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HEALTHCARE SPOTLIGHT

The Dread River Where Spirits, Beer and Wine Flow By Ann B. DeBellis

fore they decided to go forward with the project. With the help of city leaders, including forA new business venture has mer Mayor William Bell, many joined Birmingham’s successbusinesses and government ful craft brewing industry on entities, they got the informathe southside of the city. The tion they needed. They also Dread River Distillery Comreceived advice from Michael pany opened its doors in July as Sellers of Good People Brewthe largest distillery in Alabama. ing Company, Andy Gwaltney The 24,000-square-foot manufacof Cahaba Brewing Company turing facility includes a tasting and Laura and Mudd Newroom, event space that currently man at Queen’s Park. can hold 250 to 400 people, and “The whole industry has a 5,000-square-foot bar where been very gracious and colpatrons can taste the full line of legial,” Dugas says. “The farproducts that will be made and ther we got down the path, distilled in the Magic City. the more exciting it became. I Founding partners Jeffery said at the beginning that if I Dugas, MD, a surgeon and partwas going to do this, I wanted ner with Andrews Sports Medito create something that was cine and Orthopaedic Center, going to compete with the best and John Cubelic, former Auburn there is. I wanted to compete University wide receiver and film with the best Kentucky has to producer, wanted to create a new offer, and I wanted to compete experience for the people of Birwith the best vodkas and the mingham. Cyd Quick is the third best gins. I didn’t want anypartner and serves as Director of body to say it was second rate. Events. The Dread River Distilling Company staff (L to R): Michelle Piechowicz, Carl White, John Cubelic, Dr. Jeff Dugas and Cyd Quick I wanted our products to be “A friend of mine opened a considered at least on par with distillery and rum company about the best that I enjoy drinking.” five years ago on Daufuskie Island in South finding out that Birmingham was one of idea to open one here.” Work on the project began in earCarolina. After spending time there, John the largest cities in the United States that Dugas and Cubelic visited 50 distillnest in 2017, and the partners leased the and I decided to become his brokers in Aldidn’t have a commercial-grade distillery eries throughout the United States in 2016 former Peck and Hills building for the abama,” Dugas says. “Subsequently, after with tours and tastings, we hatched the and 2017 to get ideas and information bedistillery warehouse and event spaces. Through a chance meeting with Troy Ball of Troy and Sons Distillery of Asheville, NC, Dugas and his partners were able to purchase barreled whiskeys, top-of-theline tanks and distilling equipment. The Balls are now partners in the Dread River Distillery. “The Balls led us to the hiring of their “I am thrilled to be at Children’s and UAB and to build on the prior success of the Division of former distiller, Carl White, and beer Adolescent Medicine, a Leadership Education in Adolescent Health program. We are growing brewer Michelle Piechowicz from Doc our research portfolio and actively recruiting a director of research. Additionally, we are expanding our clinical space and faculty to increase our adolescent health services and create Porter’s distillery in Charlotte, NC. At new programs such as care and resources for substance use.” that point, I felt that God was smiling on our project,” Dugas says. “We also hired a CEO, Brian Rodgers, a former member Tamera Coyne-Beasley, MD, MPH, FAAP, FSAHM of the Alabama Beverage Control (ABC) Division Director, UAB Adolescent Medicine board in Montgomery. Prior to working 205.638.9231 www.ChildrensAL.org/adolescent-health-center at ABC, Brian was head chef and director of the beverage program for Five Star Plantation near Montgomery. We are fortunate to have all of these talented people and excellent equipment.” The whiskey that Dread River purchased from the Asheville distiller is Select Blended Whiskey and was made by Troy, Laura McGuinn, MD Charlie and Carl made on the equipDivision Director, UAB Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics ment that Dread River now owns. “It was 205.638.2294 www.ChildrensAL.org/developmental-behavioral-pediatrics sourced from the still we now own, made by our own people, and proofed it with “I’m so excited to join Children’s and UAB with my new colleagues in the Department of Birmingham water. It is now Birmingham Pediatrics and the Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. We will be expanding whiskey,” Dugas says. services for children with developmental disabilities and partnering with Dr. Craig Powell, The Dread River distillers have manchair of Neurobiology, to discover new causes and treatments for children with autism.” ufactured gin, vodka, whiskey and bourbon in Birmingham that are in barrels to

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