TOPO Distillery is closing. What does that mean for Top of the Hill Restaurant?

Julia Wall/

You can keep your plans to watch the Carolina-Duke match-up this weekend over burgers and brews while overlooking Franklin Street: Top of the Hill is not closing.

But TOPO Distillery, a sister company of Chapel Hill’s Top of the Hill Restaurant & Brewery, will officially close later this month, the Daily Tar Heel first reported.

Luckily for UNC fans, the distillery closing does not affect the restaurant and brewery, located on the top floor at the intersection of East Franklin and South Columbia streets in Chapel Hill.

“I really want to emphasize that — the distillery and the restaurant are totally separate,” Scott Maitland, Top of the Hill’s founder and owner, told The News & Observer on Thursday. “The distillery is gone, but everything at the restaurant is continuing and going great,”

TOPO Distillery closing Feb. 15

TOPO Distillery’s equipment was bought in November, so they are no longer making any of their signature hand-crafted liquor. Some unbought bottles of spirits remain, which can be bought online and picked up at the distillery for one more week.

TOPO will no longer be in the building — located at 505 W. Franklin St. in Chapel Hill — as of Feb. 15. TOPO’s signature liquor can still be bought in ABC Stores across North Carolina until supplies run out.

“I am very proud of the products we made, and our legacy is teaching people what hand-crafted liquor can be,” Maitland said.

“When you drink our stuff, you can say, ‘Oh, I get why Russians drink this stuff neat. This doesn’t taste like rubbing alcohol.’ I feel like I’m moving through the seven stages of grief, and I’m feeling frustrated because the products we made were truly fantastic.”

Top of the Hill Restaurant & Brewery opened in downtown Chapel Hill in 1996 in an effort to keep businesses locally owned. TOPO Distillery opened in 2012 as the first locally sourced, organic distillery in the south.

For more on TOPO Restaurant & Brewery, including to make reservations, visit

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