Scott Maitland of Top of the Hill Restaurant & Brewery in Chapel Hill, N.C. was featured in our book, “Resaurant Owners Uncorked.” He is an incredible entrepreneur who inspires me with with his creativity and his passion and his relentless focus on staying ahead of the curve and doing cool new things to grow his business. For instance, rather than open new locations, he does things like opening his own distillery to scratch his itch to keep innovating.
Yep – he’ll soon own the first legal vodka distillery in N.C. Scott has truly built an institution in Chapel Hill, so Top of the Hill, aka “Topo,” has a great brand in N.C., and I am confident his vodka will sell very well not only in his restaurant, but in the best restaurants and bars here in our state (he can’t sell it across state lines – what a joke – but I digress).
He purchased the old Chapel Hill News building, which is down the street from his restaurant, and he bought 75 acres of an organic wheat field (he’s using local, organic ingredients). If all goes as planned he’ll be selling his vodka in January.
Scott is taking a risk, he’s doing something unique, and he’s at the tip of the spear because he’s the guy who has had to deal with all of the burdensome regulatory hurdles to get this thing cranking. I suspect others will follow his lead, but for the immediate future Scott will have the only show in town, so to speak.
My guess is once others get around to copying him, he’ll already be scratching another itch.