Victor George Spirits, a nationally certified Minority Business Enterprise was introduced in South Florida in 2019 by Founder and CEO Victor G Harvey. Harvey has announced the Fort Lauderdale Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) board voted unanimously to provide a $2,450,000 forgivable loan to help fund construction cost of a 15,000 square foot, four story facility that will house a distillery, restaurant, cigar bar, whiskey lounge, co-working space and a rooftop bar and lounge located on historic Sistrunk Boulevard.
The funds were approved for Harvey’s development company, Northeast 6th Development. The $2.4 million loan will be used alongside Harvey’s own investment and financing provided by a local bank to help transform a once vibrant area back to a destination where neighborhood residents, out of town visitors and other locals can dine, drink, and tour the distillery, tasting new and unique craft spirits. The cost of the total project will be in the $4.2 million range.
This new building will be named The Victory Building after the historic Victory Theatre once located on Sistrunk. This was the mecca of entertainment for Black people in Fort Lauderdale and the only theatre they could attend up until the end of segregation in 1964. The historic Sistrunk area was once “The Heart and Soul of the City” and Fort Lauderdale’s oldest African American community.
Sistrunk Boulevard, a main thoroughfare, which spans Historic Sistrunk from its eastern to western boundaries is named in honor of pioneering Black physician, Dr. James Franklin Sistrunk. Dr. Sistrunk is the founder of Provident Hospital, Broward County’s first Black hospital.
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The ‘Old Sistrunk Distillery’ Will Help Grow the Sistrunk Corridor of Ft. Lauderdale
The Victory Building will house the Old Sistrunk Distillery and will be home to the Victor spirits brands.
“As our core brand VG continues to grow nationwide, we are committed to helping our own city grow, particularly the Sistrunk corridor. This has been a long process, but we stayed the course,” said Victor Harvey. “Through these difficult times our focus was to keep all of our employees working and get to this point, which we were able to do. This building will allow the creation of several more job opportunities, with most of the hiring coming from within the neighborhood.”
“This will be a signature project on the Sistrunk Corridor!” said Fort Lauderdale Commissioner, Robert McKinzie.
‘Old Sistrunk Distillery’ to Break Ground During Black History Month 2022
The plan is to break ground on the project in February 2022 during Black History Month. The new Victory Building will include four stories.
- 1st Floor – Distillery Restaurant
- 2nd Floor – Wine Bar, Tasting Room, Cigar Bar
- 3rd Floor – Offices/Meeting Area
- 4th Floor – Roof Top Bar
Alongside Harvey, a spirits industry veteran and Beverage Scientist, Matthew Spinozzi who holds an MSC in Brewing & Distilling from Heriot-Watt University has been brought on board to oversee operations at the Old Sistrunk Distillery. Spinozzi is a globally recognized spirits consultant, and, previously the Chief of Science and Distilling for Matchbook Distilling Company teaching classes on the flavor science of beverages at the American Distilling Institute, the Bar Institute, and the University of Gastronomic Sciences. Spinozzi is featured on Discovery Channel’s Master Distiller. He is also a decorated volunteer firefighter and EMT.
Harvey and Spinozzi will work together to add additional product lines including whiskey, tequila, hard seltzers as well as non-alcoholic beverages.
Victor George “VG” Vodka is currently distributed in 44 states and available at most major retailers nationwide including Albertsons, Kroger, Trader Joes and more. It can also be found at several on and off premise locations throughout south Florida and as well as Tampa, Orlando and Jacksonville.