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922 South Morton Street
Bloomington, IN, 47403
United States


Cardinal Spirits is a craft distillery in Bloomington, Indiana that specializes in producing extraordinary spirits from local ingredients.  

The Drop

The Drop is your source for all things craft. 


Erica Sagon

On our anniversary, we wanted to take a minute to go back to the very beginning. 

This is our home: 922 S. Morton St., a mile south of downtown Bloomington. It's a nice home, don't you think?

Do you remember what our building looked like before it was home to Cardinal Spirits?

It looked like this:


And on the inside? 


And after: 

Sometimes we feel like an HGTV crew should have been following us around in 2014 as we tore this building apart and put it back together. Is there a version of Fixer Upper for commercial buildings? JOANNA GAINES, ARE YOU READING THIS?


People always want to know what our building used to be. It was a sheet-metal shop, from 1960 through the early 2000s. Then, until a couple of years ago, it was church offices and storage facility for faith-based mission. Hence the mattresses and such.

So, we had a lot of work to do to turn the building into a distillery and cocktail bar. First, we punched some holes in the walls.

Then, we ripped down some walls.

Then, we ripped up the floor to make way for plumbing. 

You definitely want a sociology major in charge of your plumbing. That's Cardinal co-founder, Jeff. 

Next: Windows. Doors. Bar. These are a few of our favorite things. 

And then we thought, hey, here's an idea: why not paint the whole thing black?

Let's make a sidewalk. And, put Cardinal co-founder Adam in charge of grouting the bathrooms/making a horror movie.

One day, ginormous pieces of equipment started arriving, and that continued pretty much every day until we opened. This is the boiler, made in Indiana:

The still arrived, and we started making spirits. 

Once you make spirits, you have to put them in bottles. This was our first run:

Meanwhile, in the cocktail bar, stools, tables and shelves found their places. 

And Cardinal server Alyvia chalked away.

The staff learned their way around the bar:

And then we thought everything looked decent, we said, OK, let's do this. Doors opened, and goods and services were exchanged for U.S. dollars. One year ago this weekend.

We said "we" a lot here. By "we," we mostly mean these people, the contractors that made Cardinal Spirits possible: Howard's Home Improvement / HFI  / Bloomington HVAC / Riverway Plumbing / Clutch Fabrication / Matte Black Architecture / Central Arizona Supply / B-Tech

We hope to see you at our first anniversary celebration this weekend!