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Remedy Distillery in midtown Gainesville is serving up bourbon and whiskey
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Remedy Distillery owners Keith Speed, left, and Ralph Jester have opened the distillery to the public at the Midtown location on Main Street. - photo by Scott Rogers

A new local remedy has filtered into midtown Gainesville, one that sports a golden hue and embraces vanilla and caramel flavors. 

Remedy Distillery, which crafts bourbon and whiskey, quietly opened next door to The Inked Pig off Main Street in November 2020. Since then, Keith Speed, the distillery’s owner, said the business has connected with distributors and modified its 7,000-square-foot space, so that it’s comfortable for patrons. Over the past week, Remedy’s product has made its way to local bars, liquor stores and restaurants like YellowFin, Recess Southern Gastro-Pub and ChopBLOCK Food & Spirits. Thanks to a new distributor, Speed said his core three drinks will soon expand their reach state-wide.

“I want us to become known as a place with good quality bourbon,” Speed said. “Being the best, that doesn’t concern me at all. It just needs to be good.”

When people visit Remedy, they’ll see an outdoor patio and an indoor tasting room that serves cocktails and 2-ounce free samples of whiskey and bourbon. People can also purchase up to three bottles of the distillery’s flagship drinks, which include straight bourbon, apple bourbon and cinnamon whiskey. 

Using his own recipes, Speed said the whiskey and bourbon is made off-site and then brought into the Gainesville distillery where he processes, adds flavoring ingredients and bottles the alcoholic beverages. Once the business gains enough cash flow, Speed said he plans to craft and age the bourbon in his distillery and set up an automated bottling system. 

Remedy Distillery

What: Bourbon and whiskey distillery and tasting room

Where: 885 Main St. SW, Gainesville

Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday

More info:

For now, the business pushes out around 300 bourbon and whiskey bottles a day. With an automated system, Speed said they would be able to finish 30 to 40 bottles per minute. 

Speed said he got his first taste of the distillery business when working for a friend in the industry over four years ago. 

After creating his own recipes and trying them out with friends, Speed said he underwent an 18-month process to open Remedy Distillery in Gainesville. He currently runs the business with his friend Ralph Jester, who manages sales. 

“The past week I’ve been promoting, and our reception has been incredible,” Jester said. 

When customers buy a bottle of Remedy’s bourbon, they’ll notice a label on the back with a handwritten note marking the barrel and bottle number. Although the recipes remain consistent, Jester said the oak barrels used to age the bourbon can impact different notes. 

“Each numbered bottle is an original taste,” Jester said. “If you compare one barrel to another, there’s a different taste because of the way the barrel is charred and how the alcohol adheres to the barrel.”

As with tasting any drink or food, people have different palates. For Speed, he picks up vanilla and caramel when he drinks Remedy’s straight bourbon. This drink in particular, he said has been aged in oak barrels for three to four years and costs $33 a bottle. Over the past several months, he said the straight bourbon has become a favorite of the distillery’s patrons. 

“I don’t think anyone can say they’ve got the best bourbon because everyone’s taste is different,” Speed siad. “I would rather have mine than anyone else’s. You can say I’m biased or partial, but that’s how I truthfully feel.”

For the apple bourbon, which is priced at $30 per bottle, Speed said he used an apple concentrate. Instead of creating an overly sweet, candy-like concoction, he aimed to strike a balance. 

“You’ve got to have the sweetness to bring the apple flavor out, but you don’t want too much sweetness where you lose the bourbon,” he said. “It’s a nice mix.”

For the cinnamon whiskey, priced at $25, Speed said he added cinnamon flavor and granulated sugar to create a clean, crisp taste without a burn or thick, syrupy feel. 

“So many alcohols you drink today, they leave such a tough feeling going down,” Jester said. “Whereas, what Keith has done here, it’s so smooth.”

Speed said the name of his distillery was inspired by the song “Remedy” by The Black Crowes, as well as the Prohibition era. Because people couldn’t legally buy beer from 1920-1933 in the U.S., he said distilleries survived by having their product sold through pharmacies as medicinal tonics or “remedies.” When people visit the distillery, they’ll notice multiple Prohibition era prescriptions framed and on display, near the entrance.

“We’re excited to be here,” Speed said. “It’s quiet where people can talk to each other and they’re not shouting over the noise. We want people to enjoy themselves and relax.”

Remedy is hosting a grand opening from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, April 10, with food, drink specials and live music from Engine 209, a local Southern rock band. 

People can also swing by the distillery from 5-7 p.m. Saturday, April 3, for a barbecue tasting event with The Inked Pig and Sherry’s Bait & Barbecue.

Remedy is located at 885 Main St. SW in Gainesville. Its hours are 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. 

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