Downtown Saratoga Springs has hit a grand slam—during a global pandemic, no less. Cooperstown Distillery, which is headquartered in the hometown of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Cooperstown, has opened its second retail store and tasting room on Broadway in Saratoga.
Cooperstown Distillery’s Founder and President Eugene Marra tells Saratoga Living that plans for the Saratoga satellite location were hatched in early spring, with a projected opening date of some time this past summer. But obviously, COVID threw the distillery a curveball, and the Broadway shop only just had its big opening on December 16. “We got off to a late start, but we’re not disappointed,” says Marra. “We really feel like the extra time allowed us to put some thought into the interior design, and the business model that we wanted to build in Saratoga was a lot like our store here in Cooperstown.” Despite that late start, the store being open a week before Christmas turned into a boon for the distillery. “We came out of the gate with a really big bang,” says Marra of how business has been going so far. “We’ve had a remarkable eight days of business, and the enthusiasm from local residents has been overwhelming. We fill a niche that maybe they never thought they [needed], and in many ways, that was the whole plan. We wanted to be something that was not yet represented in Saratoga.”
The new space, which is about 3,500 square feet, is not a working distillery, but rather a retail shop, bar and tasting room that sells Cooperstown Distillery’s small batch, hand-crafted spirits such as its award-winning Cooperstown Select Straight Bourbon Whiskey and baseball-themed Abner Doubleday line of spirits, which come in special, baseball-shaped glass decanters. There are some Saratoga-exclusive products, too, including Saratoga Revolutionary Rum, which is a dark amber, sugarcane rum, which is an offshoot of the company’s Sam Smith’s Boatyard Rum, which is a light amber. “It’s a beautiful rum, and it has a great package, which has a colonial feel to it,” says Marra. “The top is hand-dipped in black wax.” The distillery has also added some Saratoga-branded barware and accessories, to be offered exclusively at the Saratoga location, too.
Besides its own branded spirits, the Saratoga location is also selling gift items, apparel, bitters, glassware and cocktail accoutrements. And its bar features a full complement of New York State beers and wines—something that, with a farm distillery license, Cooperstown Distillery has to offer customers (in other words, it can’t sell out-of-state products).
There are actually two Cooperstown Distillery locations in Cooperstown—the aforementioned retail space and the distillery itself, where it produces the spirits.
Even before it opened, the distillery was being a good samaritan in the Saratoga market, producing some 1,500 bottles of hand sanitizer for Saratogians in the early months of COVID. Though the market has been saturated with all manner of sanitizing products since the early days of the pandemic, Marra says he’s still filling orders for the City of Saratoga Springs and would be happy to continue doing so in the coming months.