AmBraBev approved for large-scale display facing bypass at new location

Published 8:12 am Friday, October 20, 2017

A Danville beverage-maker is constructing a new building visible from the bypass near Lebanon Road, and the outside will feature unique artwork and signs thanks to an approval Thursday from the local Board of Adjustments for Danville-Boyle County Planning and Zoning.

The Board of Adjustments approved a variance allowing the wall of the AmBraBev building that will face the bypass to be decorated with three logos and a pair of artistic images. Meanwhile, the front of the building will be allowed to have two signs, instead of the one allowed by ordinance on land zoned for industrial use.

As a condition of the approval, AmBraBev won’t be allowed to request any further signage at the location — no more signs on the building or on other buildings, and no freestanding signs.

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Tom Baeker and Zach Baeker, founding partners of AmBraBev, told board members their company makes American-Brazilian distilled spirits.

Ben Kleppinger/
Zach Baeker, left, and Tom Baeker talk to the Board of Adjustments Thursday morning about their plans for a new location for their business, AmBraBev.

“We have been in operation for about four years, but much of our hands-on activity has been outsourced to Tennessee, where our bottling and warehousing has been done,” Tom Baeker said. “Our progress has justified our bringing those functions in-house to Danville and that’s the purpose of this enterprise. … We have always been anxious to get our production to Danville, because that’s where we are and that’s where we plan to stay for the long haul.”

The new building, which will have a Techwood Drive address next to the Commonwealth Cancer Center, will be home to two separate business entities, both run by AmBraBev, according to the variance application: an AmBraBev distillery and “The Still at Ambrabev,” which will be a “retail sales and tavern space.”

Tom Baeker said the Still would include office space, a gift shop and a tasting room.

Board of Adjustments members questioned the Baekers at length due to the large variance requested — industrially zoned properties are supposed to be allowed to cover up to 5 percent of one side of a building with one sign. AmBraBev’s proposal covers 31 percent of the side facing the bypass, if the artistic designs are counted along with the three logos.

“We are keenly interested in being above-board with our intentions and our plans,” Zach Baeker said. “This is really an attempt to add to the aesthetics of the business community on Techwood Drive and we think that we have done so. What we are proposing represents something that is in no way offensive and it in fact will enhance the overall aesthetics of the area.”

In approving the variance, the board noted among other things that the distance and height of the building from the bypass would make it difficult or vehicles to see a sign that took up 5 percent or less of the building’s side.

“Our objective was never ‘let’s make this as big as possible,'” Zach Baeker said. “Our objective was, ‘let’s make this legible.'”

Zach Baeker said after the meeting he and his father would be available to provide more details about the expansion next week. Construction of the building has already begun.

Jody Lassiter, CEO of the Danville-Boyle County Economic Development Partnership, confirmed the AmBraBev expansion project is one the EDP has on its radar in its quarterly “project funnel report” but couldn’t release more details about level of investment or potential jobs created at this time.

Ben Kleppinger/
The new AmBraBev building currently under construction at the end of Techwood Drive in Danville will be visible from the Danville Bypass, crossing left to right in this photo, and a portion of Lebanon Road near the Showroom.