Astoria Distilling Company Wins $10K Grant in Business Startup Contest

By Jeanmarie Evelly on May 1, 2014 3:39pm 

 Chris Murillo, center, is the founder of The Astoria Distilling Company, one of the winners in the Queens Economic Development Corp.'s StartUP! Business Plan Competition this year.
Chris Murillo, center, is the founder of The Astoria Distilling Company, one of the winners in the Queens Economic Development Corp.'s StartUP! Business Plan Competition this year.
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Astoria Distilling Company

ASTORIA — It's a win for gin.

The Astoria Distilling Company, a neighborhood-inspired spirits company that's planning to launch its "Queens Courage" gin this summer, has scored a $10,000 grant in a business startup contest.

The company was one of three winners in the Queens StartUP! Business Plan Competition, an annual challenge and instruction course run by the Queens Economic Development Corp. and the Citi Foundation to help the borough's emerging entrepreneurs kick start their businesses.

The Astoria Distilling Company, founded by Astoria resident Chris Murillo, took the winning title in the "Food-Based Business" category.

Murillo plans to start selling his first product this summer, an old-fashioned style gin called "Queens Courage."  His ultimate goal is to eventually open a distillery in the borough.

"We are honored to have been selected the 2014 Food & Beverage Queens StartUP! winner," Murillo said in a statement. "This prize will help accelerate our launch of Queens Courage this summer."

The Queens EDC's StartUP! program works with small business owners throughout the year by providing training on topics like pricing and marketing, and giving them access to other entrepreneurial resources at the Queens Central Library in Jamaica.

Another Astoria business also took the prize in the contest's food-based business category last year: the coffee bean delivery service Astoria Coffee, which is now getting ready to open a brick-and-mortar cafe in the neighborhood.

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