If economic and legal conditions allow, TahWahKaro Distilling Company of Grapevine is seeking to relocate to Palestine’s former Coors plant at 100 N. Church St.
TahWahKaro will present its plans at a special council meeting Monday, but have already been working with the Palestine Economic Development Corporation to move its business into the former brewery and relocate its operations to Palestine.
PEDC Director Lisa Denton said the company is still in the “feasibility stage” of determining its total capital investment and other factors that could contribute to the company’s decision to move.
The outcome of the November special election, which the council approves this month, will affect the company’s decision. Voters will decide to amend the city charter to allow alcohol sales at the former Coors plant and the adjacent Palestine Senior Center.
Justin Jackson introduced his company to the city council via Zoom at Monday’s meeting. Jackson has co-owned the company with his three brothers since 2016.
The company likes the property because it’s connected to a large open area that can allow entertainment on an outdoor stage. The company also wants to give tours and product tastings on the site.
“When we found the Coors building, we got really excited about it because it seems to really fit what we want to do,” Jackson said. “We want to have an event space. We want to have a lot of tours and a lot of people coming through.”
Loosely translated, TahWahKaro means “bend in the river” in the Caddo Indian language.
“It’s about being and getting outside and enjoying the environment that you’re in,” Jackson said.
Denton said TahWahKaro’s owners made their first site visit at the former plant in May. Their reasons for relocating include increased production and business opportunities.
“They’ve been looking in East Texas for quite some time,” she said.
Denton, who has 16 years of experience in economic development in East Texas, said the project is unique because it offers opportunities for local manufacturing and tourism.
“I think there’s some excitement that everyone feels about this project,” Denton said. They want to be part of the community and become an entertainment venue. [This project] is so unique with the tasting room and the tourism component.”
TaWahKaro won two gold medals at the 2020 SIP Awards for two products, Cask Strength Straight Bourbon and Texas Rye Malt Whiskey. The family-owned business describes itself as a small “grain to glass” distillery, and is part of the Texas Whiskey Trail, which could draw more tourists to Palestine.
Giglio Distributing Company used the former Coors plant as a warehouse until 2018, when the company moved its 70 employees to a larger facility in Tyler.
City council members welcomed Jackson and said they are looking forward to hearing more about the company’s plans in the coming weeks.