four bottled products. In 2018, Stonecutter opened Highball Social, a playful cocktail bar in the heart of Vermont’s largest city, Burlington.
The Tasting Room is located at 1197 Exchange St. in Middlebury, VT and online at stonecutterspirits.com. Highball Social is located at 71 S Union St in Burlington, VT and online at highballsocial.com.
Source: MIDDLEBURY, Vt. (December 3, 2019)— Middlebury-based Stonecutter Spirits