“[I’m] not saying that it wasn’t hard and we didn’t have weeks where we struggled,” Sally said. “But I think we found ourselves and our voice during this pandemic.”
The business debuted in October 2019. Sally and her husband, Evan, wanted to bring a distillery to their neighborhood that had increased accessibility to the public by including a restaurant space at the front.
Building a distillery brand also takes time, so in the early days of opening, Lockwood operated almost exclusively as a restaurant, making unique sandwiches and mixed drinks for locals.
Like many restaurants, Lockwood shifted most of its service to takeout once the pandemic hit. Certain menu items became favorites, including the Dirty South Tots and Ray’s Pastrami. Mixed drinks have also risen to the top, such as the hibiscus basil lemonade and the newly popular winter special Call Me “Mallow” Yallo, both of which are made with Lockwood’s own spirits.
“What’s really kept us going is the community supporting us through our patio window for to-go drinks and food,” Sally said.
An unexpected silver lining of pivoting to outdoor service was the creation of a new tradition and vibe, she said. When lines for food started forming outside, the Batts saw an opportunity to hire musicians who had been without work during the pandemic. Soon, this turned into a weekly socially distanced tailgate scene, Sally said.
Local musicians are now booked at Lockwood on Fridays and Saturdays. Demand from artists has grown so much that musicians are often present on Sundays as well, and the distillery may begin fitting others in on weekdays, Sally said. Regulars often bring lawn chairs, tables and tents—and more recently, sweaters and blankets—to enjoy the music with food and drinks, she said.
“We really went from this indoor restaurant to this laid-back [outdoor] vibe, which I think was really what we wanted in the very beginning,” Sally said. “But it took a pandemic to get there.”
Other pandemic-based innovations, such as a wine club, are expected to continue into the new year. And a newly created for-rent bar trailer will be available to the public soon, Sally said. New head chef Julio Ortiz has also joined the team at Lockwood, so new menu items are on the way.
Lockwood spirits are now available in a number of area stores, including Total Wine, Spec’s and Kindred Spirits. An expansion of spirits manufacturing into the space next door is planned for the upcoming year. The additional space has been much needed as spirit production has ramped up over the past year, Sally said. The expansion will also create a market space for apparel and restaurant staples, such as Lockwood’s pimento cheese and bean dip, she said.
“We’re excited,” Evan said. “There’s no way this year coming up ... could be harder than this [last] one.”
Lockwood Distilling Co.
506 Lockwood Drive, Ste. 100
Hours: Tue.-Sat. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-4 p.m., closed Mon.