NEWPORT NEWS — A family owned distillery that has been a dream in the making finally opened its doors March 31.
Neighboring the Newport News Victory Arch, Ironclad Distillery unveiled its tasting room and bourbon to about 300 guests on opening day.
“My dad has owned this building for about 10 years and it used to be the Paul Davis Restoration building but we knew that a restoration building would never fill this 30,000-square-foot building,” said, co-owner Owen King.
King, his sister Kara and his dad Stephen, own the family business, which started as a pipe dream.
“We kept having family jokes about what we’re going to do with this space and the recurring joke was to make it into a distillery,” Owen King said. “One day I came in into work and there was a still… I said ‘We’re really doing this.’”
The Kings said the distillery will stick to only bourbon but will showcase seasonal cocktails by local mixologist Robert Gregory.
“We have all these different versions of bourbon, starting from our original recipe and then expanding from there,” Owen King said.
He said within the next few months, the distillery will have four bourbon varieties including a maple syrup edition.
The Kings said opening weekend was better than expected, adding they hope the distillery will serve as a fun and informative stop for tourists and locals alike.
“Nothing pairs better with a glass of bourbon than a good story,” Kara King said.
The name of the distillery has a story of its own. Ironclad Distillery comes from the Civil War’s the Battle of the Ironclads, which occurred in Hampton Roads in 1862.
The tasting room also features a gallery wall, which was curated by The Mariners’ Museum and Park. The design of the tasting room is also inspired from the grand Warwick Hotel that once stood across the street from the distillery, according to a news release from the business.
Kara King said one day she would like to see the distillery use the third floor for event space for corporate events or weddings, but for now the Kings are happy with their new tasting room.
The tasting room is open Wednesdays through Saturdays from 12-6 p.m. Tours are done every hour on the hour and on Saturdays every half hour. The last tour leaves at 4 p.m.