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July 16, 2024

First Distillery in Delta Coming to Rosedale

Brainchild of longtime residents 

Jack and Elizabeth Coleman

By Jack Criss, The Bolivar Bullet

The construction of the first legal distillery in the Mississippi Delta has begun in Rosedale, the brainchild of husband and wife team – and longtime Rosedale residents – Jack and Elizabeth Coleman. The Rosedale Distilling Company, a dream of the couple for some years now, is planning a groundbreaking for late summer. 

The $16.9 million investment – the largest in western Bolivar County in decades – will include a large still, a bottling operation and a warehouse for aging spirits, all located in a 166,000 historic factory.  The company will be a distiller and producer of various premium and super premium spirits and  has started construction on several locations in Rosedale.

“We wanted to create opportunity for our citizens in the Delta and make the Delta, and Rosedale in particular, a premier region for the distilling industry,” said Elizabeth Coleman, adding that close to 60 well-paying new jobs will result within five years of project completion.

The main distillery, including the large still, the bottling and canning operation, and the primary warehouse, or rick house, for the aging of spirits in barrels, will be in a repurposed 166,000 square foot historic former factory building on 15 acres. 

The building where the distillery will be housed is listed on the  National Register of Historic Places. According to the Colemans, along with the repurposing of the factory building, approximately 20,000 square feet of historic buildings in downtown Rosedale will also be restored following the U.S. Secretary of the Interior’s stringent historic requirements. These buildings will house the rum distillery and tasting room, a distillery store, and museums dedicated to Mississippi River Explorers, De Soto, Marquette and Joliet, and La Salle, one-time Rosedale resident and blues legend Robert Johnson and also to Senator Blanche K. Bruce, the only former slave to become a U.S. Senator and later the Register of the U.S. Treasury, as well as a Rosedale resident.  

“One of our product lines will honor the legendary Perry Martin, a bootleg whiskey maker for more than 40 years who made such great, aged whiskey that it could be found in many parts of the country,” said Jack Coleman. “Martin buried his filled barrels to age in the sandbar of the Mississippi River to avoid discovery in those days, barrels he bought from my grandad’s hardware store. His whiskey, a prized possession in Mississippi, was considered so good that customers would ask for it by name in bars in Chicago, Detroit, New York, and many other cities across the country. We appreciate the cooperation of the Martin family in bringing this historic brand back alive.”

“Jack and I, along with our equity investors, are excited to bring this transformative project to Bolivar County and the Delta,” said Elizabeth. “We’re thankful to our partners like U.S. Bancorp Impact Finance, Southern Bancorp Bank, Enhanced Capital, Advantage Capital and Guaranty Bank, which provided capital via the Federal and Mississippi New Market Tax Credit  Programs, as well as Magnolia Bank. which provided capital backed by a USDA  Loan Guarantee Program.”

Both Colemans also mentioned the City of  Rosedale, Bolivar County, Mississippi Development Authority, South Delta  Planning & Development District, and the Mississippi Heritage Trust for their assistance in the project. 

“Rosedale Distilling will, among other exciting plans, be able to accommodate large or small groups for tastings and events and will be a popular draw for both locals and out-of-state tourists who want to experience the beauty of the Mississippi  River, the great outdoors, and the history of the blues music in which  Rosedale played such a historic role,” said Elizabeth.