Long-brewing deal sealed for Spirits Alley space

Long-brewing deal sealed for Spirits Alley space

Michele Ellson
Hangar 1

Alameda Point’s Spirits Alley is about to get a little more spirited. The City Council is poised to grant a lease to New Jersey-based distiller and importer Proximo Spirits for half of a Monarch Street airplane hangar that’s also occupied by a brewery.

Proximo, which purchased Hangar 1 Vodka from the Point-based St. George Spirits in 2010, will take over and triple production of the craft vodka in the new facility. The company also plans to develop a “brand/tourism center” with a tasting room.

The city plans to grant Proximo a 10-year lease for the 32,500-square-foot space in Building 22, with an additional 10-year extension option; rent will range from about $8,200 at the start of the lease to $11,124 during its 10th year. That’s what the company will pay after receiving a $325,000 credit for fixing up its half of the building, the staff report said. Proximo’s Robert Castle told the council that the company plans to spend between $3 million and $5 million to fix up the space. Construction is expected to take six months.

Founded in 2007 by the family that owns Jose Cuervo tequila, Proximo owns more than a dozen spirits brands, including Boodles Gin and Kraken Rum. Castle told the council the company plans to model its Alameda brand center on a similar one erected in Colorado for Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey, one of the importer’s craft brands.

That facility offers tours and merchandise and also, opportunities for volunteers to sign up to help with bottling.

While the move means Proximo will assume production of Hangar 1’s grape-based vodkas, St. George will continue to produce its other spirits and liqueurs, which include gins, single malt whiskey, brandy and absinthe.

A proposed economic development strategy for the Point that was released in 2012 suggested the city seek to expand business sectors that had already settled there, including the food and beverage industries. Proximo will join St. George and Rock Wall Wine Company on Monarch Street, and will be sharing a building – and a view of the Bay – with newly opened Faction Brewing.

The strategy suggested the city would have a hard time attracting tech and other types of business due to Alameda’s lack of direct freeway access and the high cost of renovating space there. It recommended the city market space at the Point more aggressively and cheaply to targeted business sectors.

Council members said they’re excited about Proximo’s arrival, which is expected to bring tax money and a few dozen new jobs to the Island.

“Welcome to Alameda, we are very happy to have you,” Mayor Marie Gilmore said.