SOUTH KINGSTOWN — Sitting there, listening to Michael Repucci, one of the founders of Sons of Liberty Distillery in Peace Dale, one would think that he has been involved with alcohol brewing for a lifetime. For the past two years, however, Repucci and three other partners have put together their new ambition in creating a local, community-wise distillery. Their motto: Go out and live life as you see fit.
“We struggled in the beginning,” said Repucci. “The licensing was really difficult. But we said to ourselves, ‘Let’s be us.’ We’re young.”
Repucci’s distillery sits in the Peace Dale Mills Complex on Kingstown Road, across from the Pump House. Giant fermentation tanks and distilling equipment sit matter-of-factly in the middle of the room, making what they hope will be a successful local product. They are producing their own American single-malt whiskey called Uprising, a name which embodies the ambitious attitude that Repucci and the Sons of Liberty Distillery want to project in the community.
“The Sons of Liberty started the American Revolution,” said Repucci. “We want people to look at us and say, make a change, enjoy life, and do it through drinking our whiskey.”
Repucci understands wholly the distilling process, what works and what doesn’t work. Prior to founding the Sons of Liberty, Repucci became close with David Pickerell, former Head of Distilling Operations at Maker’s Mark, one of the country’s most popular whiskey producers. The knowledge he gained from Pickerell’s 30 years of experience has been critical.
“I spoke with Dave and told him, “I like beer, and whiskey starts as beer,” said Repucci. “He said, ‘I like what you’re saying,’ and now we are friends.”
Although Repucci and his partners are still working towards a November or December release for their product, they have been holding tasting demonstrations for the past few weeks, looking for feedback from local businesses and the general public. Repucci wants participants to tell them honestly how they feel about the whiskey they create, and the tastings are a good way for the Sons of Liberty Distillery to reach out and become a part of the local community.
“We want to bring in family and friends, and local businesses to shape our products for consumers,” he added. “If it were me, I’d cancel every appointment to do the focus tasting. I’d be fired up.”
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