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Judge rules in favor of St. Lawrence Spirits distillery

St. Lawrence Spirits
St. Lawrence Spirits will be an inn, restaurant, distillery and event venue in Clayton overlooking the St. Lawrence River

The Clayton Town Planning Board will allow St. Lawrence Spirits to launch their distillery on Route 12E in the Thousand Islands.

The decision comes days after a state Supreme Court ruled that the proposed location for the distillery does not violate zoning laws.

The lawsuit against St. Lawrence Spirits and the town of Clayton was filed by neighbors who claimed the business was too close to their homes. They fear noise from the planned inn, restaurant and distillery would be a problem.

Judge James McClusky, who ruled in the case, stated the town's zoning designation for the distillery fits with Clayton's goal to better the community.

“Clayton’s comprehensive plan is looking for more tourism and restaurants in residential areas and we need to make sure that when people visit here they have a good experience so they keep coming back,” said Doreen Garrett, co-owner of St. Lawrence Spirits.

To deter neighbors’ concerns over potential noise from the venue, Garrett said she has agreed to reduce the size of the outdoor tent and to only host outdoor wedding ceremonies, not receptions.

Garrett said she’d like her business to be considered a good neighbor and expects those nearby to return the courtesy.  

St. Lawrence Spirits plans to operate out of the historic Fairview Manor building overlooking the St. Lawrence River. The distillery would be the second one in Clayton and one of several craft beverage-makers in the Thousand Islands.