Hand Crafted Alcohol Keeps Cape Charles in High Spirits

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Story and Photo by Connie Morrison
With the opening of three establishments offering distinctive craft alcoholic beverages in Cape Charles, one could say the town is in high spirits going into the holiday season.
The first to open was Cape Charles Brewing Co., which spent a year readying a former lumber yard on Stone Road.
“It’s a great little seaside town, very close to the Hampton Roads metropolitan area,” said owner Mark Marshall in an interview last November with the Eastern Shore Post. “I know people will be willing to cross the bay.” The property, he said, lends itself to special events. “We want to be a destination,” modeling the Cape Charles Brewing Company after other successful Virginia destination breweries.
What does Cape Charles have in common with those locations? “They are literally nowhere. The closest urban areas are 40 minutes, and they are still successful,” said Marshall. “They have mountains, but we have one of the greatest beaches.”
The beach town was already on the radar of Will Correll, owner of Buskey Cider on the Bay. His grandmother had family ties to Cape Charles, spending summers there. Correll had spent time there as a kid.
Buskey Cider is based in Richmond, but when people started telling Correll he should look into Cape Charles as a second tasting room location, “I drove out with my wife,” who is also his business partner.
“The pieces just came together,” said Correll. “We found a neat piece of real estate” at 109 Mason Ave., and “local distributor Wendell’s wanted to pick us up.” Within a month of first considering opening a satellite tasting room, the new Cape Charles location was open.
He found an able workforce in off-duty teachers. “It’s more education and entertainment” than waiting tables, he said, and “teachers were a good fit.”
Even though high season is over, the tasting room remains open Thursday through Sunday. “It’s fun,” he said. “I’m out there almost every week.”
The Cape Charles Distillery has also dropped back to Thursday-Sunday operations.
It boasts of cooking locally grown corn and grains with mountain spring water to create its flagship bourbon, whiskeys, moonshine, and vodka.
While the distillation is done off-site, the spirits are labeled for Cape Charles and mixed and served in concoctions meant to celebrate the town’s heritage. Its purpose is “celebrating Cape Charles’ rich history,” according to the company’s Facebook page. Company representatives were unavailable for an interview.
All three locations emphasize making the most of the town’s unique character, while making their own contributions to the local flavor.
“We’re going to give them another reason to come to the Eastern Shore,” said Marshall.

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