Hartman’s Distilling Co. enhanced the mid-century vibe of their tasting room with brushed brass bar foot rail from KegWorks.
Hartman’s Distilling Co. is the latest addition to the growing craft spirits scene in Buffalo, N.Y. Situated on the remnants of an early 20th century manufacturing complex, Hartman’s specializes in distilling bourbon, rye, vodka and gin.
The 5,500 square foot building on Chicago St. in Buffalo’s Old First Ward neighborhood houses their distilling operation as well as a stunning bar and tasting area. The building is known as The Cooperage, which is a reference to the wooden barrel manufacturer, that once occupied that site (some of their products were even used to age whiskey).
The distillery is the passion of owner Justin Hartman and his wife Jennifer, along with their family partners Bob and Lisa Hobba. The Hartmans are Buffalo natives who were living in New York City, when a love of spirits and distilling brought them back home. Justin had taken distilling classes in Rochester, Kentucky and Colorado, and he decided the time was right to open his own distillery.
That time came 86 years to the day that Prohibition ended in this country, as Hartman’s opened their doors to the public on December 5, 2019, Repeal Day. On the day Americans celebrated the sale of spirits being legal again, the Hartmans celebrated the fact that their spirits were available to the public.
Hartman’s bar and tasting area has a hip, retro feel to it with its own library sitting area as well as an outdoor patio it shares with an adjacent brewery. The walls are adorned with framed, hand-drawn machine blueprints that were found in a safe belonging to the original tenant of the property. The copper pots and equipment used in Hartman’s distilling process are visible from the bar area, giving patrons an authentic distillery experience.
To help run the day to day operations, the Hartmans brought on Cameron Rector as general manager. Rector, a veteran of Buffalo's restaurant industry, was also tasked with creating a craft cocktail menu to complement Hartman's selection of spirits. He took some time to talk with KegWorks about the design and construction of the tasting area at Hartman’s.
KegWorks: How did Hartman’s land on The Cooperage to build the distillery?
Cameron Rector: When they were scouting locations this was just a natural location. It automatically answered the question for us of where to build. The site of an old cooperage in Buffalo, that’s exactly where to build a distillery.
K: How did you come up with the design for the tasting area and bar?
C: We just wanted a nice tasting bar, and it sort of got out of control. From looking at other bars we wanted an area for tasting, and then the bar area extends all the way down, so you can see the distilling equipment.
K: Why did you choose KegWorks for your bar rail?
C: Calling KegWorks was a no brainer, having them help with the bar rail really helped with the look. I previously owned a bar, and KegWorks was real good to me when I got my bar rail then. I knew the level of quality, and all the questions about the design were answered for us. You guys came in, took some measurements and it was ready to be installed.
K: Why did you go with the brushed brass finish for your foot rail?
C: To tie into the other brass finishes in the room. Once I saw that KegWorks had that style, I knew that was the way to go.
K: You used 90-degree post brackets to mount the bar rail. Why did you choose them?
C: I never installed (brackets) into concrete before so that was a concern. The bar had already been built so I wasn’t quite sure about a free standing bracket, that’s why we went with an L-shaped (90-degree) bracket. I like straight lines, and it looks really solid. It was simple to install into concrete and the already built bar.
K: How easy was the process of installing your foot rail?
C: We installed it ourselves, it was plug n’ play. Out of all the challenges of building the bar from the group up that was one of the easiest. I knew that going into it, and that’s why I called KegWorks.
K: What was your first impression when you saw the finished product?
C: We were going for a rustic look with our tasting room, and after we installed it we noticed it classed up the place a lot. That never hurts, to be overdressed for the party.
The Brilliance of Brushed Brass
Brushed Brass is a classic bar rail finish that never goes out of style. The brushed effect makes your bar rail easier to maintain but you won’t lose any of the timeless appeal inherent in brass. You can bring the touch of class that Hartman's got from their foot rail when you contact our team of bar rail experts to talk about your next project.
Dave Buchanan has been the Content Writer for KegWorks since June 2019. He has a fondness for craft beer that developed while working for a local beer distributor. Dave also worked for an area sports talk radio station for several years, and continues his broadcasting work as a motorsports announcer and indoor lacrosse reporter.