Under the Kinkaider umbrella, P Street is offering a whole new experience for the downtown crowd, from distillery tours to taste-testing clubs.
When Kinkaider Brewing took over the large brewery space at 1630 P Street, Cody Schmick saw it as an opportunity to do something totally different to make the location a destination. And he ran with it.
Doing the unexpected is what’s kept Kinkaider growing as one of the top-rated breweries in Nebraska, and provided the momentum to open a Haymarket Kinkaider taproom, an 80s-themed pizza restaurant (that has since closed) and turned into a nightclub on P street, and Lincoln’s first-ever distillery, in the span of just a few years.
Sideshow Spirits opened its doors in April 2020 under the Kinkaider umbrella and was quickly followed by Sideshow Spirits and Cider, a dimly lit lounge in the back dedicated to craft cocktails and the business’s new line of in-house distillates.
Schmick, who handles Kinkaider’s marketing and taprooms as well as owning and operating Sideshow Spirits, went into the distillery project with the hope to create something very different from Kinkaider.
“For me personally, I love developing and growing a brand,” he said. “We wanted to focus on keeping Sideshow as high-end and premium as possible, so it was important to me to start out on the right foot with the design.”
That means custom, plush green chairs and wallpaper, vintage photography on the walls, mood lighting, and even a high-end sound system with speakers meant to permeate the entire lounge.
The distillery itself even adds to the experience, with a large window connecting the lounge to the backroom. You’ll find the curtained, window motif engraved on Sideshow Spirit’s custom glass bottles, as well.
Kinkaider opened in 2014 and since then Schmick had been talking about the possibility of a distillery. After riding the wave of craft beer popularity, he’s excited at the prospect of craft distilling exploding in the next ten years.
Among their house-made spirits are a white whiskey, Nebraska corn vodka, a jalapeno-flavored vodka, and a hard cider.
Real spirit enthusiasts can also join The Sideshow Society, a limited club where members can attend private tastings and enjoy special perks and gifts throughout the year.
“We really have put a lot of time and effort into building a feeling around Sideshow,” Schmick said. “You get a certain feel when you come in here. Especially when the bartenders are behind the bar shaking the drinks and you see the beautiful copper stills in the background, and you can enjoy a fantastic cocktail.”