Blue Sky Distillery approved to relocate to Kuntry Kabin

Published 12:08 pm Friday, February 16, 2024

Isle of Wight County supervisors granted final approval Feb. 15 to Blue Sky Distillery to relocate to the former Kuntry Kabin antiques store off Benns Church Boulevard.

The zoning amendment approved in a unanimous vote allows microbrewery and distillery activities and removes outdated agricultural uses that had been permitted when the site was conditionally zoned general commercial in 1984.

Since 2017, the micro-distillery has produced original liquors out of a warehouse it shared with a bottled water company in the Isle of Wight Industrial Park, roughly a quarter-mile away from the Kuntry Kabin site.

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“This new location offers us the opportunity to expand our operation,” Miller told the supervisors during the Feb. 15 public hearing that preceded the vote.

Blue Sky currently produces eight liquors, many named for the local area. Its “Painted Pig” grand smoked bacon maple whiskey is a nod to the town of Smithfield’s ties to Smithfield Foods and the meatpacking industry. The business sources its ingredients locally and regionally, including wheat from Charles City County and honey from Smithfield-based Breezy Hill Meadwork’s.

“This new property allows us to become a destination, a source of tourism for the county,” Miller said, noting the larger space could allow Blue Sky to potentially host indoor and outdoor events. The site is permitted to have up to 44 patrons and six staff members indoors.

“If we have events that are larger scale they’re only going to be outdoor events,” Miller said.

Other speakers in support of Blue Sky’s relocation plans included Surry County Clerk of Circuit Court Thomas L.S. Mayes, whose family built the Kuntry Kabin in 1984, Suffolk author Alice Holmes, who does events at breweries and distilleries, and Blue Sky’s master distiller, David Berrien.

Board of Supervisors Chairman Joel Acree called Blue Sky’s repurposing of the long-vacant Kuntry Kabin a “perfect addition to the area.”

Miller has already begun interior renovations and hopes to reopen in March.

Blue Sky began in 2017 under the ownership of Mark and Kim Rangos, who have since pulled out and turned the business over to Miller and co-owners David and Youlivia Riley, Youlivia Meneses and Jason Lee Lacer.