Port Arthur distillery grows to produce five times more product than before

Published 12:32 am Wednesday, May 31, 2023

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Clifford Distilling has been dealing with a good problem for a while — a large demand officials weren’t able to meet due to equipment.

That problem is now solved with a recent upgrade to allow the Port Arthur business to meet a much larger demand, operations manager Matt Barrows said.

“This will mean a lot for our distillery as far as growing the brand and growing in Texas and outside of Texas, as well,” Barrows said.

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Owner Sean Clifford said they’ve added three 300-gallon fermenters and a 150-gallon mash cooker, which increases their capabilities by five.

By the time they finish adding new equipment there will be six 300-gallon fermenters.

Besides the shiny new additions to Clifford’s equipment, there is also a 1,500-gallon reverse osmosis water tank.

Sean Clifford summed up what all this means to the business.

“What this means is that we’re going to produce five times more alcohol than before and we will have to hire another person from the local area in order to run this part of the operation,” Clifford said.

Sean Clifford, left, and Matt Barrows stand next to new equipment that allows them to produce five times more product than before. (Mary Meaux/The News)

Clifford Distilling, a veteran owned business, opened its doors April 21, 2022. Besides Texas they now can be found in Florida and South Carolina and they are working on a product to go to India.

The ambitious Clifford said he’s not letting grass grow under his feet. He sees this point of the business as the middle ground.

“Once we get this filled up we’ll have no more space in this building. We will have to build a new building,” he said. I want to build a building that’s pretty spectacular. And once we get to that point we’re going to need full time tours… we’ll probably need 20 to 30 people total.”

Clifford Distilling is starting to get some name recognition and visitors from all over. They recently had people from Australia that were in the U.S. traveling in a camper who decided to go for a visit and they get visitors from RV’ers from Canada frequently in the winter months, he said.

And there’s even more going on at the distillery.

Clifford said he might have a new line of whiskey coming out for a Hollywood producer and a former professional football player.

The beginning

Clifford Distilling is located at 235 Procter St.  The business has hosted numerous events; held tastings and tours; created a variety of spirits that can be found in liquor stores, bars and restaurants and there are plans for other products.

The most recent designation was being named the Veteran Business of the Year by the Lamar State College Small Business Development Center.

Clifford Distillery is open for tastings and tours from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. They also host Industry After Hours on the third Thursday of the month. This event allows people in industry to network, socialize and have a drink.