Looking for something to look forward to during the cold winter months after the holidays? Look no further than Cotton & Reed, the new craft rum distillery coming to the Union Market area (1330 5th Street, NE) this winter. Cotton & Reed will have both a tasting room and a distillery in the location, which is slightly up the street (to the north) from the main market building at Union Market. While you wouldn’t be able to tell based upon the outside of the building, construction is well underway inside as Cotton & Reed hopes to open in February of next year.
Cotton & Reed was founded by Reed Walker and Jordan Cotton who met in a previous professional life as NASA consultants. They created Cotton & Reed several years ago at Blind Dog Cafe and have been working to expand and open a distillery with a tasting room ever since. Cotton & Reed has crowdfunded much of its initial start up money utilizing Indiegogo campaigns, which recently raised over $45,000 for the business. In addition to the founders, the company has assembled a team that includes general manager and herbalist Lukas Smith, who recently won DC Eater’s Bartender of the Year award.
While looking for a location, they were approached by Edens, the mega South Carolina real estate company that opened the Union Market market building and that has purchased major portions of the surrounding warehouses and vacant land over the past several years. At the time, 1330 5th Street was occupied by Samsung Tofu, a wholesaler that operated in two side by side warehouse stalls. Samsung will continue its operations but has shifted everything into one of the two stalls and a wall has been erected to subdivide the two businesses. February is the tentative open date, but that could slide depending upon construction. The building is quite old, and the construction team keeps finding surprises as they renovate (including unknown pipes recently).