Business of the Year: Flagler Spirits, the backyard liquor

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  • | 5:00 a.m. November 4, 2013
Jimmy Day, owner of Flagler Spirits PHOTOS BY SHANNA FORTIER
Jimmy Day, owner of Flagler Spirits PHOTOS BY SHANNA FORTIER
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Flagler Spirits
Owner: Jimmy Day
15 Hargrove Grade, Unit 2E

When Jimmy Day started his distillery, Flagler Spirits, there was no specific need to be filled in the community. He said that the big box stores already filled the average person's needs for liquor need in Flagler County. Instead, he created his own demand.

He said there is a difference in what he makes in small batches at his Hargrove Grade distillery and what the corporate distilleries produce.

Day uses a hamburger analogy to explain why his product is successful.

“The backyard hamburger is a lot better than a McDonald’s hamburger,” he said. “We’re backyard liquor.”

An important part of Day’s process is being close to where the product comes from: potatoes for vodka, corn for whiskey. Not to mention that there has been a moonshine boom since Flagler Spirits opened.

“We’ve been lucky,” Day said. “There’s the naughty image involved in (moonshine), but it’s how drinking used to be done.”

The number of distilleries in the U.S. grew from about 40 in 1990 to the upper end of 300 now. And that is where an unanticipated part of Flagler Spirits’ business model came into play.

“Most of those 300 were people who throw millions at a distillery; they just assume they’ll pick it up immediately,” Day said. “Six months later, they are making stuff that’s still not drinkable.”

That’s where Day and Flagler Spirits come into play; they started selling to the small distilleries.

“I look at the inside of a still, not the outside,” Day said.

BOX: Why Flagler Spirits is the Business of the Year

Tripled production and revenue in the past year.

Moved into a larger facility.

Won awards at industry convention: two bronze, two silver, five Best in Category Awards.

Uses local materials — even if it might cost more.

Distributes products in 28 states and has just been approved to distribute internationally.

Does not harvest living oak trees — only fallen ones to have minimal environmental impact.

Reduced water discharge by 50% by investing in production methods.


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