Denison’s Ironroot Republic Distilling took a big step toward its first batch of liquor on Monday, as a crew from Kothe Destillationstechnik assembled a German-made, 500-gallon still at the future home of Ironroot, located on Loy Lake Road just off U.S. Highway 75. The still is one of four the company will operate, along with a 1000-gallon whiskey still from Kentucky and two smaller devices, an experimental unit and a 22-liter glass still capable of demonstrations.

Denison’s Ironroot Republic Distilling took a big step toward its first batch of liquor on Monday, as a crew from Kothe Destillationstechnik assembled a German-made, 500-gallon still at the future home of Ironroot, located on Loy Lake Road just off U.S. Highway 75. The still is one of four the company will operate, along with a 1000-gallon whiskey still from Kentucky and two smaller devices, an experimental unit and a 22-liter glass still capable of demonstrations.

“This will be a good step toward getting going. At least we feel like we’re doing something important,” said Jonathan Likarish, who is founding Ironroot with his brother Robert. “But we’ve still got a little while before we actually start producing.”

The brothers said Monday marked a major signpost in the distillery’s path to operation, but major hurdles still remain before Ironroot opens to the public sometime next spring. A boiler, three-phase electricity, and water treatment equipment — the last of which the Denison Development Alliance will help fund — need to be installed before actual distillation can begin.

“As far as our experimentation and everything, we’re hoping to be functioning and distilling come February,” said Robert Likarish. “For market, we’re hoping for April; that’s our date.”

Once the building is completed with a bar, lounge area and the aforementioned quad of stills, the liquor should flow like wine. The brothers say Ironroot will be among the three largest artisan distilleries in Texas.

“We’ve got a lot of stuff we want for grand opening, for sure. That will include probably a white whiskey, a couple of different gins, vodka, and we’d like to do kind of a coffee liqueur as well,” said Jonathan Likarish. Added his brother, “It’s not there yet, but it’s finally coming together.”