By Alison Bailin Batz
Photos by Elizabeth Marie
Blue Clover Distillery has an unexpected backstory – and an oily one at that.
While Albuquerque, New Mexico, native Weston Holm was always drawn to the hospitality industry and worked in it throughout college, when he graduated he took a wildly different path.
“I ran engineering projects for oil facilities in the Gulf of Mexico, sometimes overseeing a 150-person crew in the middle of the ocean,” says Holm, noting some of the processes aren’t too far off from the oil and gas process, which goes into spirit development. “The schedule was two weeks on, then two off, and I spent most of my off time visiting Arizona, a favorite destination of mine since my youth.”
Holm eventually moved to commercial construction projects, where he worked for longtime family friends Duane and Scott Koch at Koch Construction, still with eyes toward the Valley.
“In 2016, I finally moved to Scottsdale, focused on developing a concept with food and beverage at the forefront,” says Holm, who was ecstatic the Kochs wanted to join the venture as business partners. “With the spirit industry really starting to take off in earnest, we settled on a distillery concept early on.”
By 2017, they zeroed in on the former 4,200-square-foot property of Eddie’s House, using all of their construction skills to hand-build every inch of the space themselves, from the specialized flooring in the distilling room to the custom oak tables and hand-poured concrete bar top.
“We opened in February and completed our first run of vodka in March, which is now in process of being sold at our restaurant for $22 and at fellow restaurants and bars as well as local grocery stores,” Holm says. “After we perfect this vodka, the plan is to move into a few other spirits in the near future.”
Restaurant guests can actually watch them work with the spirits at all times through a floor-to-ceiling glass wall. In addition to this distillation show, guests who come for eats and drinks are in for an American pub-style menu with hints of Holm’s New Mexico roots throughout (think green chile on the likes of cheese fries and a cheeseburger). The bar itself, which boasts Blue Clover’s own product(s) plus a full cocktail, beer and wine list, has a very industrial feel and is an indoor-outdoor concept, with retractable garage doors and a massive patio.
Happy hour is offered Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. with deals on both food and drinks, and the venue opens at 11 a.m. daily.
“And for those asking, the name itself comes from my heritage – my grandparents hail from Denmark, where the color blue is infused through many things, as well as Ireland, hence the clover,” Holm says. “Both were farmers who raised corn among other fruits and produce, which influenced the use of corn as the base product in our spirits.”
Blue Clover Distillery, 7042 E. Indian School Road, Scottsdale; 480.946.1062; www.bluecloverdistillery.com.