The 619 Distillery & Tasting Room will have two primary sources of revenue: food and beverage sales from the tasting room and restaurant as well as product, tour and event sales from the distillery.
Tasting Room & Restaurant
Located in its own freestanding building at the front of the property, the Distilery & Tasting Room will be a unique addition to the already venerable dining core of North Park along 30th Street.
A robust cocktail program will highlight 15-20 core cocktails as well as a menu of 15-20 constantly evolving creations based on Six One Nine's signature infusions. A menu of refined classics inspired by local ingredients – think Carnitas Tacos, Pork Chops and Burgers – influenced by the diversity of the region will complement the beverage program. Unique incorporations of made on site spirits, such as fettucine pasta with house made Six One Nine vodka sauce, will also be available. The 619 Tasting Room will also be the only bar in San Diego to serve every craft spirit made by every craft distillery in Southern California.
More than just a nightlife destination, the tasting room and restaurant will be open for weekday lunch and weekend brunch, open from 11 am to 11 pm during the week and 11 am to 2 am on weekends. The 619 team is currently exploring unique technological integrations that will allow guests to order and potentially pay from tablets on each table.
The interior of 619's Tasting Room and Restaurant will be urban and industrial yet warm and inviting, keeping in line with the aesthetic of a functional distillery. The bar – a focal point for the tasting room and restaurant area – is being custom fabricated out of repurposed pallet racks, and a more urban approach to a living wall is in the works for the back patio, incorporating rebar and other rugged elements.
Restaurant guests will also have the unique advantage of being able to purchase their favorite spirits from the bar in bottles to take home.
The North Park distillery for 619 will allow consumers to experience a behind-the-scenes look at the production of Six One Nine's entire product line, including its signature handcrafted infusions.
Six One Nine Vodka's award-winning spirits have garnered the following recognition:
- 2015 Gold Medal – International Craft Spirits Awards
- 2013 Gold Medal – San Diego Spirits Festival
- 2013 Gold Medal – Beverly Hills Spirits Awards
- 2013 Gold Medal – International Craft Spirits Awards
- 2012 Silver Medal – SIP Awards
Unlike traditional flavored vodkas, which use syrups and other artificial ingredients to provide taste and color, 619's infusions are all made using whole ingredients – mostly sourced from San Diego. Ingredients added to spirits are subject to a lengthy approval process by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, so 619 submitted several thousand possible flavor combinations up front: this will allow seasonal fusion ideas to go from concept to bottle in 4-6 weeks instead of the usual six months.
The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States defines small distillers as those producing under 100,000 nine-liter cases a year. In 2003, there were 60 craft distillers in the United States, today there are over 1,000. The American Distilling Institute estimates current growth in the craft spirits category at around 30 percent; analysts believe market share could hit 8 percent by 2020 (Market Watch).
According to analysts at BNP Paribas, whiskey represents 37 percent of all craft labels in the U.S., followed by gin at 13 percent, vodka at 12 percent and rum at 10 percent. Craft vodka represents a substantial growth opportunity: in 2016, 69.8 million 9-liter cases of vodka were sold in the United States generating $5.8 billion in revenue for distillers and accounting for 32% of all spirits volume in the country. Within the vodka category, the most significant levels of growth from 2015-2016 were in the super premium, high end premium and premium categories. Flavored vodkas continue to be extremely popular, accounting for 22% of all vodkas sold in the U.S. (DISCUS).
Growth in craft distilling closely follows increased interest from consumers across the United States in supporting all things artisanal and local. According to a 2016 Travelocity poll, over 80% of Americans prefer to shop and buy local, all things being equal, and according to a 2015 Consumer Reports survey, almost 8 in 10 Americans would rather buy an American-made product than an imported one (Distilling.com, Consumer Reports).
Americans also love to support local businesses when they travel, seizing opportunities to engage with local food and beverage purveyors to learn about specific local offerings. Distillery tourism is on the rise, with Travelocity reporting a 150% increase in booking of experiences related to beer, wine, spirits and cooking in 2016 (Distilling.com)
619 will capitalize in San Diego's robust tourism market and consumer interest in craft spirits through the sales of distillery tours and branded merchandise including apparel, barware, cocktail kits, homemade bitters and more.
To heighten brand engagement levels among San Diego residents, 619 will have a regular calendar of event programming including multi-course tasting dinners and release parties for special products. Having a vertically integrated production and sales operation will allow 619 to frequently release special edition products in extremely limited quantities that otherwise wouldn't make it to retail shelves.