Big Spring Spirits Has Big Things In Store For The South Shore in 2023
The Bellefonte, Pa.-based distillery plans to open the six-story entertainment complex between the South Side and Station Square.
Kevin Lloyd has big plans for Big Spring Spirits, the distillery he founded in Bellefonte, Pa.
By December 2023, Lloyd and his Talleyrand Holdings LLC business partners — Anthony Mazzarini, Bill Stolze, Rick Mongiovi, Eric Kraemer and Garry McCann — could be admiring Pittsburgh’s skyline while sipping whiskey on top of their historical, six-story structure on the South Shore, an area between Station Square and the South Side.
The full-service rooftop bar will be called The Finch, a nod to the building’s original occupant, the Joseph S. Finch & Co. distillery, which operated from 1856 until Prohibition.
Since purchasing the McKean Street property near Station Square in 2017, Talleyrand Holdings has been transforming it into a vertically integrated dining and entertainment complex with 10,000 square feet of space on each floor. It’s a similar layout to Hazelwood Brewery, a 20,000-square-foot, four-story building in Hazelwood that plans to include three beer companies when it opens this spring.
Big Spring Spirits would house a distillery and a local artisan marketplace with fresh coffee, produce, meat and pastries and a Millie’s Homemade Ice Cream location.
The second-floor tasting room would also sell Big Spring’s bottled booze, including vodka, gin, rum, whiskey, a coffee cordial and cream bourbon.
Nine vendors, who have signed a one-year lease, would occupy the third-floor food hall. Eateries include Smokin Ghosts BBQ, Balance, an award-winning restaurant out of Johnstown, Casa Brasil, 2 Sisters 2 Sons Caribbean fare, Botanical Vegan Café & Market and two open kitchens for pop-up/guest chefs.
Big Spring, which has satellite locations serving food and booze in Seven Fields and Sewickley, also would offer its own dining and event catering menu. Customers would be able to order grub from the distillery tasting room.
The fourth level would provide storage and prep spaces for the restaurants as well as a cigar bar. Big Spring plans to sell private memberships to stogie lovers.
Lloyd anticipates hosting many wedding parties at the fifth-floor event space. Like other new all-day dining venues in the area, such as Aslin Beer Co., Scratch & Co., Severina Ristorante and Bar, Trace Brewing and The Government Center, Big Spring would be a place where guests can grab a morning coffee, lunch or dinner and a late-night beverage. Like The Highline, it’s located along the Three Rivers Heritage Trail, making it easily accessible to pedestrians and bicyclists.
Lloyd hopes to partner with neighboring businesses such as Sly Fox Brewery & Pub, which joined Pittsburgh’s booming beer scene when it opened at The Highline last summer.
In addition to signature cocktails and food, The Finch would offer breathtaking views of the city from its rooftop perch. Three-quarters of the bar will be enclosed by garage doors that open out to the patio.
Lloyd, a Penn State graduate whose professional background is in molecular and cell biology, says the company put just as much time and attention to the Finch building as it did to its Bellafonte distillery, a former match factory erected in 1899.
The Centre County town regularly wins Best Tasting Water awards for H2O that comes from its famed Big Spring. All initial fermentation will take place in Bellefonte and a second distillation will happen in Pittsburgh with roughly 1,000 gallons of spring water that will be transported to Pittsburgh every week.
“The minerality of the water has a big effect on our spirits,” Lloyd says.
While the South Shore site is still under construction, folks can sample booze, buy bottles and enjoy signature cocktails and eats at the other locations.
The Seven Springs spot at 526 Northpointe Circle opened in October 2020 and has indoor and outdoor seating for about 60 guests. Last month, Big Spring debuted a slightly smaller tasting room at 418 Beaver St. in Sewickley with food provided by Sugar x Butter Catering.
Munchies at both locations range from charcuterie and hummus plates to spirit-infused desserts to salads and sandwiches.
In 2024, Big Spirits hopes to open more tasting rooms in Pittsburgh and possibly Eastern Pennsylvania.