Smyrna’s Painted Stave owners in high spirits over expansion

Artist rendering of proposed cocktail garden Painted Stave plans on adding to their distillery by next spring.

SMYRNA — Painted Stave Distilling became a favorite new business success story in Smyrna when it moved into the building on West Commerce Street originally built as a first-run movie theater in 1948. From 1975 to 2007, it was run as a plumbing supply store. Afterward, the building sat empty for a few years.

“It needed a lot of work, but the town was active in trying to find the right business to move in here with the challenges that it presented,” said Ron Gomes, who co-owns Painted Stave Distilling with Mike Rasmussen. “They didn’t want to knock it down.”

After some preliminary talks, Mr. Gomes and Mr. Rasmussen were convinced to locate their distillery in the old building after some extensive renovations about three years ago. Mr. Rasmussen noted that from the beginning, they’ve felt like they could count on the town for assistance in operating the business.

The duo announced late last month that a planning and permitting process that has taken over a year, will soon result in a new 4,800-square-foot building for aging/warehousing whiskey and an outdoor cocktail garden at their location on 106 Commerce St.. Mr. Gomes noted that they broke ground and began grading the property for the two additions last week.

“We’re hoping to complete the warehouse by February and the cocktail garden sometime afterward with the intention to open it in the spring,” said Mr. Gomes.

Painted Stave owners, Ron Gomes, right, and Mike Rasmussen in Smyrna.
(Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

The new warehouse will allow the distillery to make room by transferring over 100 stored barrels and raise its maximum storage capacity to about 2,500 barrels. But, Mr. Gomes said it would take a long time before they filled that capacity.

“We’ve been able to double our production in a year which has been really great,” he said. “But to give you an idea about where our production is right now, we’re shooting to fill 108 barrels in 2018.”


The expansion project is estimated to cost around $200,000 total, but Mr. Gomes said they’re pursuing creative channels to fund it. The town of Smyrna recently worked alongside the distillery to have the Downtown Development District lines redrawn to include Painted Stave, and several other nearby businesses, so they can make use of state grant funds.

“That’s a reimbursement program so we’ll be applying for that after all the work is done,” said Mr. Gomes. “If it’s accepted, we could get up to 20 percent of the project paid for.”

The distillery will also be launching an Indiegogo (a crowd-funding platform) campaign soon with the hopes of raising an additional $50,000 for the construction.

“We’ve been putting together a great video for the campaign and we’re excited because we’ve already gotten a lot of positive feedback, so we think it’s going to go well,” said Mr. Gomes.

For more information on the project, search “Painted Stave’s Indiegogo Campaign” on Facebook.

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