Local distillery could be opening soon downtown

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - A local distillery could be opening soon in downtown Rapid City. But, the move from Box Elder involves more than you might think.

Contraband was started in 2016 by Jerry Sailer and Randy Decker. Sailer has had a passion for alcohol since he was 15, working with his father perfecting their passed-down liquor. Decker tried Sailer’s creation and has always wanted to own his own bar. So, the two formed Contraband of today.

But, getting here has not always been easy.

Decker, Chief Operating Officer Contraband L.L.C., and his partner know all too well how to work through city ordinances, being the first distillery in South Dakota.

“First thing we have to do, since there is no allowance in the city or variance in the city ordinance, is the process we’re going through right now to change the city ordinance to allow for an artisan distillery within the city limits,” said Decker.

Contraband will run both a traditional distillery and a tasting room. On tap they currently have 30 different liquors. They set up a business plan they hope will succeed while other businesses downtown struggle.

“We’re going to be a very new and very different type of business that’s never been seen in Rapid City before,” said Sailer, Owner of Contraband L.L.C., “We’re going to be Contraband and a speakeasy. So, we’re basically a distillery with our own little bar.”

“I think the downtown area with the market and stuff right now, with the wineries and breweries, and local establishments that are down there. And more of the arts and crafts, small markets and small businesses downtown. I feel that we will fit very well in with them,” said Decker.

Moving into a larger space sure has its perks, but they are going to miss their first home.

“We need to expand and unfortunately it’s not here. We have some opportunities in Rapid City that can take us to the next level. So, it is with a sad heart that we are leaving Box Elder, for they’ve grown to accept us like family here,” said Sailer.

Contraband is hoping to have a location and start re-modeling no later than the first of January and plan to be open by February.