Port Chilkoot Distillery, inspired by the rustic setting of Southeast Alaska, is a labor of love for owners Heather Shade and Sean Copeland. The distillery, located in Haines, Alaska, is Southeast Alaska’s first distillery and is primarily producing whiskey, gin and vodka. Shade and Copeland began to work long distance with the Alaska Small Business Development Center in Juneau as they planned to open the distillery and have continued to work with the SBDC as they grow the business.
Before launching, Ian Grant worked with Shade and Copeland on their business plan and financial projections. They were able to use this information to obtain a grant from the Alaska Historical Society which was used to restore the former Fort Seward Bakery, built in 1904, in which they housed the distillery. They also used the plan to obtain additional financing to cover the costs of the equipment. Now that they have three years of business under their belt, Shade and Copeland are working with Grant on expansion ideas and to update their plan for submission to the Path to Prosperity Business Plan Competition.
“The guidance and support we received from SBDC kept us on the right path when there were so many decisions to make for our new business” said Shade, “Ian worked with us throughout our start-up and helped us plan for the unique challenges of building a small-scale manufacturing business in rural Southeast Alaska”.
Port Chilkoot Distillery is now up and running and a hot spot for tourists who come to Haines via the cruise ships. Not only are they producing spirits, but offering tours of their facility and operations as well as a tasting room. You can visit them online at http://www.portchilkootdistillery.com/ or keep up with them on Facebook here.