Christmas City Spirits, LLC / Tavern at the Sun Inn / The Sun Inn- The Making of a Complex Cocktail

Sometimes Making a great cocktail can be complex. Our story is no different. But if there is one thing that we can say it’s, “We are ready.” It’s been a long four years of planning, prepping, gathering, researching, building, you name it. It seems surreal to think we are within a couple months of actually distilling and not just talking about it or planning for it. So what does our opening mean? Where is it? What are we making? How do I get it? All questions will be answered but let’s take a look first at what is where. 

The Sun Inn

It is apparent to us that our complex of businesses is, well, complex. We are at the Historic Sun Inn, which is a museum, restaurant and an almost distillery tasting room. Does one go with the other? Who runs what? It’s often hard to distinguish from the outside what we are. Let’s clear things up and go through what actually has happened to get us where we are and discuss our vision. 

So now that the distillery is almost complete here’s what to expect:

Christmas City Spirits, LLC (the company) will be be operating our distillery/restaurant, Tavern at the Sun Inn, on the second floor, rathskeller basement and patio of the Sun Inn. Christmas City Spirits (the distillery), is where we will manufacture spirits in Hanover Township. This will not be open to the public. We will serve our spirits and have bottle sales inside the Sun Inn as an integrated distillery/restaurant experience which is Tavern at the Sun Inn. The Sun Inn Preservation Association will maintain the museum on the first floor.

If you care to know how we got to where we are today, here ya go:

Starting as a micro-distillery project in 2015, our intent was to put a small micro distillery into the Historic Sun Inn in downtown Bethlehem. Prior to our arrival, the Sun Inn Preservation Association (SIPA) had only a museum on the first floor that was open for a couple of hours on the weekend. There had been a couple restaurant attempts smattered across the not so recent history as well. We wanted to open up a distillery in the basement and a tasting room on the second floor, leaving the museum for SIPA to manage as they had. So we signed a lease and applied for the proper state and federal permits.  After having the Trade and Taxation Bureau, who issues federal permits to distill ethyl alcohol, sit on our application for over 15 months we were in full planning mode for the sister project of a restaurant to go with the distillery. It became quite clear that our initial idea would not fly with the restaurant in operation. There was just no where to put it. So the restaurant opened December 8th of 2016 with no distillery component.

We were forced to move to what was our original growth plan: maximize what we could do at the Inn, move offsite and then bring in the restaurant component. It was in retrospect a blessing in disguise, as it gave us so much more time to become better in every aspect of the business. In mid/late 2016, an exhaustive search for a suitable manufacturing facility property began. Early in 2017, we found something in Hanover Township, Bethlehem about 4 miles North of the Inn that we thought would be perfect. We settled on a buying agreement, went through zoning and licensing, filed for permits and that process which took a little over a year resulted in construction starting in July of 2018 and is wrapping up as this is written (Dec 2018).

Now that we are coming close to our full concept we will be doing our best, as we have, to one, keep getting better everyday, and two, make a more cohesive and unified experience that you will surely enjoy. Thank you to those that have been with us from the beginning. Your comments, critiques, continued support are what help us to achieve these goals.