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Las Vegas Valley Welcomes First Distillery | Business

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Las Vegas Valley Welcomes First Distillery
Las Vegas Valley Welcomes First Distillery

Ribbon will be cut Friday for Nevada's first distillery. The Las Vegas Distillery opens its doors at 11:30 a.m. The distillery is in Henderson near Warm Springs Road and U.S. 95 close to the Galleria Mall.

Visitors will get a chance to tour the facility and see how spirits are made. They'll also get a look at the copper pots, dubbed the Las Vegas Copper Angels, being used to make the state's first bourbon. Everybody at the ribbon cutting will be able to bottle Nevada Vodka made with wheat grown at Winnemucca Farms. They'll also be among the first 111 Vegas Whiskey Founders.

"First, everybody thought this is a brewery. No, this is a distillery. We'd like to manufacture the first whiskeys and bourbons, vodka and gin," said distillery owner George Racz.

Already, bottles of the first vodka stand ready to head to local distributors. The Henderson Chamber of Commerce is holding up Las Vegas Distillery as the city's best example of small business entrepreneurship.

"They're going to start hiring people slowly as they go along," said Dianna Fyke, Henderson Chamber of Commerce. "They've got a great idea of distilling and making whiskey in Henderson and distributing. They're using products of Nevada."

Because the distillery is the first in the state, there is much unwritten law when it comes to these kinds of businesses.

Assembly Bill 542 would have allowed distilleries to hold tastings and sell bottles on site. "It looked great. The bill passed the Assembly unanimously, but I think arrived too late to the Senate," said Racz. "We were very sad."

From fermenters to pot stills, the machinery of distilling is in place. Racz says he has the will to turn his immigrant dreams to reality in Nevada.

"My grandfather in Transylvania opened a small pot still and he made different spirits," said Racz. "We barreled our first ones. We were so proud, I have to tell you. It's a big thing for a small family."

Las Vegas Distillery hopes to get out its first 100 bottle of Nevada vodka to local distributors. They will be carried first at various southern Nevada restaurants.

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