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Alcohol manufacturer plans to locate in city
Cumming council amends ordinance to allow permit
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Forsyth County News

Cumming may soon be home to an alcohol manufacturer.

During its regular meeting Tuesday night, members of the city council unanimously approved amending the municipal alcohol ordinance to allow for manufacturers and distillers.

Dana Miles, the city’s attorney, explained that the changes would allow the city to issue permits to manufacture alcohol in certain areas.

“In a nutshell, this proposed ordinance … amends various different provisions of your existing alcohol ordinance … to allow the manufacturing within the city limits of alcoholic beverages set forth in certain areas as set forth by state law,” Miles said.

“If you manufacture it, you can’t sell it where you manufacture it. It’s shipped from there to a distributor — and there’s a limited number, I think only eight or 10 distributors in the state of Georgia — and from there to retailers.”

After approval of the ordinance change, the councilmen also voted unanimously to give approval to the first business seeking a distiller’s permit, Spirits USA LLC.

Scott Burgess, a city employee who presented the application, said nothing was found in the background check to preclude it.

Mayor H. Ford Gravitt said the company plans to hire primarily veterans.

“I had a meeting with their attorney and that’s what they alluded to me was that veterans would be their first choice to hire,” Gravitt said. “I love that part of it.”

Ethan Underwood, the attorney representing Spirits USA, was present at Tuesday’s meeting but did not have to provide council with any information about the business.

On Wednesday, he said Spirits USA is considering a location within the city limits, but could not specify where.

He added that alcohol manufacturers must also receive state and federal approval before beginning operations. As a result, Underwood wasn’t sure when the facility would move to Cumming.

“We are working with them now that we’ve got the city license … to acquire all the other approvals from the federal and state governments,” said Underwood, noting that the business currently operates outside of Georgia.

“They’re going to initially move their bottling operations to Cumming and then, over a period of about nine to 12 months, move the distilling operation here as well,” Underwood said. “They have a special focus on making sure that they provide distributorships to veterans to help them set up businesses.”

Underwood said Spirits USA could eventually bring more than 50 new jobs to Cumming.

“The goal is initially there will be about 10 folks working at the bottler and within four to five years, they should be employing approximately 60 people,” he said.