Ribbon cut on new vodka distillery in Kinston

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KINSTON, N.C. (WITN) - A new distillery opened its doors in Eastern Carolina Monday night and they say it's about more than just spirits.

It will be distilling vodka in a way that many are hoping will have a positive impact on the community.

Hundreds gathered together at the old power plant along Atlantic Avenue in Kinston, where that 100-year-old structure is now home to one of Kinston's newest small businesses.

Monday evening, the Three Stacks Vodka Distillery cut the ceremonial ribbon at their new facility, where the Social Beverage Company, out of Raleigh, will distill their new craft vodka at the old Kinston coal power plant.

"What we were trying to achieve for the scale we were trying to produce, this building made perfect sense for us," says Gaurv "G" Patel, the co-founder of the Social Beverage Company.

The opening of the Three Stacks Distillery is just the latest in a slew of craft breweries and distilleries that have made Kinston home in recent years.

According to Kinston Mayor B.J. Murphy, it's just further proof of the Kinston renaissance that is underway.

"We've got a renaissance happening downtown, neighborhoods being revitalized and at the end of the Riverwalk right now sits this old power plant that is now Social House Vodka," he tells WITN.

The recipe for Social House Vodka was formulated at NC State University and will be made exclusively from locally sourced corn from a farm in Kinston, with the idea that the distillery will create not only jobs for the community, but recognition as well.

"This could be and will be the Asheville-esque area of the east, right," Patel says. "You know the modern effort and love that this community, including Steven Hill, including this township have put in, we see substantial growth and want to be part of that."

The distillery also helps expand the tax base in a struggling area.

For those in Kinston, new small businesses making Kinston their home is a welcome sight.

Social Beverage Company said that they looked at properties throughout the region, including South Carolina, Virginia and other parts of North Carolina before deciding on Kinston.

The president, Cary Josh, said at the event that their goal for the old power plant is to eventually make it a zero carbon footprint building in the hopes that they will leave the place better than when they found it.