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Company plans Memphis distillery

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A Memphis business is planning to revive a century-old brand at a distillery that will make whiskey and other spirits.

D. Canale & Co. will open Old Dominick Distillery in a converted industrial warehouse, The Commercial Appeal (http://bit.ly/1m42TYf) reported.

It will be at least the second Shelby County distillery and third in West Tennessee since a 2009 state law change smoothed the way for micro-distilleries.

D. Canale President Chris Canale said the company will invest about $5 million in getting the downtown distillery up and running in the vacant former Memphis Machinery and Supply Co. building. D. Canale bought the building for $785,000 on Friday.

Plans include a tasting room and gift shop, and Canale expects it to draw tens of thousands of visitors a year.

Canale wants to begin operations in late summer 2015 and open for tours in early fall of 2015.

He expects to employ 25 to 30 people manufacturing and bottling Tennessee whiskey, vodka and other spirits and giving tours of the facility.

Old Dominick is a D. Canale private label liquor brand that all but disappeared with Prohibition in the early 20th century.

Canale's great, great-grandfather, Dominick Canale, an immigrant from Genoa, Italy, formally organized a wholesale produce business in 1866 and later diversified into liquor, bottling spirits bought from distilleries elsewhere in Tennessee and Kentucky.

D. Canale switched to beer wholesaling after Prohibition and ran an Anheuser-Busch distributorship until 2010, when it was sold.

The Canales believe the distillery can ride the growing popularity of premium, small-batch liquors and tap into increasing demand for Tennessee whiskey, which grew sales by 10 percent last year. They've got generations of know-how in sales, marketing and distribution.

"We've been in business more than 140 years," Chris Canale said. "We know the alcoholic beverage business very well. It's our story, our product, our family. Rather than selling the brand, we decided we were going to do it ourselves."

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Information from: The Commercial Appeal, http://www.commercialappeal.com

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