P & Z recommends approval for Njoy Spirits special exception use permit change

By Leslie Stein

Njoy Spirits is a family operated Florida Whiskey distillery on 80 acres in the middle of the Chassahowitzka Wildlife Management Area. They purchased their property in 2002 and have had many obstacles in order to produce 3 different award-winning products, all Florida grown. The Wild Buck American Rye Whiskey uses 100% rye whiskey with no artificial flavorings or color. It is aged in custom made charred American oak barrels and allowed to develop in the Florida Climate. The rye grain is grown on the farm using twice filtered rainwater, made one batch at a time, in a hand-hammered copper pot still. The Florida Mermaid Rum is a double gold award winning rum. It is made with Florida sugar cane and is a sipping rum blended with a Caribbean pot still rum and then aged in their Wild Buck Whiskey barrels for 90 days. Another product is their Ryes in Shine Moonshine, which is a 100% farm grain rye straight from the still with nothing added and it is 150 proof.

Njoy Spirits received zoning approval in 2012 for a distillery but did not include a permit petition for events or tours. Due to multiple requests from visitors, the distillery went before the regular meeting of the Planning and Zoning Commission on Feb. 12, 2018. At that time the P & Z Commission recommended approval to hold events and tours, but the final decision will be made by the Board of County Commissioners. Previous issues regarding a viable entrance is no longer a concern as the distillery has a serviceable road which runs through the Chassahowitzka Wildlife Management Area and is approved by the FWC. Visitors do have to pay a user fee of $3.00 p/p or $6 per vehicle.

After speaking with Natalie Joy Goff co-owner of Njoy spirits, she states the distillery is perfect for events such as weddings and birthdays as they have a barn, a tack room and deck. The barn has counter space and a double refrigerator. Plus, there are many locations throughout the property to hold outside events which can accommodate large party tents. During the board meeting commissioner, Dennis Riley questioned the hours of operation for tours and open houses. When speaking with Natalie directly she said parties would most likely be during daylight hours due to the nature of the location of the distillery. Commissioner W. Stephen Hicky questioned the noise that may occur if bands were performed due to the close proximity of the Glen Lakes community. Goff stated that during the ribbon cutting ceremony a band was performing and residents of the Glen Lakes community, that were present at the ceremony, were questioned regarding any noise concern. No complaints were voiced at that time. Goff reminded the board that the property is in the middle of 35,000 acres which acts as a natural sound barrier. Mr. Hicky had no further questions and the board recommended approval of their permit.

After further discussion with Natalie, she did say they are contemplating holding different events such as a Sugar Reef Festival, Love on the Rum Festival and maybe a Christmas event.

For now, tours are available from 11-3 on Saturday and Sunday and by appointment only during the week.

To obtain further information or to schedule a personal tour call 352-595-9622
or visit https://www.wildbuckwhiskey.com/home
13243 Commercial Way (US 19 north)
Brooksville 34614
13243 Commercial Way (US 19 North)
Brooksville, FL 34614

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