- Project: Firefly Distillery
- Builder: Trident Construction
- Location: Charleston, SC
After years of growth, Firefly Spirits, Charleston’s oldest working distillery – best known for producing the world’s first sweet tea flavored vodka – had outgrown their original distillery and tasting room.
Now a nationally recognized brand with more than 25 spirits distributed in all 50 U.S. states, Firefly founders Jim Irvin and Scott Newitt decided to move their operation to North Charleston and sought a builder who could replicate the small, quaint feel of their original distillery on a larger scale using stronger materials.
“When Firefly first came to us, their architect had drawn up plans for a conventionally built structure,” said Todd Bulwinkle, vice president at Trident Construction. “But we knew a metal building would be faster, more cost efficient and, with Charleston situated in a hurricane-prone area, steel would provide the strength needed to endure high-storm conditions.”
That’s when McKay called his Metallic Building Systems sales rep of more than 7 years, Jay Murphy, because he knew Murphy and his team would come up with a solution that would achieve the aesthetic look Firefly wanted at a reasonable cost.
“I brought Jay to the table to meet with Firefly and I believe his early activity with the project and active participation all the way through allowed us to build a budget and stay on budget,” Bulwinkle said. “We didn’t have any surprises.”
This personalized service, in addition to the company’s high-quality products, is what Metallic Building Systems, a leading supplier of custom-engineered metal buildings across North America, has built its reputation on throughout the company’s history.
“We used 12 different metal building structures and put them together to create an old horse-barn look,” said Murphy. “And to top it all off, the grand entrance looks identical to the original distillery, 30 miles away in Wadmalaw Island.”
The entire structure was protected with SuperLok® metal roof panels with a Galvalume Plus® coating. Designed to withstand the most rigorous weather conditions, SuperLok® is a mechanically field-seamed, vertical leg standing seam roof system that combines a 2” tall slim rib with exceptional uplift resistance.
For the exterior walls, 24-gauge PBC metal panels in Charcoal Gray were attached to the building structure, complementing its metal roof to achieve the design aesthetic both the architect and owner desired.
“With North Charleston situated in a hurricane-prone area and an earthquake zone, we were looking for robust products that would provide the strength and durability required to withstand these potential challenges,” said Bulwinkle. “Working with Metallic and the architect, we were able to bring forth product recommendations that would meet the owners’ goals of quality, aesthetics, cost effectiveness and weathertightness.”
The complex design of 12 different metal building structures coming together created many different roof slopes and gables causing difficulty in the roof’s construction, but with all parties involved working together toward a common goal, the building shell envelope ended up being 30% more economical and 10% faster than conventional instruction.
“Coming in on time and within budget is my goal with every job,” said Murphy. “That’s what Metallic Building Systems is all about – providing the highest level of customer service before, during and post purchase – and reliably delivering a complete building solution when and where our customers need it.”
The finished product was a 19,000–square–foot metal building with rustic interior finishes and large open space for events. The structure includes a working distillery, tasting room, gift shop, event space, commercial kitchen and office space.
“The Firefly Distillery is definitely not just your grandpa’s distillery,” said Bullwinkle. “The creative use of interior space and next-level aesthetics will redefine the way you look at metal buildings and distilleries in the future.”
The project included the following team members: General Contractor – Trident Construction; Erector – Brenton Grey Company, LLC; Roofing Contractor – Brenton Grey Company, LLC; Designer/Architect – Rush Dixon Architects, LLC; and Building Manufacturer – Metallic Building Systems.