Sneak Peak Inside Cotton & Reed, Opening This Winter in Union Market

23 Nov
The Front of Future Cotton & Reed. Will Be Glass Roll-up Window

The Front Entrance of Future Cotton & Reed That Will Be Transformed Into Roll-Up Glass Window

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.

View of Cotton & Reed from Front Door Looking Back

View of Cotton & Reed from Front Door Looking Back. The Tasting Room Will be in the Front (Bar to the Left in Picture) and Distillery in the Back.

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.

Future Tasting Room Area at Cotton & Reed

Future Tasting Room Area at Cotton & Reed. The Bar Will Be on the Right in Picture.

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).

Future Distillery Area at Cotton & Reed

Future Distillery Area at Cotton & Reed

When it opens, Cotton & Reed will serve craft cocktails, other drinks, and samples of its various rums in the tasting room in the front of the building.  While the front of the building is currently a solid wall, they hope to install a massive roll-up window to add natural light and make the front of distillery much more open and inviting to the public.  They also plan to have a floor to ceiling mural painted prior to opening.  Upon entering the building, to the left will be a large wraparound bar where cocktails will be served.  In the back of the building, will be the distillery itself.  Their large distilling tank is too tall for just the ground floor and will extend up into the second floor of the building via a skylight.

Ceiling Access to Second Floor for Distillation Tank

Ceiling Access to Second Floor for Distillation Tank

The owners hope to create a fun environment similar to the experience at local breweries such as Atlas Brew Works and 3 Stars.  In addition to cocktails and drinks poured in the tasting room, people will be able to buy Cotton & Reed’s rums as well as bitters and other cocktail ingredients.  Cotton & Reed will offer tours of the distillery, distilling classes, and cocktail classes once they are up and running.  They hope to have a neighborhood feel as well as attracting customers from all across the region.  Tentatively they plan on having the tasting room open from 1-9 pm most days.  As long as construction stays on track, they should be up and running before too long.

View of Cotton & Reed from the Back Looking Forwards

View of Cotton & Reed from the Back Looking Forwards


One Response to “Sneak Peak Inside Cotton & Reed, Opening This Winter in Union Market”


  1. Cotton & Reed Distillery Opens This Saturday in Union Market | District Cuisine - November 11, 2016

    […] 5th Street, NE) has come quite a long way since District Cuisine toured the space last November (you can see our post with construction photos here).  The rum distillery and tasting room by friends and former co-workers Reed Walker and Jordan […]

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