“Ever since mankind discovered the intoxicating possibilities offered by a few readily available ingredients and a little crude chemistry, the debate over alcohol has raged. And nowhere more loudly than America. The shouting match between drinkers & distillers on one side and teetotalers & tax agents on the other, has created a din that predated the American Revolution, peaked during prohibition, and continues, unabated, today.” Nelson, Derek, Moonshiners, Bootleggers & Rumrunners
This is where our story falls into place… The great building that we are gathered in today was once a very reputable distilling establishment. The Kentucky Distilling Co. opened in 1904 and as the Temperance Movement gained steam, the co. changed ownership and became The Louisville Distilling Co. , which served the Savannah community until 1907. By 1920, Georgia joined the nation in the prohibition of alcohol. Our country saw over 1100 operating distilleries dwindle to a mere 33, producing alcohol for medical purposes only.
With the Distillery Ale House’s closing, the building became Freich’s Pharmacy, operating as a drug store, soda fountain and lunch counter until 1940. Rumor has it that our 2nd floor produced bathtub gin and homemade beer throughout Prohibition years.
In 2008 the Volen Family resurrected Distillery Ale House, using an 1895 photo of a historic saloon as the guide. The mahogany topped bar and oak back-bar were crafted, and now features an antique copper still. During construction, various artifacts were unearthed dating back to the American Revolution, including musket balls, bones, dishware, clay pipes and liquor bottles. We hope you enjoy seeing our collection of posters and memorabilia such as photos from the Freich family, vintage alcohol prescriptions and newspapers of this bygone era.
The Distillery Ale House is the area’s only true craft beer bar and restaurant with 21 Craft Beers on tap and over 99 bottled beers. We offer the finest fresh pub food inspired by the beers showcased. We welcome you to our family owned business and hope to see you many times.
Michael and Lori Volen – Proprietors
Julia Volen – General Manager
Open: Monday-Sunday at 11:00 a.m.
912-236-1772 416 West Liberty Street, Savannah, GA