Philadelphia Distilling Grand Opening in Fishtown

June 7, 2017 Synergetic Audio

Responsible for award-winning brands such as Bluecoat American Dry Gin, Vieux Carré Absinthe Supérieure, The Bay Seasoned Vodka, and Penn 1861 Vodka, Philadelphia Distilling has made a name for itself since first opening in 2005 as Pennsylvania’s first craft distillery founded after prohibition. After spending over a decade in their former location, they expanded operations into a larger state-of-the-art Fishtown facility that now houses their distillery, along with a private tasting & event room, gift shop, outdoor patio, and full-service bar.

When it came time to host the grand opening, the team at Philadelphia Distilling asked us to help make it memorable, and our team got to work on creating a design that would intrigue even those unaware of the festivities… but, how?

Philadelphia Distilling’s team wanted to simultaneously highlight all of the exciting features of their new building while influencing the space’s atmosphere, and we used the structure of the event’s itinerary to guide our design. Part I of our plan included uplighting the lounge space’s perimeter and unique architectural elements, such as the grafitti-clad vertical iron beams and walls, as well as the original brick walls. Next, we mounted 12 moving-head intelligent fixtures in strategic locations throughout the main floor as well as inside the distillery, which we programmed to pan the space and highlight the hand-hammered copper stills, holding tanks, and graffiti. Keeping theme-appropriate, we color-matched the uplighting and intelligent fixtures to project the same hue as their flagship product’s famous bottle, which got its name from the uniforms worn by the colonist soldiers during the Revolutionary War. Finishing off the interior lighting design were our pin spot lighting fixtures, which added a pop of luminosity to the floral arrangements throughout the main floor.

Part II of our plan enlisted audio/visual elements to enhance the welcome speech, which included a large projection screen flown above the doors as well as a three foot high stage that positioned the Bluecoat/Pennsylvania mural directly behind the podium. To command attention to the speaker during announcements, we placed our lucite podium front-and-center on the stage and illuminated the area with a softly focused pattern in a skin tone friendly dark amber.

The third part to our design plan concentrated on the exterior of the warehouse, where we focused our efforts on arousing curiosity for even those oblivious to the celebratory event. We wanted everyone in Fishtown, Kensington, Port Richmond, and all of the neighboring communities to be aware of the event, which we achieved using SkyTracker searchlights, rotating skyward and projecting the ultra-bright beams which could be seen for miles. Once the patrons arrived at the distillery, we welcomed them in true VIP fashion with a custom blue carpet and blue rope & stanchion, stretching 30′ from the sidewalk to the front doors. We also created a custom truss structure to display Philadelphia Distilling’s step-and-repeat banner, which we illuminated in blue and amber to provide adequate lighting for the best photo opportunities. The opening was grand indeed, and we were happy to help make this event memorable! Special thanks to Pictures by Todd Photography for the images throughout the post.

Services Used

  • LED uplighting
  • Pin spotting
  • Intelligent lighting
  • Step-and-repeat banner wash
  • SkyTracker searchlights
  • Custom truss structure
  • Blue carpet
  • Blue rope & stanchion
  • Staging
  • Lucite podium
  • Wireless microphones
  • High-output projector
  • Projection screen
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