Fox Trail Distillery
For a building that started out on another site, a different size, and prohibited from serving cocktails, this project is proof that good things come with time. As Northwest Arkansas’s first distillery, the design had to be right. From the building concept and interior planning to the customer experience – every detail was thoughtfully composed.
The building’s design and materials offer a playful, yet refined composition that celebrates the whiskey barrel people so often adore. In form, the extruded 2-story volume creates hierarchy, while providing the required clearances for tanks, pot stills, and overhead systems inside. The push and pull of the wood plank elevation creates a ribbon effect, drawing the eye to the front door and patio. A sleek perforated panel interjects the field of wood, chasing the wooden ribbon to the edge of the building. This panel also acts as a backdrop for back-lit signage. A simple gridded metal panel covers the remaining 3 sides of the building and visually anchors the dramatic design of the front façade. Dark bronze storefront provides transparency to the interior. Parking for food trucks adjacent to the patio provides sustenance for guests, while overhead heaters and fans tucked in the structure above allows extended seasonal use. A smaller fenced patio creates an opportunity for a VIP experience within the large, high-spirited patio. By opening the “hidden” wood gate and the fully retractable glass wall, it connects indoor to outdoor for all patrons. A metal drink rail lends to a casual vibe.
A pair of 10-ft tall custom woven metal doors welcome guests to the tasting room. Sightlines of the bar orient you in the space, while curved, cozy banquettes and casual seating groups allow your eye to wander. A solitary pendant hangs in each cocoon and casts interesting shadows on the wall. A laser-cut felt acoustic wall provides visual interest and acoustical support in a space filled with hard surfaces and lively chatter. The sleek bar is made of quartz for its sophisticated look and durability. Smoked mirrors along the back wall reflect the movements of bartenders and customers alike with a 360 view of the hand-crafted liquor bottles on floating glass shelves. The dark, moody atmosphere is meant to act as a backdrop to the artisan craft cocktails. These are art in and of themselves. A color palette of charcoal, black, and deep green complement the beautiful colors of the drinks. This creates an intimate setting to drink and converse.
Start-to-finish products of the latest creations are sipped in the Lab before going wholesale. Every visit to the distillery gives customers an opportunity to tour production. Onlookers get a glimpse of the distillery’s scale and intricacies from a peek-a-boo window. It’s here where the head distiller directs the system and begins the production schedule.
Be Merry (Bottle)
This project has been a labor of love and work of heart. The back-of-house involved meticulous coordination between owner, vendors, architect, and contractor. It was at times tedious, the equipment’s capacity remarkable and challenging. Yet the enthusiasm of making whiskey was the motivation that made the spaces so rewarding.
Fox Trail Distillery is now open for business. Check it out and have a drink. Cheers!