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Bourbon-aficionado Jeff Palleschi hopes to have his new 21st Amendment Distillery open in downtown Vero Beach — and his bourbon aging in barrels on a barge floating in the Indian River — in the summer of 2022. Palleschi, 51, a salesman by trade and a Marine by heart, found himself grounded during the pandemic. Unable to travel to see clients, Palleschi decided to act on his dream of one day opening a distillery.
While the bourbon barrels gently rock on the river barge — which they will do for four years — to allow 100 percent of the liquid to touch the sides of the barrel, Palleschi will sell bourbon he has purchased in bulk and bottled under his brand.
But the vodka, gin and specialty fruit cellos at the distillery will all be made in-house. He plans to take advantage of Florida’s citrus and make Limoncello, Orangecello, Grapefruitcello and Limecello — and hopefully make them as popular with the younger crowd as seltzers are. He even hopes to make his own seltzers someday.
While bourbon has become super trendy in recent years, Palleschi said he grew to love it as a 20-something kid in the Marines.
“I started reading about it and got to know it. It’s America’s spirit. It’s our beverage just like Scotch is Scotland’s,” he said.
And what will be the atmosphere in the distillery that is being built in the old Ironside Press building?
“Americana,” Palleschi said. “Dark wood, a copper-top bar, an antique chandelier and piano. The 1920s and ’30s — with a modern flair.” And there will be live music meant as a background for talking. “Maybe like Frank Sinatra.”
He has no partners — “I’m a one-man band” — but it may turn into a family affair if he succeeds in convincing relatives from up north to move down and help run the place.
Coincidentally, Palleschi plans to sell food at his distillery from the family-run restaurant next door. (Tuohy’s Downtown plans to open in January.)