OGDEN — The walls have started rising at the planned new site of Ogden’s Own Distillery, a big step forward in completion of the new facility that will house the vodka and distilled spirits maker.
“We’re at a point where we are growing and this is just the next natural phase for us,” said Steve Conlin, the Ogden’s Own managing partner.
Thursday’s action also underscores the notable advances in redevelopment of the broader 30-acre zone around the new Ogden’s Own plant, dubbed Ogden Business Exchange but once a cattle stockyard. The new facility housing EnableUtah, which provides employment and job training for the disabled, is quickly rising just to the east of Ogden’s Own and the Ogden Business Exchange developer, Blue Ox Development, is in talks to sell three parcels yet to be developed.
Enve Composites and Selle Royal Co., which make high-end bicycle components, are already operating inside the business park, while Roosters Brewing Co. opened a new beer-making facility and bar at a location nearby last December.
“It has been a neglected area for a long time. Neglected, blighted, a place was overrun by vagrants, homeless folks for a long time,” said Blue Ox Project Manager Marty McFadden, who attended Thursday’s wall-raising, which drew a contingent from the Ogden-Weber Chamber of Commerce and other well-wishers.
Now, though, McFadden said that Ogden Business Exchange is regarded as one of the “hippest” new business parks in the state. East across the nearby Weber River sits the former Swift meatpacking plant, a long-time eyesore that’s to be torn down so the site can be redeveloped by Atwater Infrastructure Partners into a manufacturing plant for the aerospace and military industries.
Ogden’s Own is now located at 3075 Grant Ave. in Ogden but as it sells more and jockeys to get even bigger, it needs more space. The current facility near the city center measures about 6,800 square feet while the new Ogden Business Exchange location at 615 W. Stockman Way in west Ogden will measure 32,000 square feet. It’s tentatively to be completed by next February.
“We’re basically growing out of the current facility. We have future plans for adding production,” said Conlin.
Aside from production facilities, the new location will have a bar, meant as a tasting room for Ogden’s Own products, which include Five Wives vodka, various whiskey liqueurs and Madam Pattirini Gin. It will also house a retail outlet for Ogden’s Own products and an amphitheater. “We’ll do some one-off events, concerts and such and hopefully develop a concert series down the road,” Conlin said.
HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF CASES
Work started last July and the concrete foundation for the new Ogden’s Own building was already in place. On Thursday, crews started installing the 27-foot by 35-foot concrete slabs, weighing about 100,000 pounds each, that will serve as exterior walls. The first went in around 8:30 a.m. and 20 were up by around 3 p.m., encircling much of the building site.
The project has a price tag of around $4 million and the company is simultaneously wrapping up an online crowdfunding campaign to generate investment income. That effort had generated about $1.85 million, with the funds to be put toward marketing efforts to boost sales of Ogden’s Own products outside Utah around the Southwest.
Sales so far this year, Conlin said, are 30% up compared to the same period last year. Production of late has totaled around 17,000 cases of liquor products per year while Conlin hopes to boost that to the “hundreds of thousands” of cases range in the next three to five years. Sales totaled $2.25 million in 2018, according to company figures, with nearly $550,000 in profits.
“We’re 10 years old at this point so we’re a pretty well-known brand,” Conlin said.
Promotional materials related to the crowdfunding campaign hint at the possibility of an acquisition of Ogden’s Own by another firm. Such considerations are typical as liquor producers grow, Conlin said. The plan for now, though, “is to just keep doing what we do and keep growing as fast as we can in a responsible way.”
Tom Christopulos, the Ogden community and economic development director, lauded the Ogden’s Own expansion. “It’s great to see that a local company that started here is expanding and developing and moving forward,” he said.
More generally, Ogden Business Exchange plans have “gone pretty much according to our expected development schedule,” he said. The old brick Ogden Exchange building, which served as the headquarters of the stockyard when it operated, sits east of the Ogden’s Own site and McFadden said plans are afoot to renovate that historic structure.
More broadly, the Ogden Business Exchange area where Ogden’s Own is taking shape is part of a larger 122-acre sector in west Ogden the city of Ogden is pushing to develop, the Trackline Economic Development Project area.