LANSDALE — In a warehouse on West Third Street in Lansdale, Boardroom Spirits is thriving.
The distillery first opened in February 2016 in a 3,600-square-foot space. The distillery and barroom, located at 575 W. Third St., now occupies 25,000 square feet more than six years later, according to Boardroom Spirits owner Marat Mamedov.
“Lansdale was actually the right spot for us,” he told MediaNews Group. “This industrial park worked out well. It gave us the opportunity to start small and then expand … . It’s a growing town.”
Mamedov, 38, emigrated with his family to the U.S. in 1991 from the former Soviet Union, what is now known as Baku, Azerbaijan. Mamedov grew up in Doylestown.
Mamedov had previously worked in consulting prior his entry into the spirits business. After spending three years away, he decided to move back to the East Coast. He said he initially didn’t consider Pennsylvania, and instead looked at finding a property in New Jersey.
When Mamedov didn’t find what he was looking for, he went back to Pennsylvania, looking over the state’s liquor laws once again.
“It’s one of the best states to open up as a manufacturer — that’s why we have so many breweries,” he said.
As for the name, his wife and brother were fellow consultants and Mamedov wanted to incorporate business into the name of his new business.
“Boardroom Spirits — we figured we’d have some fun, playful marketing, and then we came up with the concept of the chairman, ‘chair bear,’ that kind of ties the whole concept together,” he said. “The fun, playful character.” His wife, Zsuzsa Palotas and his brother Vlad Mamedov invested with Marat Mamedov to start the business.
Boardroom Spirits is located at 575 W. Third St. in Lansdale. (Rachel Ravina – MediaNews Group)
Eventually, Boardroom Spirits opened in a space 25 minutes from Mamedov’s hometown. It focused on alcohol in its early days, with distilling and a tasting room that accommodated between 80 and 100 people on most Friday and Saturday nights.
Mamedov stressed the importance of working with neighboring bars and alcohol producers in Lansdale’s tight knit business community.
“So Stove and Tap was actually our very first customer we ever had,” he said. “So we’ve built a really good relationship with them.”
Just a few years later, cases of the novel coronavirus began circulating into what would become the COVID-19 pandemic. While state-enforced restrictions and closures of nonessential businesses shuttered the doors of some establishments, Boardroom Spirits stayed open, stepping up to produce free hand sanitizer for those in need.
“It was the right pivot,” he said. “The nice thing about it is obviously we make ethanol — it’s the base for sanitizer it just made sense.”
The many waves of the ongoing public health crisis presented opportunities for new business ventures. Now looking back, Mamedov said he’s learned a lot.
“We’ve been evolving. For us, it’s all about we made a lot of big shifts,” Mamedov said. “We started a delivery model, which never existed, transitioned to online sales, which actually never existed, started the ready-to-drink cocktail program, which never existed.”
And as the business grew, Mamedov eventually retained 13 full-time employees. He’s turned his attention to the development of different kinds of spirits.
“I’ve been a vodka person traditionally, born on vodka, but we just released the margarita, and it is fantastic,” he said.
Boardroom Spirits Owner Marat Mamedov smiles as he holds a ready-to-drink cocktail inside the Lansdale-based business. (Rachel Ravina – MediaNews Group)
Boardroom Spirits’ former tasting room serves a new purpose in what Mamedov called a “local liquor store.” Patrons can stop by from 12-6 p.m. Monday through Saturday to purchase bottles or canned cocktails. A delivery option is available within 30 miles, Mamedov said, adding that orders can be made online at boardroomspirits.com.
However, area residents interested in getting a drink can still do so by attending cocktail workshops on Friday and Saturday evenings.
“Bringing back that community element has been important and as we’ve kind of shifted away from our previous cocktail and tasting room model, our big focus going forward with the hospitality side is really workshops and being just a really industrial, chic casual place where you can book your own private event,” he said.
Mamedov added the Lansdale-based business has gained a regional presence by supplying spirits to Northbound Restaurant in Souderton, Paloma’s in Phoenxiville and Amani’s in Downingtown.
“If someone wants that great cocktail experience, they can go to our partners and have fantastic food there as well,” he said.
Along with fostering a sense of community, sustainability is a crucial part of Boardroom Spirits’ identity.
“Instead of saying we’re all about green, we actually try to do it,” Mamedov said.
To “focus on green energy,” Mamedov spotlighted several features including installing solar panels on the roof, an outdoor rain garden and the implementation of 100% biodegradable six-pack beer and cocktail packaging rings.
“It’s just the core of what we do,” he said. “We’d rather create a sustainable business that’s aspirational. I think more folks get behind that and for us I think it’s just the right thing to do.”
In addition, Mamedov said that Boardroom Spirits works with a number of nonprofit organizations including The Robert Irvine Foundation, benefiting first responders and military service members.
Mamedov added that Boardroom Spirits will team up with local organizations, gifting a “portion of that day’s sales.” He noted this will typically occur “once a quarter.”
Boardroom Spirits products are displayed on shelves in the tasting room, located at 575 W. Third St. in Lansdale. (Rachel Ravina – MediaNews Group)
But over the years, Boardroom Spirits worked to maintain relationships with nearby breweries and businesses such as Round Guys Brewing Company, Well Crafted Bear Co. and Backyard Beans Coffee Company.
“We’re able to collaborate with each other in more ways than just selling each other’s product or cross promotion. So it really does build a true sense of business community,” Mamedov said. “We really want to continue to move Lansdale further.”
So what’s next for Boardroom Spirits? Mamedov said he wants his business to continue to mature, like a soon-to-be released alcohol that’s been seven years in the making.
“Be on the lookout for a very first ever Boardroom Whiskey coming this fall,” he said, noting that it’s “been in barrels for seven years.”
“For the most part we’ve got everything,” he said. “We’ve got 99 percent of your needs covered.”