THE SWEET SOUND of the blues mingled with the aroma of BBQ, on Friday night, as Ghost Coast Distillery hosted a soft grand opening to invite the community back for the first time since mid-March.
The event included a free show, featuring the local favorite, Ben Keiser Band, and a food truck serving the delicious Bowtie BBQ.
“We love Ben Keiser. He’s a regular musician here. His band’s awesome, so we definitely wanted to have him for our first weekend back. We, also, have a close relationship with Bowtie so we’re happy to have them here too,” said Kelcie Beausir, Ghost Coast Marketing Manager.
Ghost Coast’s BBQ & Blues did not act alone in spicing up that evening on India Street. Service Brewing Co. was also open to provide booze, and everyone welcomed the new apartment complex, The Baxly, to the neighborhood.
Between Ghost Coast, Service Brewing Co., and The Baxly, vendors lined the streets, additional food trucks were present, and there were even street circus performances to get the socially-distanced crowd going. A portion of the proceeds from all goods and services sold went to the Human Society, who had adoption service available for anyone who attended the dog-friendly event!
Though Ghost Coast did not reopen its doors until last weekend, it had not left the community since closing in March due to COVID-19. FDA had released recipe guidelines for hand-sanitizer for craft distilleries to follow, and Ghost Coast began producing it swiftly after.
“We were doing discount pricing for healthcare workers (including staff at Memorial Health University Medical Center), prisons, schools, and the police department, said Beausir. “That’s what we were doing for the whole summer, up until yesterday. People would just pull up for curb-side pick up and get sanitizer and spirits.”
The event also introduced the company’s new flagship bourbon to those who haven’t tried it since its quiet release in August.
“We were supposed to do a grand release party for it in April, but two weeks before the party was supposed to happen is when everything got shut down, so we released it in August instead. The silver lining in that is that our Master Bourbon got an additional summer to age, which was great,” said Beausir.
This year’s BBQ & Blues event was a “miniature second annual” to last year’s Bourbon, BBQ & Blues. Last year’s event was held to celebrate the release of Ghost Coast’s second bourbon which was combined with the 3 other bourbons the distillery curated in 2019 to create their new flagship spirit, the Master Bourbon.
“The first year was one of the biggest events we’ve had with almost 1000 people here. Of course, next year, we won’t be hosting a gigantic event if it’s not safe, but as soon as everyone can safely gather again, hopefully in April, we’ll kick things off with the Master Bourbon Music Festival,” said Beausir.
Overall, it was cheery night for guest and staff, alike. “I loved meeting the people and making them happy with the Bowtie Experience. Hopefully I accomplished that and can’t wait for the next opportunity!” said Frank Bacon, Sr., Bowtie BBQ Food Truck Captain.
It is noteworthy that some changes have occurred in Ghost Coast’s operation to comply with CDC standards. The new business hours are 12-8 PM on Thurs-Sat and 12:30-5 PM Sundays. In addition, masks are required to enter the building, tours are unavailable, and the normal capacity of 220 guests is limited to 75 for the safety of the community.