Opening of a modern art distillery in Chamblee
Additionally, the Distillery’s Rothko Room is a 2,800 square foot event space and 90% of the building’s lighting is LED.
A tour of the distillery takes guests through the stages of making spirits, including malting, grinding, brewing, fermentation and distillation.
The beans arrive whole at the distillery and all the grinding is done in-house. Tour guests get a view of Chief Distiller Matt Greif’s lab and work in progress, such as his digestion trials and orange liqueur. At his old distillery, Greif made everything from gin to whiskey, and he’s finishing a master’s degree in distillation.
Watson said “each fixture has been designed specifically to draw your eyes in a certain direction”, interacting with the custom floor finish and the use of glass throughout.
For Watson, “art is an intertwined element of business that we really want to represent in a good exchange.”
As you enter the art gallery, tubes filled with color lead the way through a bottle-shaped curtain. The artworks “are all hung at different heights to be playful and create shadows,” Watson said, and a side mirror looks into Greif’s lab. Bottles of different shades of brown and orange show his experiments using different sugars.
The artists in residence – there are currently two – pay no commission to exhibit and sell their work. “Giving back to the artist community is our path, and I hope we represent that well at the distillery,” Watson said.
The shape of the bottle label and the logo imitate the design of the building. The digitized art for the labels is printed on canvas, to simulate the 40 inch by 40 inch abstract pieces. In this way, as the bottle empties, the art appears.
The square bottle is sturdy and sits easily in a well, with an easy-grip neck for a bartender.
“It’s important to know what it looks like on a shelf,” Watson said. “The rear bars are notoriously poorly lit.”
The cocktails served at the distillery are made only with its own alcohols. “It’s one of the trickiest things when it comes to offering drinks,” said Jeff Banks, consultant and owner of neighboring King Cube. “We can’t use anything that’s not homemade — no Campari, no vermouth.
“We leaned into more classic cocktails and try to give customers things that are familiar to them,” he said.
There’s a creative margarita, made with the distillery’s Atlanta vodka, green pepper syrup and fermented pineapple. The chai latte is close to an espresso martini, with chai-infused oat milk and vodka. Coming is a New York sour made with whiskey from the distillery, black pepper, lemon and a morello cherry juice floater.
General manager Henry Rosenbaum, who moved to Atlanta from Denver to implement Watson’s vision, said it was important that the cocktails and elevated bar snack menu showcase local producers.
Distillery of Modern Art’s vodka tonic is made with local 18.21 tonic syrup, tonic and blue pea flower from Chamblee’s Zen Tea, poured over a large block of King Cube ice and topped with Pinewood viola flowers Springs Farm. Eventually, the herbs used at the distillery will come from an on-site garden.
Additionally, Jardi chocolates from Chamblee are available for dessert, and Rosenbaum can often be found in the kitchen, assembling charcuterie boards with produce from Atlanta’s Spotted Trotter. “We are fussy about doing whatever we can on our own,” he said.
Distillery of Modern Art currently bottles Atlanta Vodka, Peach Vodka, and Amaro Peach. Gin will be launched soon. Bourbon, rye whiskey and corn whiskey created before the distillery was operational are served at the bar. Plans call for the same recipes to be distilled on site and aged in the sunlit barrel storage room.
“We take the term ‘craft distilling’ seriously,” Rosenbaum said. “We want our whiskey to be our whiskey, and it will be in a few years.
2197 Irvindale Road, Chamblee. 404-482-2663, distilleryofmodernart.com
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