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NORMAL — Three days before the opening of his company's new brewery and tasting room, Destihl Founder and CEO Matt Potts was already thinking ahead.

"My nature is to keep growing. I'll get bored, and we'll move on to the next project," he said at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday. "This is just a start."

Destihl's new production brewery is already operating, but the attached tasting room will open on Saturday. Destihl also will offer brewery tours starting then.

Potts said the $14 million, 47,000-square-foot production facility and 6,300-square-foot beer hall at 1200 Greenbriar Drive is the culmination of his work with the company so far, including opening a Normal restaurant in 2007 and beginning brewery distribution out of Bloomington in 2013.

"Our anchor is firmly planted, and we firmly planted it even more here," he said. "We don't have a production cap because we got grandfathered (out of state laws), which means that we can keep growing in this community, which is going to be a great thing for Destihl and a great thing for the town."

The brewery, he said, has helped Destihl push up to 20 states for distribution with a better, more consistent product, and he hopes to grow its capacity.

The former brewery at 1616 General Electric Road, which will be a warehouse until its lease expires, enabled Destihl to produce 15,000 barrels annually, versus 150,000 at the new site with possible growth past 200,000.

The new facility also will add to Destihl's staff, creating 70 new jobs and possibly twice that many within the next decade. Potts said Wednesday the company will soon have more than 300 employees across three facilities.

Destihl also operates restaurants at 318 S. Towanda Ave. in Normal and at 301 N. Neil St. in downtown Champaign, which have small on-site brewing facilities. While the tasting room will offer food, both restaurants are slated to stay open.

During the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Potts thanked many who helped make the brewery possible, including his wife, Lyn, who bought the home-brewing kit that helped him move from attorney to brewer; his business partners; the architect, contractor and bank on the project; and state and local officials.

He specifically thanked officials for adding the land to the local enterprise zone. That change allowed Destihl get about $150,000 in state tax credits for the project.

The town hopes Destihl can be a catalyst for further development in northeast Normal. Mayor Chris Koos said the facility is "an example of what happens in great communities, where people have faith in the community they're in and make a bold move."

"Obviously (I thank) all our guests that love our restaurants since 2007 and have been loyal guests since then," said Potts, who got choked up during the event. "People loving what we did (is) how we got where we are today."

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Follow Derek Beigh on Twitter: @pg_beigh

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Normal and McLean County Reporter

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