Festival celebrates Virginia spirits at Mariners' Museum

Natalie Joseph
Contact Reporternjoseph@dailypress.com 

Eight Virginia distilleries will flock to the Mariner’s Museum during the third stop of the first Virginia Craft Spirits Roadshow.

The traveling show, sponsored by the Virginia Distillers Association (VDA), is a new initiative that aims to bring the state’s craft spirit businesses together, and promote the growing industry. Virginia currently has 57 licensed distilleries, according to VDA executive director Amy Ciarametaro.

The festival includes five events across Virginia and the Newport News event will be the first at a location that is not a distillery. Saturday’s new approach hopes to connect the heritage of Virginia’s waterways to the history of the state’s craft spirit industry, Ciarametaro said.

Distilleries including Copper Fox, Ironclad, James River, KO, Virginia Distillery Co., Belle Isle Craft Spirits, Chesapeake Bay Distillery and Vitae Spirits will be on-site to share their specialty drinks with the Peninsula.

“Going to the Mariners’ Museum is fantastic,” said Copper Fox Distillery owner Rick Wasmund, which is based in the Williamsburg area. “I’ve been there a bunch and I’m just looking forward to telling our story to different people. Even though we’ve been around for a while, a lot people still aren’t aware that we are here.”

According to creative director Kara King, Newport News-based Ironclad Distillery is using the Virginia Craft Spirits Roadshow as a way to supplement the distillery’s lack of a tasting room until Ironclad’s opens in the spring. Ironclad has attended the past two roadshows and Copper Fox is joining for the first time this weekend.

“These events are great because we don’t have a tasting room so far, so it’s hard to tell our story,” King said. “This a great opportunity for us to engage with customers, give them a taste and tell our story.”

Food will be provided by Prime Eats Restaurant Group, which includes Supper Southern Morsels (Norfolk), Gosport Tavern (Portsmouth), Public House (Norfolk) and Still Worldly Eclectic Tapas (Portsmouth). Prime Eats Restaurant Group owner Karl Dornemann is providing food such as fried chicken sliders, bacon-wrapped tater tots, rye crostinis and ham sliders. Smartmouth Brewing will provide beer for the event.

The Virginia Distillers Association is hoping couples will chose to make the festival a pre-Valentine’s Day date night. The theme of this weekend’s show is “Virginia Spirits are for Lovin’” and they are offering special ticket discounts for couples including $45 tickets for a pair and $60 tickets for a trio. Guests must be 21 and older to attend.

The Virginia Craft Spirits Roadshow is 4-8:30 p.m. Saturday at the Mariners’ Museum, 100 Museum Drive, Newport News. Tickets start at $25. The event will take place indoors in the event of inclement weather. For more information, visit VirginiaSpirits.org.

Restaurant change

Holy Mackerel in York County now is operating under a new name and new management.

Buddy Myers opened Carolina Barbecue and Seafood on Jan. 13, replacing Holy Mackerel at 4724 George Washington Memorial Highway. According to Myers, Holy Mackerel went out of business and the previous owners contacted him to bring a new restaurant to the space. He has owned 15 restaurants in North Carolina.

Myers said Carolina Barbecue and Seafood will remain similar to Holy Mackerel. Beside the name change, according to Myers, the only major difference is the addition of a buffet that offers Southern and coastal favorites including ribs, barbecue, baked chicken, hot wings, crabcakes and flounder.

“Business has been going pretty good. We’ve had the snow day and holidays,” Myers said. “Overall everything is going good.”

Valentine’s Day meals

The Fresh Market is offering specialty Valentine’s Day meals for $49.99 until 2 p.m. Feb. 11. Meals include filet mignon, lobster tails or a mix of both. The meals can be ordered in-store and online and are available for pick up between Feb. 12-14. To order, visit thefreshmarket.com/valentinesday.

Peninsula brewery roundup

Pair chocolate with beer at Billsburg Brewery, 2054 Jamestown Road, James City County, from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday. The pairing event will include special entry from 5-6 p.m. for VIP ticket holders, four pairings and dessert from Carrot Tree Kitchens and Blackbird Bakery Williamsburg. Tickets start at $25. More info: billsburg.com or 757-926-0981.

The Oozlefinch Craft Brewery, 81 Patch Road at Fort Monroe, released two new beers, including the Neglect of Duty-Dunkelweizen and the Sprightly Miss-Spiced Berliner Weisse. Neglect of Duty-Dunkelweizen has toasted bread notes and is a lightly hopped ale with malt flavors. Sprightly Miss-Spiced Berliner Weisse is part of the brewery’s sour collection with light mixtures of berries and grains, according to the website. More info:oozlefinchbeers.com or 757-224-7042.

Tradition Brewing Co., 700 Thimble Shoals Blvd. in Newport News, releases the That Guy! Cherry Chocolate Stout at 2 p.m. Friday. The stout has notes of dark fruit and malt with 9 percent ABV, according its website. More info: traditionbrewing.com or 757-592-9393.

Joseph can be reached by phone at 757-374-3134. Follow me @heynatjo.

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