NEWPORT NEWS — Ironclad Distillery recently opened a new outside patio where customers can sip bourbon and smoke a cigar or two.
“It was just a loading dock,” said Kara King, who co-owns the business with her family, adding it shared the space with Paul Davis Restoration next door.
King’s father sold his restoration business recently and the family decided to repurpose the loading dock and turn it into an outdoor patio. The family plans to rent out the empty office space.
The building was an old 1913 dry goods warehouse before the King family decided to transform the 30,000-square-foot space into a distillery back in 2014.
The entire process to renovate the outdoor patio space took several months.
The family tore down a wall which doubled the size of the tasting room and added multiple seating areas with some new furniture and old, repurposed finds from Richmond like a pair of old bank doors and several church windows. In addition, they added another bar area parallel to the outdoor patio.
The cigars are from Mascot Cigar, a local wholesaler and the snacks are sourced locally from Wakefield peanuts and cheeseboards to ham biscuits and pimento cheese from Darden’s in Smithfield. And of course, barbecue potato chips, something King’s brother said pairs perfectly with bourbon.
Other staples to the year-round patio are several local pottery pieces which resemble Ironclad ships and serve as ashtrays.
The distillery’s future plans include adding outdoor heater to the patio for the colder months.
While the distillery is known for serving different types of bourbon, it also offers free tours of the distillery by request.
Its newest release is a Missouri Toasted Oak Cask, a sweeter bourbon which tastes like chocolate chip cookies with the chocolate, King said. The distillery plans to release its seventh bourbon in the next three to four weeks.
King said she hopes people who come to the distillery and the outdoor patio can “relax and kick back and just chat”.
“Bourbon’s best friend is a cigar,” King said. “They’re the perfect pairing.”