Danny and Mary Bradley had a plan. The plan was working. Then the coronavirus pandemic changed everything. “I do not believe anyone could have forecasted this scenario,” said Danny. The Bradleys started Crystal Ridge Distillery in Hot Springs. Envisioning a working distillery as well as a restaurant, event venue, and retail shop, they planned to open slowly in phases during the tourist town’s off-season. After hosting their first event in September, the restaurant and bar opened three months later. Retail and liquor sales began on Dec. 31. When Oaklawn opened for live racing, Crystal Ridge expanded its hours. “Our goal was to be fully open seven days per week by spring break and the beginning of the tourist season,” Danny said. The Bradleys held a grand opening celebration March 14. Six days later, due to COVID-19 restrictions, they had to stop hosting events, closed the restaurant and bar, and began laying off staff.
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