Photographer Trey Allen doesn’t intend to give up his day job, but he says he has to reinvent himself.
The owner of Trey Allen Photography says photographic competition is so fierce these days that he’s diversifying into the distillery business.
Allen plans to open Buckskin Artisan Distilling, though he hasn’t finalized plans for a site yet.
“The process of getting this business going is very slow and long,” Allen says.
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“It’ll probably be, I don’t know, Christmas-ish before we could even open, and that’s considering the state and the feds approve all of the stuff they’ve got to approve,” he says. “It’s a snail’s pace cruising forward, but it is moving forward.”
Ideally, Allen wants someplace highly visible.
“I don’t want to be stuffed back in a warehouse in some cruddy area,” he says. “I want it to be something pretty that people want to visit.”
Allen says he wants Buckskin to be a source of jobs and fun. He plans white rums and vodka in the first year along with a possible white whiskey and a Ruthless Root Beer, which will be similar to schnapps but much more potent.
In a couple of years, Allen says he’ll do whiskey and dark rums for a total of nine to 12 products.
Allen says he has an architect working on drawings, but finding the right place is tricky.
“A lot of the … places we’ve looked at, they’ve so stuck off … the beaten path, it wouldn’t be a destination that people would want to go to.”
Allen says the list of potential sites is shorter than it would be for other businesses.
“Distilleries are one of the most highly regulated businesses.”
Allen says he’s been in the photography business for 32 years, and a lot has changed in that time.
“Nineteen professional studios no longer exist in this city anymore,” he says. “Everyone and their dog seems to think they’re a photographer anymore.”
Allen says someone can buy the same camera he uses but that “that doesn’t mean you’re a photographer.”
“I’m actually competing against flippin’ giggles and their cell phones,” he says of girls who flip their hair, giggle and take photos with their phones.
Allen says he envisions the distillery as a secondary business, at least for now.
“I’m still going to do the photography where I can, when I can, but I can’t rely on that to be my main source of income anymore.”