Carrie Rengers

New Old Town venue officially opens this weekend

Distillery 244 Old Town event space to open

Steven Wells of Key Construction discusses the kick-off event for the new Distillery 244 Old Town, which happens to be his wedding reception this weekend. Carrie Rengers/The Wichita Eagle
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Steven Wells of Key Construction discusses the kick-off event for the new Distillery 244 Old Town, which happens to be his wedding reception this weekend. Carrie Rengers/The Wichita Eagle

There have been a few preliminary events in the new Distillery 244 Old Town, but the venue officially kicks off this weekend in a very personal way for partner Dave Wells, who is opening the business with Old Town developer Dave Burk and Wheat State Distilling owner David Bahre.

Wells’ son, Steven, and his new wife, Aleigh Pote, are having a wedding reception at the venue.

Pote is going to be general manager of the business, and Steven Wells works for his father’s Key Construction and has helped build the venue in part of the former Doc Howard’s Lounge space at 244 N. Mosley.

The venue side of the business will seat about 500.

Bahre also will have seating for about 200 on the distillery side of the business, which will have a small tasting room and a larger lounge area. The lounge will have a long bar overlooking some of his distilling equipment.

Wheat State produces a variety of liquor, including whiskey, gin and vodka.

“We’re about three weeks out,” Bahre says of opening his space.

He’s still going through permitting with the city.

Construction is about 99 percent complete.

Customers can rent the venue space now, and when the distillery side opens they can rent the entire space.

“I’m as excited or as enthusiastic as I’ve ever been,” Bahre says.

“The demand has just been incredible,” he says. “We’ve been booking constantly.”

In addition to venue bookings, Bahre says he’s been getting a lot of requests to provide contract distilling for other companies.

“We’ve been inundated with calls about that,” he says.

Bahre says part of what will determine when he can open is how quickly he can get people hired to be bartenders, servers and managers.

“We’re hiring for lots of jobs.”

Carrie Rengers: 316-268-6340, @CarrieRengers

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