There’s a lot happening on Huger Street at High Wire Distilling Co., where husband-and-wife duo Scott Blackwell and Ann Marshall are looking ahead to a new era for the distillery after the May 4 passage of new liquor laws that allow S.C. distilleries to expand hours, increase alcohol sales and serve food, wine and beer.
This month, High Wire guests will find new food options, a smoked whiskey and collaborative get togethers starting Sun., August 22 when the distillery will host a benefit brunch to close out Pay it Forward’s “Brighter Days Ahead” campaign.
“We are thrilled to play a part in Pay It Forward’s inaugural ‘Brighter Days Ahead’ campaign,” Blackwell said. “Their cause is critical to the sustainability of our vibrant food and beverage community here in Charleston, and we can’t think of a more fitting way to raise awareness and dollars for this group.”
The fundraising campaign, sponsored by High Wire, Bottles Beverage Superstore and Indigo Road Hospitality, will take place August 9-22. At least 17 Charleston area bars and restaurants will craft a cocktail using High Wire Hat Trick gin, with proceeds benefiting Pay it Forward’s emergency relief fund. Mex 1 Coastal Cantina, Post House, Lenoir, Gin Joint, Kingstide and many more are participating in “Brighter Days Ahead.”
High Wire will offer a “Brighter Days Ahead” cocktail called “Token of Gratitude,” but that’s not the only new product at the distillery, which now offers local craft beer and domestic wine following the passage of the new laws. In addition, the benefit brunch will mark the start of Daps Breakfast & Imbibe’s Sunday residency at the distillery, where Daps owners Nick Dowling and Jeremiah Schenzel will serve a limited menu with some specials unique to High Wire.
On Tuesday, High Wire became one of the first S.C. distilleries to serve food, unveiling a menu featuring cheese, charcuterie, olives, pressed sandwiches and ham from Benton’s in Tennessee. And, Benton’s owner Allan Benton’s cured pork is even making it into a bottle after the debut of “High Wire Distilling presents Benton’s Smoked Whiskey.”
Last year, Blackwell sent a couple thousand pounds of Jimmy Red corn to Benton, who bagged it by hand and placed it in his smokehouse alongside his ham and bacon before sending it back to Charleston.
“Ann and I had been thinking about doing a smoked whiskey from like year one. We thought ‘What if we sent some of this corn to someone who knows how to smoke things?’ And, Allan immediately said yes,” said Blackwell, who was thrilled with the corn that arrived back at the distillery.
“Immediately, the place smelled like Benton’s. The flavor went all the way through into the distillate, and we just sort of sat two bottles aside of what we call ‘white dog’ and put the rest in barrels.”
The distillery will offer around 1,000 bottles of the High Wire X Benton’s whiskey, which will be available at an event on Sept. 25, when Benton and his wife Sharon will be at High Wire with sausage, ham and Sharon’s biscuits.
“It was illegal for us to sell food before, so this Benton’s thing will basically be our first event that we’re selling tickets to,” Blackwell said. “Without this legislation, that would not be possible.”