GMF Distillery hits snag

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GMF Distillery hits snag

Whiskey Toasting time put on hold

Rick Langenberg

Plans for an historic whiskey distillery in Green Mountain Falls that uses donkeys as part of the production process has struck a large chunk of manure.

Last week, the Green Mountain Falls Planning Commission waved a yellow cautionary flag and made it clear they aren’t ready to make a “yes or no” recommendation for a variance request submitted by Victor Matthews, owner of the Black Bear Distillery.

In fact, the planners told several nearby neighbors, who live adjacent to the distillery, that the final decision will be made by the elected trustees. They even noted that they might not make any type of recommendation, period.

This followed a volley of concerns raised by several property owners, who lauded the idea of an authentic whiskey distillery, but weren’t thrilled about the prospects of having donkeys as their next-door neighbors. Matthews, who hopes to start the operation this summer, didn’t attend the session.

“There has to be some recourse for us,” said Dave Pearlman, a nearby resident. Pearlman praised the business concept, citing the distillery as a potential boon for tourism, but raised questions about the situation with the donkeys. He suggested having a regular review of the distillery, if the donkeys are used by Matthews as planned. Plus, Pearlman reminded the board of previous problems the town experienced with a business in the same area that once housed exotic animals.