The couple expanded the business and moved to new digs on Huger Street in early 2020
CM: Why a distillery?
AM: We originally set out to open a brewery, as Scott had been homebrewing for years. But Charleston already had five breweries, which we thought was insane. It seemed daunting to compete in a category with excellent beer in all corners of the world. By contrast, distilling felt like a wide-open space free for the taking. There were only 200 distilleries across the country. We thought it would be a really cool avenue to explore.
CM: What distinguishes your spirits?
SB: We like to say we’re an agriculturally focused distillery. Of course, all distilleries are. But we take an intentional approach, asking questions around primary ingredients and exploring ways to make our spirits Southern, be it an Abruzzi Rye whiskey or amaro made from yaupon holly.
CM: What’s in your core line?
SB: Our mainstays are Jimmy Red Bourbon, Abruzzi Rye whiskey, Hat Trick Gin, Homegrown Vodka, and our Southern Amaro.
CM: You’re also known for seasonal releases and experiments.
SB: We do a seasonal rum agricole, a peach brandy, and some “whiskey unicorns” with special finishes (like our Benton’s Smoked Jimmy Red). These hobby spirits are a way to exercise our curiosity and collaborate with food and beverage folks we love.
CM: What was Charleston’s food and bev scene like when you started?
AM: It was really exciting. A lot of restaurants were opening around that time: Leon’s, The Ordinary, and The Grocery were new. People were graduating out of long-standing restaurants and into spots of their own, and you were seeing the legacy of people like Frank Lee really spreading throughout Charleston.
CM: What prompted your expansion to the current space?
SB: When we won the Garden & Gun Made in the South award in 2018, Jimmy Red started to get a lot of attention—but we didn’t have that much whiskey. We needed to let the business grow up. We took a little over half the building and had a custom still built. We now have a warehouse with 15,000 feet for barrel storage. In total, we have close to 40,000 feet and are adding equipment to increase production. We also have 470 acres under plant in South Carolina, mostly in the Cameron area.
CM: What can visitors expect?
SB: Thanks to a new law that we lobbied for, we have a full bar and can make cocktails, as well as serve food. We also offer beer, wine, hard cider, and nonalcoholic cocktails. Families can come in—in fact, we get a lot of tourists with kids in strollers.
CM: How are you ringing in 10 years?
SB: We’re going to have a love fest (September 9) looking back and celebrating all things High Wire. There will be music, a panel talk, Jimmy Red corn bread and corn dogs, and Rodney Scott’s big rig serving barbecue. We’ll sell tickets, but they’ll be limited. We want it to be special and say thanks to all our super fans and those who have been along for the ride.