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Shots Up: Independent Distillery permanently closes due to impact of COVID-19

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TUCSON (KVOA) - Whether you want an Old-Fashioned topped with fresh oranges and a three-inch ice ball or a gin cocktail that features local flavors like prickly pear, the Independent Distillery was the place to be.

Since 2015, bar-hoppers who took a step inside the bar located at 30 S. Arizona Ave. near Broadway Boulevard knew that it was something special.

But after serving up good-times since 2015, the local distillery joined the handful of other bars on Monday and closed the downtown business for good.

"As we close this dream of ours, we encourage all of you, our friends, to reach out to other locally owned businesses before it’s too late and stop in, buy a beer, some food, a gift card to be used sometime in the future when the dust has settled," the owners said in a Facebook post. "Tucson is our home and we have been humbled by all the support through the last decade."

Back in March, Independent Distillery decided to close its doors temporarily in compliance with Gov. Doug Ducey's statewide order to combat the spread of the COVID-19 throughout the state.

While bars that sell food were given the clear to reopen in August, the bar continued to remain closed.

"We’ve done everything to prolong this and fought as hard as we possibly could to keep our doors open," the owners said in the post. "Eight months of no revenue and forced closures is enough for even the biggest of businesses. With the new guidelines including a 49% occupancy and food addition, it doesn’t make financial sense to reopen."

The complete Facebook post from the company can be viewed below.

Adios Tucson…

In 2015, after five years of planning we took the plunge and opened The Independent Distillery. Anyone who ever stepped foot inside knew it was special.

We faced tons of unexpected challenges along the way, for sure, and we had finally succeeded in moving past several obstacles which seemed to always be strategically placed in the way of our growth when…...COVID19 struck!

Flash forward to now, We’ve done everything to prolong this and fought as hard as we possibly could to keep our doors open. Eight months of no revenue and forced closures is enough for even the biggest of businesses. With the new guidelines including a 49% occupancy and food addition, it doesn’t make financial sense to reopen.

So, sadly we have made the forced decision to shutter our business. Our quality of service would suffer as a result of the restrictions and what would The Independent be without our staff being able to provide you, our guests, the best service possible. They have always made our business what it is, and we would never had survived without their hard work. We can never repay them for all the dedication to the idea of TID.

As we close this dream of ours, we encourage all of you, our friends, to reach out to other locally owned businesses before it’s too late and stop in, buy a beer, some food, a gift card to be used sometime in the future when the dust has settled. Tucson is our home and we have been humbled by all the support through the last decade.

In the end… We won some awards, a few golds and an elusive double gold along with some other hardware for our spirits, many reviews praising our amazing staffs’ creativity in menu creation and spirit curation as well as dozens of new cocktails now being served at almost every bar and restaurant in Tucson and many points beyond. Had some marriage proposals and weddings and a few Irish wakes to say goodbye, proper. We had a few celebrities sneak in to simply hang out. So many amazing musicians have graced our home. There were motorcycles and drums and bagpipes galore. There were toasts to life and happiness. And we were the home bar for the Tucson Firefighters Association and flew its flag proudly.

Really, isn’t that a great legacy to have? So, “Shots Up” for the hard-working service industry and our heartfelt best to our community and our peers, you will always be an inspiration. We will miss you.

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Anthony Victor Reyes

Anthony Victor Reyes is the lead digital content producer at News 4 Tucson. The award-winning journalist previously worked as a community reporter in Jasper County, Iowa.

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